Tell me about helmets

Discussion in 'Tracking & Driver Education' started by SCKOMS, Sep 5, 2017.

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    SCKOMS F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Oct 21, 2011
    Lake County, IL
    Full Name:
    Hello all. I plan to attend a track day event at Blackhawk Farms in northern Illinois next month. I will obviously need a helmet, so I thought about purchasing one as opposed to renting ($37.50, including purchasing a "head sock"). In doing some quick searches, I have seen helmets priced form under $200 to well over $1000. I don't plan to do any actual racing, just running on the track a few times a year.

    Can anyone make a recommendation as to what I should be looking for. I know I should get a SNELL 2015 rated helmet, but aside from that, are those $2-300 acceptable? Any brands to avoid? Any advantage to closed vs open face?

    Thanks in advance....Spiro
  2. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Rookie
    Sponsor Owner

    Sep 3, 2002
    Toronto / SoCal
    Full Name:
    Rob C.
    Regrettably in an impact your brain does not know the difference between racing and tracking all it knows is that it is getting hit and your choice of helmet will determine what if any damage it will receive. There is a difference in construction and safety between the lower cost helmets and the expensive ones however if you get a helmet that meets SA2015 standards then you are most of the way to being protected.

    The biggest factor will be fit so you must find your size and try on many different brands. For me Bell helmets don't fit right and Arai's are perfect whereas other people are the total opposite. Each manufacturer has its 'fit' so you need to go to a race shop and find your brand.

    Besides that I do recommend the following:

    - Buy a closed face helmet and run it with the visor open or off. This will offer the best protection and ventilation is not a problem with a closed helmet

    - Buy a head sock. They are cheap and much easier to clean than the inside of your helmet.

    - When sweaty let the helmet air dry upside down with the visor open (of course on a soft surface)

    - Buy an SA rated helmet and not an M rated helmet. The M rating is for motorcycles and is a much lower standard than SA.

    - Treat the helmet with the care your brain deserves! Don't drop it, use it as a chair, or abuse it in any way. Helmets are good for ONE HIT so make sure your head is in it if that happens.

    Good luck with the search and have fun at your track day.
  3. John_K_348

    John_K_348 Formula 3
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    Sep 20, 2013
    Boston, MA
    Full Name:
    Yes don't go for a motorcycle helmet by mistake. You need an SA rating with Nomex in the liner. M rated might not have it as riders are usually throw from the bike and fire is not as big a deal.
  4. boxerman

    boxerman F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    May 27, 2004
    Full Name:
    Arai highy recomended.

    Motorcyle helmets are designed to take multiple hits in different places and for abrasion as woudl happen in a motorcycle accident..

    Car helmets designed to take multiple hits in the same place, which makes senese because youre strapped into one seat in a car.

    On motorcylce helmet the multiple hits in the same place as would happen in a car means the helmet would have seriously declining real protection in a serious acident like car a rollover.

    Helmets last 5 years so spend on good one, and a comfortable one. I a cheap one is unlikely to be super comfortable. I would budget $4-600. Arai helmets are also light which has obvious benefits.

    CF helemts cost more but dont save that much weight because the padding and everythign else is a big part of the weight and does not alter. is where I buy
  5. spirot

    spirot F1 Veteran
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    Dec 12, 2005
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    Tom Spiro
    Totally agree - Arai is great... if you do a longer stint behind the wheel... a heavy helmet will certainly tax your neck and shoulder muscles....
  6. Kaivball

    Kaivball Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 11, 2007
    This is the helmet I am racing with in Chump car, Lucky Dog and Lemons


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  8. Ky1e

    Ky1e Formula 3

    Mar 4, 2011
    Tampa, FL
    #7 Ky1e, Sep 5, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
    I agree with most of the above posts.

    In my opinion if you are doing track days and have a street car then in my opinion any full face auto racing approved Snell 2015 helmet will do. I have been in a lot of crashes (too many-- 3 in the last 3 months!) and to me the things that really matter are racing seat with racing harness, a hans device and helmet, roll cage. If you dont have those it doesnt really matter what helmet you have as long as its a Snell 2015 auto racing helmet.

    Also the balaclavas wont really keep the helmet clean or dry from sweat-- they are more for fire protection.
  9. 38 Off

    38 Off Karting

    Nov 4, 2003
    Pace, FL
    Full Name:
    Phil Crain
    Keep visor closed or don't use one. Air bag deploys and you have a neck injury with it open. I will get flak for this, but if you only do a couple of de's a year, get something like Discovery Parts helmet, made by the mfr. that made Bell until recently. While I have a helmet that costs over $2k because I track a lot, you are driving a street car with air bags, and they are almost sure to deploy, and you should be fine with a helmet that meets Snell 2015 testing.
  10. SCKOMS

    SCKOMS F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    Oct 21, 2011
    Lake County, IL
    Full Name:
    Thanks for all the advice everyone.
  11. Caeruleus11

    Caeruleus11 F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jun 11, 2013
    Excellent advice! The only thing I would add, get a Balaclava (head sock basically). You will likely sweat a lot in the helmet and you might as well be more comfortable and also it means you will get a lot more use out of the helmet. {I some how missed the head sock references above, so this is now repetitive, but I'm leaving it as its good advice}

    I love Arai as well, but I think a lot of this is head shape and fitment. Like sneakers, some people's heads might fit better into a different helmet. I know some people who swear by Stilo.
  12. Whisky

    Whisky F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 27, 2006
    Upper Great Plains
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    The original Fernando
    Get the best you can afford, maybe paint it to YOUR colors, and now you have a conversation piece to sit on a bookcase shelf.
  13. Schatten

    Schatten F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Apr 3, 2001
    Austin, TX
    Full Name:
    As Nuvolari pointed out, different manufacturers have different fits. Wore a ZAMP for a LeMons race. 3 hours and 20 minutes in that thing. Kept pressing against the seat to relieve pressure. I had a red sore in my forehead for days. The shape doesn't work for my noggin. Really need to try one on in person to know for certain.
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  15. rlips

    rlips Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Jul 29, 2011
    New Jersey, USA
    Any helmet you get will probably cost less than an MRI....get the best you possibly can
  16. nmcclure

    nmcclure Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 13, 2014
    If you go stilo, take a look at demon tweeks. When the dollar was a little stronger, I, and several of the guys we track with bought the ~1800 carbon helmet for ~1150 shipped to Texas.

    I'll second the point about the visor, especially after the first time a fist size chunk of asphalt came in the window.
  17. Kaivball

    Kaivball Three Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 11, 2007
    I agree with that.

    Helmets are personal and we all have different shaped heads.

    This one works for me, I have over 20 hours of racing in it.

  18. DougDish

    DougDish Karting

    Jul 13, 2010
    Northern NJ
    Full Name:
    I would also recommend you find a local dealer where you can try the helmet. An authorized re-seller will be able to help you with proper fitting. I have tried on identical helmets, sized as the same but fit differently. Do not buy on-line, go in person and try it for yourself.

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