Auto Equipment Racing Safety
- The helmet in auto racing is perhaps the most important piece of safety equipment. The primary purpose of the helmet is to protect the head. Over the years, designers of helmets began to form them as protection not only for the cranium, but also the face and eyes. Helmets used in the early to mid-20th century primarily covered the head and were made of leather or leatherlike material. Jackie Stewart became the first Formula One driver to race with a full-face helmet. Since the 1960s, auto racing drivers have preferred full-face helmets. Helmets as of the early 21st century consist of fiberglass and carbon materials with added padding and ventilation, a face guard and an eye visor.
Safety Harnesses and Seat Belts
- Safety harnesses protect body of the driver upon direct impact in a crash. Safety harnesses is the placement of seat belts in a race car, sometimes consisting of six-point or seven-point belts. Proper mounting is vital when it involves safety harnesses and seat belts. These harnesses evolved from the general lap belts invented in the late 19th century.
- In most forms of auto racing, fire suits are a requirement for all drivers as well as pit crew members. Fire suits are fire-resistant clothing that protects the wearer from serious burns in case of a fire. The quality of fire suits has dramatically evolved since the 1950s, when race car drivers wore attire such as borax-dipped coveralls.
Head and Neck Restraints
- The head and neck restraint device primarily provides security to your neck and lower cranium when faced with an impact due to a crash. A helmet cannot protect these particular areas. Many of these devices surfaced in the 1980s and were an optional safety feature for drivers. The National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) mandated the use of head and neck restraints in 2001, and Formula One followed suit in 2003. Two esteemed brands of head and neck restraints include the HANS device and the Hutchens device.
- Roll cages or roll bars are a safety feature installed in race cars to provide protection for drivers involved in a crash. Roll cages secure and brace the chassis on the car from the floor to the ceiling, therefore, protecting the driver in case the car flips during an accident. Roll cages are tubes constructed out of chrome material, chrome-moly or drawn-over mandrel, and welded into race cars.