Best Racing Seats: Improve Your Safety and Comfort
Improve the comfort, safety, and interior look of your car with these top racing seats
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If you have a sports car or a sporty coupe, adding a high-quality set of racing seats not only improves the fast and sporty look of your car, but it can greatly improve your driving experience. This is even more true for those who are active motorsports competitors. A set of racing seats adds special features, such as higher, molded one-piece seat backs and deeper, more secure seating.
However, you don’t have to be an auto racer to appreciate the look and added comfort of racing seats. They’re also a great option if you just want to customize or trick out the look of your car. Whatever your reason for wanting new racing seats for your vehicle, we’ve got your back with our list of top recommendations and our in-depth buying guide.
Get the best racing seats to suit your needs and then have fun testing them out.
This pair of seats is constructed from high-performance and durable PVC leather that’s easy to clean and will hold up to some serious wear and tear. They feature a one-piece, fixed pole, non-reclining design with strong steel framing.
- These seats are offered as a pair, making them a good value that looks sleek and stylish
- They’re designed with deep bolsters that support and protect you during driving
- Universal fit may still be too large to accommodate some vehicles
- Questionable customer service response times
These seats make a bold statement with their all-red microsuede fabric design. The enclosed sides will hold your core in place during aggressive driving.
- This seat offers excellent lumbar support
- The entire seat is made from fiberglass to give you support and durability both on and off the track
- This seat works best with an aftermarket racing harness, so you’ll need to replace your stock seat belts
- You may also find this seat tight in the hip area if you’re wider than the seat
These seats are a high-quality pair of seats constructed from a sturdy steel frame that is fully covered with sporty and durable PVC leather, that is fully waterproof, stain-resistant, and super easy to clean.
- Both of the racing seats can recline up to a full 180 degrees
- They’re designed to fit up to 95 percent of vehicles
- They’re a little wider and more comfortable than some other options
- You need to be sure to order the correct brackets for proper installation
- Even with the proper brackets, installation may still require significant modification or welding for proper fit
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Benefits of Racing Seats
- Safety. When used in conjunction with a harness and a roll-bar, racing seats add an extra level of safety to your car. Even some amateur racing homologations require them.
- Stability. If you’re throwing your car into a hard corner, the gravitational force will cause you to slide out of a normal seat. Racing seats hold you in place so you can concentrate on driving.
- Style. Even if you don’t plan on taking your ride to the track, a pair of racing seats adds some flair to your car’s style. A well-coordinated interior can do wonders for a show car.
Types of Racing Seats
Halo seats are the most protective of all racing seats and do the best job of holding you in place. These seats have extra-high backs and a protective shroud surrounding the driver’s head. When the driver is wearing a helmet, this shroud keeps the driver’s head upright during hard cornering. The issue that halo seats present is a lack of side-to-side visibility. It’s difficult to see left and right while in a halo-style racing seat, so they’re best for off-road use. They also must be used with harnesses.
Bucket seats are a more traditional style of racing seat. These rigid seats are usually made of fiberglass or aluminum but may come in lighter-weight materials like carbon fiber. They’re excellent for on-road and track use, as they hold the driver in place but also allow the driver to see out of the left and right side of the car. The drawback of rigid bucket seats is they aren’t easily adjusted. The seat angle can be changed but requires tools and a considerable amount of time and effort. They also require harnesses.
Offering many of the same benefits as a rigid bucket racing seat, adjustable bucket seats also provide easier and more customizable comfort. They operate like any manual car seat, so if it helps, think ‘90s Japanese and German performance cars. They have reclining backs and may even have thigh adjustments. The downside here is that in a crash, they may not provide the level of safety that a rigid seat does. Some can be used with standard seat belts but they won’t hold you in place as well as they do with a harness.
The Turin, Italy-based Sparco has been providing innovative, high-quality safety solutions for the racing world since 1977. The Sparco Chrono Road Seat has seen the inside of many high-performance vehicles, on- and off-road.
Another Italian motorsports company, MOMO has been developing products for the racing world since 1964. Based in Milan, MOMO makes seats, steering wheels, and other performance products for both the car and the driver. This MOMO Supercup Racing Seat is a Hans-compatible seat that will hold you in place so you can take a shot at the podium.
Continuing the Italian theme, OMP calls Genoa home. OMP produces high-quality racing gear, including the OMP HTE-R Fiberglass Racing Seat. They were developed for rally racing, so you know they’ll keep you in the seat.
Racing Seats Pricing
- Up to $200: This range will include mostly aluminum rigid bucket racing seats, but they’ll do the job if you need something to hold you in place while you’re drifting through a corner.
- $200 to $500: Racing seats in this range will be made of quality materials, and may feature reclining seatbacks. The top manufacturers usually offer one or two seats in this range.
- $500 and up: This price range will include the ultimate in racing seat technology. Carbon fiber, kevlar, and other high-strength, lightweight materials can be purchased above this price point. These seats are strong, light, and comfortable.
If you’re going to be using your car for amateur racing, it’s important to check your homologation rules to see if you’re required to use an FIA-certified seat. Even if you aren’t required, FIA-certified seats have gone through rigorous testing to make sure that they are safe and can provide the type of safety you might need in the event you end up in the wall. Also, note that reclining seats cannot be FIA-certified.
You may be able to purchase an inexpensive seat that looks like it was built for racing, but if there are no harness pass-throughs, look elsewhere. These two holes sit above your shoulders so your shoulder straps can buckle into the rear seats or onto a roll cage. Without harness capability, you won’t get the total benefit of a racing seat.
- Fit. It’s important to know if you fit the seat you’ll be purchasing. If you can’t get to a display model in person for a test fit, most manufacturers have measurement charts available online. These charts are meant to compare your body to the width of the bolsters and the height of the pass-throughs. If you’re too small or too large for a seat, it won’t hold you in place like it’s supposed to.
- Size. Different from your body’s fit, checking the size of the seat and how it fits in your vehicle is important. There needs to be enough room at the seating area and shoulder area of the seat for proper fit. Check to make sure there will be room between the console and the seat, as well as the doors and the shoulders. Manufacturers also provide charts for these measurements, so you can get an idea of how a seat will fit.
- Seat Attachment. Rails and seat brackets to mount your racing seat to your vehicle are rarely provided with your purchase. You’ll need vehicle-specific seat brackets, and if you want the seat to be able to slide, you’ll have to purchase an additional slider kit. While not as expensive as the seats themselves, they aren’t cheap, so you should also budget for these.
Best Racing Seats Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Racing seats fall into four general categories of seat design, depending on their intended use. Choose from reclining, fixed back, suspension, and bench. Reclining seats are a good choice overall for comfort and style.
- Measure your car before you pick out your seats. You need to make sure the seats will fit. Make sure to measure the bottom width, shoulder width, length front to back, and height.
- Don’t forget to confirm that you fit in the seat. If your waist is smaller than 34 inches, then you should be fine. If your midsection is larger, you’ll want to check the seats you’re buying.
Q: Do I need to buy a harness for my racing seats?
A: Take a look at the seats you’re buying to determine what type of harness they can accommodate. Some racing seats work with your stock three-point seatbelt. Other racing seats work with a four-, five-, or six-point harness. If you plan on racing, you’ll want a harness with more points to ensure your safety.
Q: Why is the padding different?
A: Some racing seats are designed for comfort, while others are designed to hold you in place while racing. The padding in the seat will indicate what the intended purpose of the seat is. You’ll want seats with the padding meant for your intended use so you have the most comfort while driving.
Q: How do I keep my new seats clean?
A: Before you do anything, you should check with the manufacturer and follow its directions. You should vacuum them regularly to avoid dirt and crumbs from getting ground into the fabric. You should also be able to spot clean the fabric with a mild detergent.
For the best overall racing seat in terms of quality, performance, and price, our top pick is the ModifyStreet Universal PVC Leather Racing Bucket Seats. This pair of seats is constructed from high-performance and durable PVC leather that’s easy to clean and will hold up to some serious wear and tear. They feature a one-piece, fixed pole, non-reclining design with strong steel framing.
For a more budget friendly option that still delivers on quality construction and dependability, the NRG Bucket Seat is our pick to click.