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HANS Device Buyers Guide: Choosing & Sizing a Head Neck Restraint

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What is a HANS Device?

The racing HANS Device is a device that attaches to the helmet and supports a driver’s head and neck in the event of an impact. HANS stands for head and neck support. These devices have saved countless drivers from injuries and if you are behind the wheel of a race car, HANS protection is a must. HANS devices provide a level of protection that goes far beyond the traditional racing neck brace. There are multiple different styles of SFI 38.1 head and neck restraints including the HANS Device, Simpson Hybrid, Zamp Z Tech, and Necksgen Rev that all provide excellent protection behind the wheel of a race car.

HANS Device
Which HANS device to buy?

When selecting a device, make sure to look for the SFI 38.1 certification to ensure the device is up to safety standards required by your sanctioning body. It is also important to look at sizing and the different configurations of each device such as size, layback, seat belt size, and how they attach to the driver/belts to find the best fit for your application. Another common question is how long is a HANS device good for? Each manufacturer sets a standard for their devices and has options for recertification. It is always recommended to inspect your HANS device after a big impact to ensure the device is still safe. You can browse all of the HANS System offerings that Speedway Motors currently has available and use the information below to choose the best HANS device for you.

HANS devices are a race day essential for all types of racers.
HANS Device

The HANS device is one of the most widely used head and neck restraints. It is available in different sizes and layback degrees to provide the safest fit for the driver and seat. There are multiple versions of racing HANS Device in varying price ranges. All of these devices are SFI 38.1 certified head and neck restraints. The main difference in these models is the weight of the device itself. These differences are a result of the different materials used to construct the HANS neck braces. The HANS Device Sport III is a carbon polymer construction, while the HANS Pro Ultra is made of 100 percent carbon fiber with a hollow core. Measuring a driver for a HANS device requires a measurement of the neck. You can use this HANS device sizing chart to determine what size will be the best fit. You can also check the current recertification information on HANS devices on their recertification page. Speedway Motors offers many different options for HANS Devices and accessories to find the best head and neck restraint for you!

HANS Device Sizing Chart
Simpson Hybrid head and neck restraint.
Simpson Hybrid

Another popular head and neck restraint on the market is the Simpson Hybrid device. This device features a strap that connects around the driver’s chest and then fastens in under the seat belt. The main difference between when comparing the Simpson Hybrid vs HANS Device is the way they lock into the driver. They are both SFI 38.1 certified and have sliding tethers to allow movement of the head during normal racing conditions. Measuring a driver for a Simpson Hybrid device requires a measurement of the chest with a fire suit on. You can look at the sizing chart to see what size is best for you. You can check the current recertification info for Simpson Hybrid devices on their recertification page.

Simpson Hybrid Size Chart
Zamp 6A Z-tech Head and Neck Restraint
Zamp Z-Tech Head and Neck Restraint

The Zamp Z-Tech is another popular option on the market today. This device is unique because of its adjustment abilities. The biggest difference to note when comparing the Zamp Z-Tech vs HANS Devices is that you do not need to buy a specific size with these devices as the shoulder width and arm angle are both adjustable. There is no sizing chart for Zamp Head and Neck Restraint because of this feature. The Zamp 2A Z-tech and Zamp 6A Z-tech head and neck restraints are both SFI 38.1 certified and are great budget-friendly options that provide significantly more protection than a foam neck collar. To check Zamp’s current recertification information please check Zamp’s recertification page.

Necksgen REV2 Lite Head and Neck Restraint System
Necksgen REV

The Necksgen REV comes in a couple different configurations; the Rev and Rev 2 Lite. Both of these Necksgen head and neck restraints are SFI 38.1 certified and the main difference is the weight. The Rev weighs in at 1.8 lbs and the Rev 2 Lite weighs 1.2 lbs. They can be ordered according to the sizing chart below and configured for 2- or 3-inch seat belts. Comparing the Necksgen vs HANS Device, the Necksgen is a smaller overall device as it does not come down as far in front of the shoulders. To check the current recertification information on Necksgen products visit their recertification page.

Necksgen Sizing Chart
HANS Device vs Neck Brace

Oftentimes at your local race track you will see drivers wearing foam neck braces. Do not be fooled, these do not provide the same protection as an SFI 38.1 rated HANS neck brace. Studies have been done to show how little a foam neck brace actually helps a driver in a crash vs. a HANS Device. To see this data read the full report from NHTSA. They offer no support to keep the neck and spine inline and do not help with energy transfer like a proper HANS device. If you are still relying on a foam neck collar when you get behind the wheel of your race car there is no better time than now to upgrade and protect yourself!

Head and Neck Restraint (HANS) FAQs

What does HANS device stand for? HANS stands for Head and Neck Support.

Who invented the HANS device? The HANS device was invented by Dr. Robert Hubbard. The first driver to wear a HANS device was Jim Downing in 1986. You can learn more about Dr. Hubbard in this article from MSU.

When was the HANS device invented? HANS device history dates back to 1981 when Dr. Hubbard started his R&D on the HANS device. It became mandatory for CART in 2001 on ovals, FIA standard in 2002, and mandated in NASCAR in October of 2001. Another popular device was the Hutchens device. When comparing the Hutchens device vs HANS device, the HANS device is much simpler and safer. Hutchens devices were made illegal in NASCAR in 2005.

How does a HANS device work? HANS devices work by keeping the head and neck in line with the body and help transfer the energy through the rest of the torso, seat belts, and seat. They allow for head movement during the race via sliding tethers that instantly reduce slack in an impact.

How does the HANS device prevent injuries and fatalities? One of the most common injuries that are sustained in a head-on impact is a basilar skull fracture. The motion limitations and support that HANS devices provide help prevent these often fatal injuries.

How do you measure your neck for a HANS device? The way you measure will depend on the device you are choosing. For example, a HANS device requires the measurement of the driver's neck while a Simpson Hybrid device requires a measurement of the driver's chest. Always make sure to wear your fire suit while measuring yourself to get the most accurate measurement!

How tight should a HANS device be? A HANS device will not sit tight on a driver until they strap into the harness, but a Simpson Hybrid device should fit without any slack around the chest. Once the seat belts are fastened, the HANS device should fit snugly on the driver's shoulders.

Do HANS devices expire? HANS devices do require recertification after a certain period of time or after a major impact. You can check with the manufacturer of your device for their requirements for recertification.

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