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Which driving suit to buy?

Discussion in 'Tracking & Driver Education' started by gobble, May 18, 2020.

  1. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    Jan 29, 2010
    1,311
    Milwaukee, WI
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    Mark
    I'm looking for suggestions for a suit for an open cockpit Radical. I've never used a racing suit for track days so know very little about them. What would be a good suit in the 400-$750 range? I like the Alpinestars brand but have heard the fit can be difficult?
     
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  3. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    Jan 29, 2010
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    A "special site?" I have no idea what that means. Is this someone with only 8 posts trying to be a d*#k?

    To anyone who knows racing suits, I had a nice conversation with someone at Speedway Motors today who told me brands like Alpinestars and Sparco have unusual cuts and unless you're a 6 foot race driver that weighs 150 pounds you'll have a hard time fitting. Any truth to that?
     
  4. greg512tr

    greg512tr Formula Junior
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    Feb 19, 2002
    971
    Dallas TX
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    Greg B
    I bought my Sparco from Speedway and was very happy with the quality/price. The first one I bought was too small and Speedway was great about the return and replaced with the next size up (don’t remember but might have been largest size made). I am 6’2 and not race car driver thin:).



    Sent from my iPhone using FerrariChat
     
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  5. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    Did the Sparco run small vs. their sizing chart? I like the design of their suits.
     
  6. LBBP

    LBBP Formula Junior

    Most suits do run on the small side, if you plan to wear nomex underwear you will need to allow for it. I wear a OMP three layer which fits snug without being restrictive.
     
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  8. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 6, 2002
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    Bubba
    I have always been a Simpson guy, had a one piece single ply for my early karting.

    They have become more stylish with time, and maybe a better value than the higher end line.
    All I needed was the rating!

    Ya know??

    Separates go a long way in improving the fit, and you don't look like an Oil Rig worker...
     
  9. Ira Schwartz

    Ira Schwartz Formula 3
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    May 20, 2003
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    Ira Schwartz
    I had mine made to measure by RaceQuip years ago, and it was well worth it- not too pricey and it fits great on my weird frame, but I don't think they do custom orders any longer.
     
  10. greg512tr

    greg512tr Formula Junior
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    Feb 19, 2002
    971
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    Greg B
    I measured myself and knew I was going to be right on the cusp of the two sizes based on their sizing chart so I would say it was accurate in my case.
     
  11. schao

    schao Karting

    Mar 31, 2013
    183
    Palm Beach, FL
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    S Chao
    Find a place to try some for fit and sizing. Think about how many layers you want (lighter weight to cope with hot weather is more expensive). Choose colors/patterns that look good, but also hide any dirt if you will be wrenching on your car between sessions. Do you plan to wear Nomex undergarments, socks, gloves and driving shoes? Consider wearing a Nomex balaclava, good to control how much sweat gets absorbed in your helmet, and is mandatory if you have facial hair. Here are various online sites offering regular and clearance sales for your needs.

    Good luck and enjoy that Radical!

    www.pegasusautoracing.com (this one is near you)
    www.summitracing.com
    www.winecountrymotorsports.com
    www.discoveryparts.com
    www.pitstopusa.com
     
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  13. schao

    schao Karting

    Mar 31, 2013
    183
    Palm Beach, FL
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    S Chao
    Another thing, how much aero does your helmet have to help limit lift and buffering you are likely to experience in an open cockpit car? Each brand has specific models with built-in features to help drivers in open cockpit cars, and possibly offer add-ons for helmet models which don't. Fit is everything and, for me, the Bell Dominator model has been great, but is being discontinued so 2015 is last year of manufacture.
     
  14. rlips

    rlips Formula Junior

    Jul 29, 2011
    953
    New Jersey, USA
    Shop for fit, and for your first suit this is particularly important. Also, keep in mind lightness and breathability vs protection....a lighter suit with equivalent rating will generally be more expensive.

    last, and most important, keep in mind price should not matter...if you think it does, ask yourself this question: if I were in the hospital covered in third degree burns, how much money would I be willing to pay to not be burned? Get the very best fire protection you possibly can, keeping in mind the cost differential between bargain and top level would probably be what you will spend on one set of tires....
     
  15. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    Jan 29, 2010
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    Thanks guys. I ended up ordering the Alpinestars GP Tech suit from Speedway Motors. It was a fairly expensive suit discounted all the way to $699. I ordered the size that had my largest measurement in it, a 50. Hopefully it fits...

    Pegasus is local to me but their showroom is still closed. I've made quite a few trips there the last several weeks and right now they're leaving what you buy between the front doors. They would be my preferred vendor but don't really discount the suits like the others do. They hooked me up on a Solo2DL and Smartycam 2.2 combo last week.

    I bought the Dominator 2 helmet a few weeks back. It should be good for the open cockpit car. I bought the Simpson shoes everyone seems to wear and some Bell gloves.

    I also need a balaclava and nomex underwear? Is the thought that everything you wear should be fire resistant?
     
  16. 3POINT8

    3POINT8 Formula 3

    Jan 23, 2014
    2,343
    what gloves to you use? I just ordered my first pair, Sparco lap, but they don't seem to grip the wheel that great.
     
  17. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    I ordered Bell Apex II but don’t have them yet
     
  18. 3POINT8

    3POINT8 Formula 3

    Jan 23, 2014
    2,343
    thx let me know how you like them
     
  19. schao

    schao Karting

    Mar 31, 2013
    183
    Palm Beach, FL
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    S Chao
    The fire protection effectiveness of racing suits with various SFI ratings is not readily apparent, so here it is. Yes, "you get what you pay for". Remember that a Nomex undergarment adds extra time for you to get away from any possible fire, and an open cockpit car should be quicker/easier to evacuate than an enclosed vehicle. Below is link their website explaining things.

    SFI Rating TPP Value Time to 2nd Degree Burn
    3.2A/1 6 3 Seconds
    3.2A/3 14 7 Seconds
    3.2A/5 19 10 Seconds
    3.2A/10 38 19 Seconds
    3.2A/15 60 30 Seconds
    3.2A/20 80 40 Seconds

    https://sfifoundation.com/article-1/
     
  20. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
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    Absolutely make sure that everything to wear is nomex and make sure you do not wear any kind of 'performance' sports apparel like a Nike Dry Fit T-shirt which will turn to molten plastic in a fire. In fact wearing nomex underwear essentially doubles the fire protection you have on your body. I have raced Radicals for the last 5 years and they are great cars which are very quick. Be sure to post a pic of your new race car for the rest of us to drool over.
     
  21. schao

    schao Karting

    Mar 31, 2013
    183
    Palm Beach, FL
    Full Name:
    S Chao
    Do you have HANS? Hearing protection or using racing radio's, in which case look for custom molded plugs. Balaclava is extra fire protection for your face, but also helps keep your helmet from getting too sweaty. Will you have trackside car support, coaching, data/video analysis? There will be a lot for you to learn, expect to spend more $ than you budgeted, and spending more/early means you'll learn that much faster and drive faster/safer. AiM has been hosing a twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday, 1pm EST) webinar this spring to help teach how to use their software, all on archived on YouTube. Plus a bunch of AiM dealers have teaching videos too. You can download AiM software from their website (Race Studio 3); it's not too early to start climbing the learning curve.

    https://www.aim-sportline.com/en/documentation-roger-caddell-webinars-2020.htm
    https://www.aim-sportline.com/
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-jKMHVO2BY19jmYH-1p18A
     
  22. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    An AiM data system is a wonderful tool especially when paired to their smarty cam. They make excellent products and their technical support is second to none. I cannot tell you the number of times they went above and beyond for me. Wonderful company.
     
  23. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    19,849
    socal
    Listen to Schao...he speaks the truth! FWIW I'm a heat weenie. I don't race June-September unless it is something special. I'm a real fan of the 1 layer super light hycotex sparco suits from march -june. You can feel the breeze through them yet the fabric swells and seals up in a fire to act like 3 layer protection. You add the next level of protection past your suit fire rating by adding the nomex underwear but that also increases your heat. I use a cool suit that run icewater through the shirt to keep cool on hot days. The cool shirts can be bought in nomex too and 3 or so guys make those. In the dead of winter I go back to a 3 layer suit to keep warm from November-february. If you start wearing cool suits and head socks they change the helmet and suit fit so try on stuff with all the rest of the gear. Consider the FIA rated helmet with the thicker visors for open cars (post massa accident improvements). It could be FIA 8860-2018 but do the research and check. I have also seen many radicals used for trackdays having the wrong padding because there is less stringent tech like in wheel to wheel racing. make sure your roll bar padding is SFI45.1. After a while you get borded going around in circles so come play in SCCA P2 class. There is nothing more fun than wheel to wheel racing. Welcome to the slippery slope!
     
  24. schao

    schao Karting

    Mar 31, 2013
    183
    Palm Beach, FL
    Full Name:
    S Chao
    Thanks OP, the price on the Alpinestars GP Tech is exceptional, so I bought one to replace my 16 year old Alpinestars as my practice day suit. Race suit remains an extra lightweight Sparco that flatters on the podium. ;-)

    And fatbillybob is right, racing is in your future!
     
  25. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    Jan 29, 2010
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    Thanks for all the replies guys. My Alpinestars GP tech suit arrived yesterday and fits great. I'm real happy with it especially for $699. It has a 2017 date code on the FIA badge but I don't think suits time out?

    For a HANS I bought the Schroth SHR Flex. I like that the angle is adjustable if I jump between my car and instructing in a BMW or something (assuming it has harnesses). These are the roll bar pads I bought https://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productselection.asp?Product=2391 I'll order some underwear and a balaclava.

    I need to look at hearing protection. I struggle with that on my Ducati. Store bought ear plugs alone don't seem to work all that well, even if they're more expensive ones.

    I did install the AIM Smartycam 2.2 / Solo2 DL combo last week. My car is only a 2007 so doesn't have the LifeRacing ECU. I can only log RPM data besides all the other stuff the Solo2 does. I dropped my car off with Team Stradale at Autobahn yesterday for a safety inspection / setup. I'm doing a 2 day school with them first week of June.

    Here is the car. I have a friend that owns CGS Premier (they build NFL level production trailer and promotional rigs) and think they did an awesome job with graphics.
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  26. Nuvolari

    Nuvolari F1 Veteran
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    Sep 3, 2002
    5,550
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    Rob C.
    Great looking car. Looks like an earlier SR3 with the lower downforce package. Still plenty fast to make you king at almost any track day. A few tips:

    - For earplugs go to a hearing aid place and have them make a mold of your ears and get silicone plugs made. Much less expensive than using the racing radios guys to do the same job and generally you get a better result because of the greater experience of the hearing aid place.

    - The weakest point on the Radical is the gear drive unit (GDU) make sure to change the oil in it every 2 track days and it will make a huge difference to life. Oil change is less than a quart so not an expensive exercise.

    - Between the AIM Solo and Smarty Cam that's all you need. In the end you will spend most of your time looking at GPS speed anyways.

    - The guys at Team Stradale are a good bunch so you are in good hands.
     
  27. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    Jan 29, 2010
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    Thanks yes it’s a 2007 but does have the high downforce package and paddles.
     
  28. gobble

    gobble Formula 3
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    Jan 29, 2010
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    I connected with a local hearing aid store. He knew exactly what I was looking for. They will do custom earplugs with speakers for $185/ear. Can do mono or stereo with a headphone plug. Does that sound like a fair price? Any downside to adding the speakers? I assume when I'm with an instructor or instructing myself at a DE day that would come in handy?
     

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