There are so many options when it comes to buying a new racing seat with harness. So how do you know which seats fit? What types of seats should you choose, and what should you pay attention to? This buyer’s guide will answer those questions and more to help you make the right decision.
Why is a racing seat with harness important?
Why should you invest in a racing seat with harness instead of a regular seat? Your racing seat is one of the most critical safety features of your car. Apart from enhancing your car’s sporty credentials, racing seats hold you tight and keep you secure. They keep your backside from sliding around, reducing or eliminating the need to re-center your body from time to time. Not only will you be safe and have a better grip on the steering wheel, but enhanced control will also help you drive faster, giving you an edge over the competition.
Racing seats also have the added benefit of being lightweight, reducing your car’s weight. Regular car seats are usually heavier than racing seats. They are typically equipped with vents, fans, electric motors, and other accessories that weigh your car down.
What are the things you need to know when buying a racing seat?
There are so many types of racing seats available on the market these days. As a result, it can be tricky to choose the right one that best fits your needs. Here is a handy rundown with features to consider before purchasing your next racing seat with harness.
Look for certifications
Racing seats have safety requirements that you need to keep in mind when buying. So before purchasing the seat, make sure it meets the minimum safety standards set down by a high-rated sanctioning body like FIA and SFI. Many racing organizers require racing seats to earn proper safety recognition from these governing bodies to compete.
To buy the best racing car seat, the most significant factor to consider is the material. There is a lot of personal preference in this. Genuine leather, artificial leather, or fabric material is normally used. We recommend leather because it is comfortable in texture and easy to clean.
Seats made of fabric and PU leather are easy on the pocket. However, they are not as durable as those made of genuine leather.
Seats made of fabrics have the advantage of being more comfortable and softer. But they are high maintenance and difficult to clean. Additionally, consider the material used to make the frame. Ideally, choose a steel or fiberglass frame because they are sturdy and durable.
Whatever the material you choose, the seat should be reinforced to prevent warping and shouldn’t have pointed spots underneath the padding edges.
Size and fit
One of the main determining criteria, before you buy a racing seat with harness, will be the seat’s size. A seat that fits properly ensures the safety and better control of the vehicle. It will also minimize distraction and fatigue during racing.
Most racing seats out there are available in XL and XXL sizes. Not all drivers are built the same because some tend to be plumper than others. Check whether it will fit correctly so that you’re entirely in control at all times.
You will need to consider two things. The first one is the width of the seat. The second factor is the position of the driver’s shoulder. The width of the seat should be able to hold you in the car firmly. It shouldn’t be too small either. You need to feel as comfortable as possible during racing.
If you are a little confused about the ideal size, you may want to reach out to the manufacturer or the retailer you intend to obtain the seat from. Most manufacturers offer charts for these measurements. Measure the width of your hips and shoulder and select the size that suits you best. The tighter the seat fits, the safer you’ll be.
What if you are taller or shorter than average?
This is a valid concern. If you are too tall, short, or plump and can’t find a seat that fits, you may need to get a custom seat. Most manufacturers can custom tailor a seat to your measurements.
Choose the right weight
You need to look at your project’s minimum weight requirements for a seat. A drag racing machine driver and time attack racer may need to make their car as lightweight as possible. An enduring racing driver may not care much about weight.
Fixed vs. adjustable seat
A racecar should have a fixed backseat. They are safer than their adjustable counterparts.
All FIA-approved seats have fixed backseats. Such seats focus more on safety than comfort.
You may need a seat that features an adjustable slider for everyday driving, which can be completely reclined.
Different car racing seats are designed to be compatible with different types of harnesses. Some are suitable for the default 3-point harnesses that the manufacturer fitted to the vehicle. Others are designed to be compatible with 4, 5, or 6-point seat belt harnesses. So choose the racing seat with the right harness suitable for your needs.
If the seat doesn’t come with a mounting bracket, you will have to purchase it separately. You must check whether the mounting bracket you want to buy will support your aggressive driving. Without it, there is no need to spend your money.
Check whether the seat is compatible with your vehicle’s safety systems. Sometimes, modification may be required to make the seat compatible with your car.
However, you need to be careful. Uninstalling the manufacturer’s default seat may remove lumbar support, head-protection airbags, and built-in speakers. Interfering with some of these components could void your warranty. So keep that in mind before upgrading to a custom seat.
Another crucial factor is price. Is buying a cheap racing seat a good idea? Well, car racing is one of the world’s most expensive sports, and you usually get what you pay for. For example, if you have a budget of $50, you won’t be able to enjoy the many advantages a seat of $150 offers.
However, it’s entirely possible to get a good racing seat at an affordable price that will do the job. The most important thing is to ensure you are getting the best value for money. You only need to research a bit. Sometimes, the most expensive things really are poorly made and not worth investing in.
Though racing seats are not designed to be comfortable, comfort still should play a big part in your decision. You do not want to feel discomfort in the neck, back, and thighs after about ten minutes of driving. Padded head support, for instance, comes in handy when you need to use a helmet.
Choose the right manufacturer
The racing seats you buy should be made by a reputable manufacturer in the industry. The seat maker should use state-of-the-art craftsmanship and material. Purchasing a seat from a popular brand like Kirkey, MOMO, and Sparco can be pretty heavy on your pocket. But you need to understand that you are paying extra for quality. Be suspicious of knockoff brands.
The seat should be delivered with a manual that provides a step-by-step guide on how to install it. The installation process is usually not complicated, even for the average person. But remember, the more components the seat comes with, the longer the installation takes. If you are a little confused, you may want to contact a professional to assist you.
Know the rules
Lastly, make sure you understand the rules of the game and choose your racing seat with harness accordingly. The design and features of the seat should not be in violation of the racing rules.
Hi, I am, Raphael E Loy, have profound knowledge in the automotive industry, and my passion for the car goes beyond just the technical aspects. For the past decade, I have pursued a carrier in automotive photography and journalism. I am a car enthusiast and love everything that has to do with cars and automotive vehicles. In my leisure time, I can be found in my small garage under the hood of a rare model. Over the years of experience in line with this, I have been writing for popular blogs and websites.