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    Racing gear

    Hello all,

    What kind of racing gear are you using, if you track your car(s)?
    Which helmet, which shoes, gloves etc.?

    I'm particularly interested in finding good racing shoes, which are also comfortable offtrack Puma Speedcats?

    Gauss

    Re: Racing gear

    All depends on your budget. Top of the line gear will cost..Helment $800+, Suit $850, shoes $200, gloves $150. This is a non HANS helmet...add another $1000. So, to buy the best stuff will cost you $2000-$3000.

    You can get a basic Snell 2000 approved $250, G-force entry level suit...$250, and Nike driving shoes $80, and motorcyle gloves...$50.

    It really comes down to fire protection and how long the suit will last under an open flame. The higher the rating the higher the price. Given this, even the most fire retardant suits are only good for less than 10 seconds of consistent open flame.

    A good alternative is to buy a cheaper suit and wear another layer of full cotton clothing underneath. This will add a second or two to the length of time you can be exposed to open flame and you need to look no further than your closet.

    Re: Racing gear

    A lot depends on how much you are going to use it and how much you're wiling to pay... If you are just tracking your car, don't bother with a suit. Good ones are lots of money and bad ones are really hot. Plus if you're just tracking the car in Drivers Education or lapping days, wearing a nomex suit makes you look either like someone with something to prove or just a plain dummkopf...

    The two most important things in my mind are your helmet and the gloves. My personal favorite glove is the Stand21 outside stitch long glove (which you can also now buy from Stand21 as part of the Porsche line they have). While no longer legal at high level FIA racing (you now need a nomex palm and these have leather ones) they are hands down the most comfortable and well made gloves I've ever owned. Sparco and AlpineStars also make very high quality gloves. Top of the line gloves are just over $100 so there is no reason to buy cheap low quality ones. Your gloves should last you at least 50 track days.

    Helmets are the other biggy in my books. Here you have to try on as many as you can from lots of different manufacturers. This is to see what last fits you best (just like ski boots). Pick a style and go from there. Also once you find one you like, wear it for at least 20 minutes while you walk around. It may be comfortable at first, but could develop hot spots. Here is where you should try to buy the best you can. If you are wearing it a lot the lighter the better and you will be less tired at the end of the day. Also make sure that it is Snell 2005 (if you are in North America) so that you can maximize the usage you get out of it.

    I'm in the process of buying a new helmet. I was looking at the Stilo ST3 (great features, but not Snell 2005), Sparco WTT-TK and the HJC HX-10. I think I'm going with the HJC because I can get a deal and it looks great. Stand21 probably makes one of the best helmets of this style too, though price became a factor (around $1,300 USD).

    I wouldn't bother with full out race boots until you are forced to in a race where you need an FIA shoe/boot. Many people like Piloti shoes and really any leather show with a very thin sole are quite adequate. Just for the love of god, don't use running shoes! Useless!

    Re: Racing gear

    A fire can happen in any car on the track. In a hard impact anything is possible. So while people have very casual view on Track Days, bottom line is you are still on a race track, traveling at excessive speeds with risks. How you want to mitigate those risks are up to you. But even a cheap suit is good protection and most sessions last only 20-30 minutes, so you can remove the suit or unzip the top portion in between sessions.

    A good alternative maybe a pant/jacket combo. You can leave the pant on while around the paddock and have a removeable jacket while on the track.

    As for looking like a [beep] because you are in a race suit...I wouldn't be concerned what people think, when something bad happens no one will be laughing.

    Re: Racing gear

    I have a pair of Piloti's, and a pair of Puma Speedcats. The Piloti's aren't terribly comfortable, and I've worn out the Speedcats. I'm ordering another pair soon!

    Re: Racing gear

    I don't know. I've driven well over 5,000 track laps in the past 13 years and I've only been on the track for TWO fires (and one of them was in my car). Unless you are racing, I don't recommend to any of my students or anyone else to wear a nomex suit. More than anything else putting on a suit seems to also put a red haze behind peoples eyes... The last thing that many people on the track need is to think they are invincible "Race Car Drivers" From many years of first hand knowledge if a driver (especially a novice or student driver) shows up wearing nomex, they WILL be treated differently, and usually NOT for the better. I'm not trying to apologize or justify it, just saying it does happen.

    Now if I was tracking a new Ferrari, I'd be wrapped up in as much nomex as possible...

     
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