By David G. Firestone
For this week’s blog, I will be doing a visual glossary of terms that I use when describing driver suits and helmets. To illustrate this, we will use this examples from a number of suits, including this Kasey Kahne suit from 2005.
and this Terry Labonte suit from 2008
Collar-The collar is the main protection for the driver’s neck. There are two types of collars, the ones that velcro shut, and the kind that overlap, but do not attach. A popular place for sponsor logos.
Shoulder Epaulet-a piece of fabric used to decorate the shoulders. Some are designed for visual appearance, but some are designed to be used to pull an unconscious driver from a burning car. Another popular place for sponsor logos.
Arm Gusset-Pieces of Nomex at the top of the sleeves that attach to the main body of the suit designed for driver comfort, while keeping it fire retardant.
Series Logo-Logo indicating what series the driver is racing in. Currently found at the top of the suit on the right side for NASCAR and the left side for IndyCar, though it has been more nomadic in the past.
Associate Sponsor Logos-Smaller logos found at the top of the chest. Typically these include the series logo, tire logo, car manufacturer, team name, and one or two other sponsors. These small logos are a good way to photomatch a suit.
Primary Sponsor Logo-The biggest logo on the suit, can measure as much as 14 inches around. Usually found on the center torso on front and upper torso on back. This logo is also the reason is why all of the other design features of the suit revolve around.
Belt-Many driver suits feature a belt, which is for driver comfort. The safety certification is sometimes found on the inside, has a velcro closure. The driver name or a sponsor logo is often found here.
Double or Triple-Layer-Most driver suits have multiple layers of Nomex in them to protect the driver from fire
Safety Certification-Driver suits are independently inspected by FIA and/or SFI to insure that they meet or exceed the fire protection they promise to provide. SFI certification is typically found on the inside of the left sleeve, and FIA can be found on either the back of the neck, or inside the belt.