We’ve talked a lot about many subjects, but let’s get back to…DRIVER SUITS! Yes I know, it’s been a while, but we’re getting back to business! Let’s get started. A lot of race car drivers aren’t full time professionals, but are weekend warriors who race for the love of the sport. Some are be involved in the auto industry, some aren’t. For some, they left the sport and started a business. Nort Northam is one of those people. He is a consignment auto dealer who is also a racer.
He likes to race in endurance racing, and he raced in the 1988 Sunbank 24 at Daytona, now the Rolex 24. Racing a Porsche 911 with Karl Durkheimer, Monte Shelton, and Jim Torres, he started 67th on the grid and finished 33rd. During that race, and for a few races after that, he wore this single-layer driver suit. The suit shows heavy use, with stains and scuff marks.
The suit was made by PBI and has a collar behind the Velcro-shut collar. The front has had a patch removed on the left side, and has a SUNBANK 24 AT DAYTONA patch and has NORT NORTHAM embroidered in chain-stitched lettering. The belt us unadorned,the legs have a lot of wear on them.The shoulders have safety straps on them. They are cloth strips designed to help pull an incapacitated driver from a damaged race car. They are black so they are visible on the yellow background. It doesn’t look elegant, but it does the job.
The weekend warriors are an essential part to the motorsports industry. While many racing part companies work with the top teams, they also sell to the weekend warriors who race at local tracks, and the occasional regional event. Next week, we will discuss the driver suit as fashion.