The Top 4 Race Seats for a Daily Driver / Track Day Car – Best Racing Seats. Seats are one of the most ignored parts of performance car modification. Most of us are too focused on the go-fast aspects to realise that a fast car is only as good as the experience we enjoy while driving it. You may have the world’s quickest and best-handling automobile, but if you’re thrown around in the cabin, the benefits of performance suspension and a high-performance engine are useless.
This is where racing seats come in. Rally and DTM cars have extensive bolstering and neck support for a reason: to keep the driver’s body facing the right way! While most of us aren’t on the track every day, a good racing seat can make both weekend backroad adventures and track days more enjoyable.
Racing seats are frequently associated with compromising comfort for performance, but this does not have to be the case. There are solutions available that fall somewhere in the middle. In this post, we’ll go over some of the greatest racing seats for an everyday driver as well as a dedicated track monster.
The cost of a racing seat can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. As a result, we’ll review chairs in a variety of pricing levels, starting with promising entry-level options and working our way up to luxury options.
Considerations for the Best Racing Seats
There are a few things to think about when purchasing a racing seat, just like you would with any other automotive performance equipment. They are quite straightforward. It all comes down to right dimensions, pricing, and build quality. All of these requirements must be met by a competent racing seat.
Correct Sizing and Comfort:
Above all, the most comfortable racing seat is the best racing seat. In terms of comfort and sizing, there are a few things to keep in mind. The skeletons of most high-quality racing seats are made of steel, fibreglass, or carbon fibre. While this makes them extremely strong, it can also make them uncomfortable if they are not adequately padded or are the wrong size for your body.
Another critical factor to consider is proper sizing, which is vital for both safety and comfort. Choosing the correct seat size can be challenging for someone who has never purchased a seat before or does not have the ability to sit in it before purchasing it.
Aside from ensuring that the seat is the correct size for your body, it is also critical to ensure that your chosen seat will fit in your vehicle. The most difficult component of fitting a seat into a car is usually the front width of the seat. Some larger chairs with wide hips may not fit in a smaller vehicle.
Measure Yourself for a Racing Seat:
In general, there are three essential metrics to consider when selecting which seat is right for you. These are the distances between your hips, your bottom, and your shoulders, as well as the distance between your shoulders.
Sit on a flat place with your back against a wall to collect these measurements. To begin, measure the distance between your left and right hips with a tape measure. This measurement is critical since you want your ideal seat to be snug in this area. A snug fit in the hips will keep you from sliding about in turns and will allow you to concentrate more on your driving.
Then, measure from the floor to the top of your shoulders. This measurement will assist you in determining the optimal seat height.
Finally, determine the distance between your left and right shoulders. Seats differ greatly in terms of shoulder width, and it is critical to fit securely in the shoulder area to avoid side-to-side movement.
One of the most crucial factors of comfort and safety in a seat is fit. Almost all seat manufacturers offer extensive size recommendations for their products, and it is critical to measure and confirm fitment before proceeding with your purchase.
Other Size Factors to Consider:
If you intend to use a racing harness or customised seatbelts, you must pay close attention to the position of the harness hole passthroughs on the seat. Most high-quality racing seats include openings above the shoulder area that allow a racing harness or normal seatbelt to pass through and over your shoulders. You must ensure that the passthroughs comfortably clear your shoulders.
Another crucial component in overall seat comfort and safety is bolstering type. It is critical to select a seat with the appropriate degree of bolstering for your application, especially if you want to undertake any type of performance driving.
Some models have aggressive side and head bolstering, which is commonly referred to as ‘halos’ in the racing community. Halo head bolsters are designed to keep your head in position when wearing a racing helmet. If comfort is your first goal when looking for a seat and you don’t want to race, a conventional, non-halo seat is your best bet. Head bolstering seats are normally reserved for dedicated track cars.
Racing seats can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. There are also numerous alternatives in between. If this is your first racing seat, start with the most expensive choice you can afford, especially if you intend to take your car to the track.
While less expensive racing seats may lack some of the more premium features found on more expensive seats, they will give you an idea of what it is like to live with one for an extended period of time. You can always upgrade to something better later!
Quality of Construction:
Last but not least, it is critical to assess the construction quality of the race seat that you are choosing. All race seats are not created equal. This is especially crucial to consider when shopping for low-cost choices. When selecting your seat, you should strike a good balance between price and quality.
As previously noted, race seats on the lower end are typically composed of steel, whilst more expensive and luxury options are typically built of fibreglass or carbon fibre. The materials used to construct racing seats are critical in terms of durability and safety. While a cheaper steel-made seat is unlikely to fall apart completely, cheap upholstery may tear with age. If you plan on doing some high-performance driving, your seat is your second line of defence in the event of a collision. As a result, your seat must be structurally strong enough to resist an impact.
A high-quality racing seat will last for many years with no problems. If you’re going to spend a substantial amount of money on one, you need make sure it’ll last.
The FIA is one of the world’s main motorsport regulating bodies, overseeing a plethora of racing events. They also provide the standard for racing part safety criteria. To be FIA certified, racing parts must pass stringent safety and build quality tests. When a component is FIA approved, it is a solid sign that it is of the greatest quality in terms of safety.
Having stated that, it is exceedingly difficult and costly for a parts manufacturer to build components that meet FIA specifications, which is often reflected in their retail price. The seats listed below are not all FIA certified. To participate in several racing events, you must have an FIA-certified seat. Others leave it up to the driver to choose if an FIA-certified seat is required.
If you merely want to drive in parking lots with cones, a non-FIA certified seat may suffice. For more intense events, such as time attack racing, increased safety should be a top goal.
Our Top Picks for the Best Racing Seats
We’ve produced a list of some of the top racing seat alternatives available right now. The seats described below should fit practically any car, but keep in mind how your vehicle’s factory seats are mounted. Most aftermarket performance seats require an adaptor to be installed in a specific car.
We arrived at our conclusions on the seats using the metrics listed above.
1) Seat Corbeau FX1 Pro Racing
5/5 for comfort
5/5 for build quality
I’ll spare the “great heritage and reputable company” platitudes for another time, but know that Corbeau is the real deal. Their FX1 Pro seat is one of the most comfortable options on this list, and the pricing is unbeatable.
The underlying shell is comprised of high-strength fibreglass, making it lightweight and sturdy. Corbeau chose a black gel coat under the detachable padding to cover the shell for added comfort. The FX1 Pro’s high-wear regions are coated with a durable leatherette material to boost longevity. Overall, the build quality of the FX1 Pro is excellent for a seat at this price point.
The FX1 Pro was built with fitment in mind, so it will fit in practically any car. That is not something that can be said for the larger and bulkier racing seats on the market today. The FX1 Pro, like the majority of the other alternatives on this list, has a bottom mounting point that requires custom brackets. It also features side mounting points for a roll cage and a rear mounting point.
In terms of comfort, the FX1 Pro stands out the most. Even long drives should be more than bearable with the added layer of gel cushioning. Unfortunately, unlike the Sparco seat mentioned above, the Corbeau does not recline. If you dislike the seating position, the cushion inserts can be removed and replaced with ones that can change the factory position.
2) R100 Sparco Racing Seat
3/5 for comfort
4.5/5 for build quality
Sparco has been responsible for some of the most significant safety advancements in racing history and has always been a brand synonymous with high-quality auto parts.
The Sparco R100 is one of the company’s best entry-level streetcar racing seats. While the R100 is less concerned with providing a truly comfortable experience, it makes up for it in performance. The Sparco R100 is built on a steel frame. While steel construction is frequently regarded as inferior, the R100’s rigidity is unrivalled. As a result, it actually holds you solidly through the corners. As an added bonus, the R100 reclines, allowing for further flexibility.
The R100 has passthrough holes for a racing harness, but it can also be utilised with standard seatbelts. In terms of fits, most customers with a 6′ height and weighing less than 225 lbs report that they can easily fit. The R100s have a lot of space around the hips, which allows smaller people to slide around a little.
To make the R100 compatible with your car, you’ll need vehicle-specific underbelly mounting gear, as with the majority of the seats on this list. However, once you have the necessary hardware, mounting the seats is simple. Simply attach the vehicle-specific hardware to the underside of the seat and the factory seat rails.
3) MOMO Daytona Racing Seat – Best Mid-Range Racing Seat
5/5 for comfort
5/5 for build quality
MOMO is well-known for manufacturing some of the best lightweight wheels for motorsport applications. They have subsequently moved out into building other performance parts, and as a result, they have created an even bigger name for themselves. The MOMO Daytona racing seat has a few noteworthy characteristics that make it worth the money. The revolutionary seat aeration is a major highlight.
The fibreglass shell of the MOMO Daytona is protected by a proprietary material called Airnet. Unlike most other racing seats, the Daytona’s padding breathes significantly better under pressure. This means you won’t become as hot and sweaty in race circumstances as you would in a regular foam seat. It also means that even if the seat gets wet, the material dries much faster than other materials.
The Daytona is clearly more concerned with offering a pleasant track experience than with anything else. As a result, it has several racing-related aspects. The Daytona, for example, is composed of fire retardant materials. The neck bolstering is also rather forceful, which provides superior support for drivers who wear helmets. The cushions on the Daytona, like those on the Corbeau, are removable, giving for more room for taller drivers. The Daytona is also completely FIA certified, which means it may be used in most motorsport events.
The installation of the Daytona is more complicated than that of many of the other chairs on this list. MOMO seats must be side-mounted, which necessitates the installation of a specially constructed MOMO side mount bracket on your car. In general, side mounts are a more stable seat mounting technique that decreases flex more than bottom mounts.
4) Sparco QRT-K Carbon Kevlar Racing Seat – Best High-End Racing Seat
3/5 for comfort
5/5 for build quality
The Sparco QRT-K is not for the casual enthusiast on a budget. In fact, the opposite is true. In terms of street-level racing seats, the QRT-K is the best of the best. The carbon fibre construction is the first thing you’ll notice about the seat. The golden carbon-Kevlar weave architecture is significant for two reasons: it is visually appealing, and it makes the QRT-K incredibly light and sturdy. The seat weights 13.5 pounds in total. That’s the same as the weight of your space-saving jack.
The QRT-K not only reduces the curb weight of your car by 50 pounds, but it also boasts an unrivalled strength to weight ratio. Because it is made of carbon, it is one of the safest places to be in the event of a crash. It is a genuine performance seat. The FIA agrees, since the QRT-K has received full certification. The Sparco is fire retardant and has resting spots for a five-point racing harness.
This isn’t the best option for long drives in terms of general comfort. While the QRT-K has plenty of removable padding, it is clear that long journeys are not the best setting for the seat. The QRT-K, like the MOMO, requires a side mount bracket to be properly mounted. The side mount allows it to slide while maintaining optimum stiffness. It is intended to fit in vehicles with compact chassis, therefore clearance should be minimal. Because to its large hip bolsters, it can easily fit up to a size 36 waist.
This is a true performance seat; avoid it if you want any kind of comfort in your daily vehicle.
Summary of the Best Racing Seats
Racing seats aren’t for everyone, but they do give a sense of stability and plantedness when driving through corners. You must, however, choose the appropriate seat for your own application. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of alternatives available at all pricing points.
It is critical to follow the manufacturer’s sizing advice while shopping for a racing seat. Nothing is more frustrating than ordering a gorgeous seat just to discover that it is too small for you. Most high-quality manufacturers, including all of those on this list, include extensive instructions on how to measure yourself for good fitment. If you fit properly in a racing seat, it can be significantly more comfortable than even the stock seats in your vehicle.
Quality and safety should be your primary objectives when selecting your first seat. There are several low-cost, low-quality seats available that may be appealing. Finally, a high-quality seat will last longer and keep you safe. If you want a seat that would significantly reduce weight, you will have to invest more money. Seats composed of fibreglass or carbon fibre are both extremely robust and extremely light. Having said that, they are more expensive than steel frame seats.
Seats with extensive neck and head bolstering should be avoided unless you intend to utilise the seat exclusively for track use. They can obstruct visibility in regular situations. A racing seat for your high-performance vehicle is a fantastic investment regardless of the use. They can not only make you safer in the event of a collision, but they also allow you to be more present in the driving experience.