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Racing Harness Buyer's GuideRacing Harness Buyer's Guide

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Before you get your race car on the track, you need to make sure your roll cage, helmet, racing seat, and the like are up to date and meet proper certifications. However, besides those items, your racing harnesses need to be up to date as well. Your racing harness is the one thing every safety tech will check to make sure they’re up to date. Racing harnesses are only SFI certified to last for two years. Therefore, if your racing harnesses are out of date, you will need new ones before your next track outing. Thankfully, we have a full line of racing harnesses, and we can help you get strapped in no matter what you race.

How Do I Choose a Racing Harness?

The first thing you need to do is figure out what the sanctioning body requires for your desired racing class. From there you can narrow down your choices between a 4 point harness and a 5 point harness, or even a 6 point harness, and either a 2- or 3-inch racing harness belt width. Most racing belts come in a 3 inch width, but for less powerful racing classes you can also use a 2 inch race harness. Some 3 inch racing harnesses feature 2 inch shoulder belts that fit better with a HANS device, but again, check with the sanctioning body to make sure this arrangement is legal.

The next aspect to consider is the length needed for your racing harness. Most racing seat belts are long enough to accommodate a wide range of body types. However, the length of your racing seat harness has more to do with where it attaches than it does your body type. A quarter midget racing seat harness is going to be longer than other seat belts for race cars simply because of where they attach. Though, most race car roll cages are within close proximity to the race seat.

Most racing harnesses have a triangular bracket at the end of each race car seat belt that is used to secure the race harness to the roll cage or frame/chassis. Yet other racing seat belts wrap around the roll cage bars. Either way, you need to decide which style works for your mounting before ordering, since the racing seat belts with the mounting brackets sewn in cannot be turned into a wraparound style. There are racing harness offerings capable of offering both mounting options, but if that’s the route you want to go, make sure to choose accordingly.

The last thing to decide for your racing harness is how it latches in the front. The two main latch styles are latch-and-link and cam-loc. The latch-and-link are the more popular choice and operate as a hook and loop arrangement where a hook passes through a metal loop at the end of each belt and secures them. With the cam lock design each racing belt snaps into the cam lock’s hub for attachment. The cam lock design is easier to use, as you can attach one belt at a time versus having to hold all the latch-and-link ends together in one hand, but the latch-and-link style is usually less expensive. Both will do the job of securing the driver, but it will come down to personal style and comfort as to which you choose.

Are Racing Harnesses Legal for The Street?

Since a 4 point harness or 5 point harness has an increased contact area with a person’s body, the thought is that a racing harness is safer when compared to the everyday automotive seat belt. However, that doesn’t mean you can add a racing harness to your street car with factory bucket seats and be properly secured. It’s not that easy. A racing harness needs a roll cage to be properly secured, and we all know a roll cage isn’t ideal in a street car, especially if not wearing a helmet. Factory seats often do not have the proper construction to utilize a racing harness either. You will get different opinions on this question, but it’s best to source your local laws for a definitive answer. Some states look at racing harnesses differently than others, so it’s best to seek the answer at your county or state level.

How Long Do SFI Racing Harnesses Last?

SFI certifications last for two years when it comes to racing harnesses. This timeframe is due to potential degradation from exposure to the sun, or other materials that could deteriorate a racing harness’s construction. If a racing harness’s webbing becomes compromised, that is a detriment to the safety of the racer. Therefore, racing harnesses are only good for two years before they need to be replaced. Furthermore, if you are in an accident it is highly recommended to replace the racing harness since it could’ve suffered damage during the accident, as well due to the high loads applied to it by your body on impact.

Do You Need a Harness Bar for Racing Harnesses?

So, a harness bar is a compromise between not having a roll cage, and still wanting a racing harness. In a race car, the roll cage and chassis/frame are used to attach the racing harness. A harness bar is mounted behind the front seats and provides a mounting point for the racing harness. A harness bar skirts state laws and sanctioning body rules, so you need to consult both before proceeding with a harness bar. However, a harness bar is simply an economical and easy way of adding a racing harness to a vehicle. Again, a harness bar will most often be billed as a component not legal for the street, but also not legal for most racing sanctioning bodies, so shop carefully if this is the route you choose. Also, when it comes to harness bars, there aren’t many designed to bolt right into a car. Therefore, it’s best to use an actual roll cage when seeking racing harness attachment.

What Is the Minimum and Maximum Weight for A 5 Point Racing Harness?

When it comes to weight requirements for a 5 point harness, there are maximum weight restrictions, but those have to with the difference between youth and adult sized racing harnesses. Otherwise, racing harnesses are more based on a level of safety, and not specific weight requirements. Let’s look at SFI certifications to help define racing harness requirements. The SFI 16.1 spec is more a general racing harness certification, whereas a 16.2 spec is specifically for racing harnesses for youth drivers. SFI spec 16.5 is for “Stock Car Driver Restraint Assemblies,” and an SFI 16.6 designation is placed on “Advanced Motorsport Restraint Assemblies.” A 5 point harness seat belt design is intended to keep the racer safe, no matter the weight, but if you’re a grown adult, make sure you don’t purchase a youth racing harness. We have racing harnesses for both youth and adult drivers.

Can I Use A 5 Point Racing Harness as A 4 Point?

So, a 5 point racing harness is just a 4 point racing harness with an anti-submarining strap that goes between a racer’s legs. A 4 point harness features two shoulder belts and two racing lap belts. A 4 point racing harness with an added anti-submarining strap is a 5 point racing harness (some find the optional 6-point harness with dual anti-submarining straps to be more comfortable and feel more secure once strapped in). An anti-submarining strap keeps a racer from going under the belts in the case of a frontal impact. However, a 4 point racing harness’s lap belts is designed to keep this from happening, but a 5 point harness’s anti-submarining strap adds an extra layer of safety. So, as long as not using the anti-submarining strap doesn’t compromise the racing harness’s effectiveness, yes, a 5 point racing harness can often be used as a 4 point racing harness, but we encourage you to defer to the manufacturer’s literature to confirm intended use.