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Why Motorsport Racing Gloves Are Vital for Driver Performance and Safety
By Right Motorsport – Matt Lambert
In the adrenaline-fueled world of motorsport racing, every detail matters.
Racing drivers rely on a range of specialized equipment to optimize their performance and safety on track. Among these essential pieces of gear, racing gloves play a crucial role. These seemingly unassuming accessories have a significant impact on driver 'feel,' hand grip, and overall control.
In this article, we will explore the importance of motorsport racing gloves for driver performance and safety, discussing their effects on hand control, the differences between inner and outer seams, their role as a safety measure in motorsport, and why they are an excellent starting point for beginner drivers.
The Connection Between Gloves and Driver 'Feel':
A driver's 'feel' for the car is paramount in motorsport racing. Racing gloves are designed to enhance this connection, providing drivers with an extension of their hands that allows them to sense every nuance of the steering wheel.
The steering wheel is the primary point of contact between the driver and the car, and a well-fitted pair of racing gloves offer optimal sensitivity. This heightened sensitivity allows drivers to make precise adjustments to the car's trajectory, maintain control, and respond quickly to changing track conditions.
But how could a simple pair of gloves influence a driver's performance? The answer lies in the tactile feedback they provide. Motorsport racing gloves are crafted from materials that strike the perfect balance between thickness and flexibility. This balance ensures that drivers can sense the weight of the steering wheel without sacrificing hand protection. The result is a seamless connection between the driver's hands and the car, empowering the driver with the information needed to make split-second decisions.
Inner Seam vs. Outer Seam Gloves:
Racing gloves come in two primary designs: inner seam and outer seam. The distinction lies in the placement of the glove's stitching.
Inner seam gloves (albeit rarer in present days) have stitching on the inside, ensuring a seamless contact surface between the glove and the steering wheel. Inner seams do however create friction between the drivers fingers and the inner edges or spokes of the steering wheel, which can lead to fatigue over time.
Outer seam gloves, while growing in popularity, feature stitching on the outside. This is the preferred design for its unique feel and fit. This design minimizes friction and pressure points, maximizing driver comfort and reducing the risk of blisters during long races. The outer seam construction offers a distinct sensory experience, and some drivers find it more comfortable due to their hand shape or personal preference.
Ultimately, the choice between inner and outer seam gloves comes down to individual preferences and budget, where the outer seam gloves have generally been the more expensive option as they achieve a higher level of comfort and grip.
Recommended Gloves for Entry-Level, Intermediate Drivers and Pros:
Racing gloves, like many aspects of motorsport, can vary in price depending on the quality, brand and use. It is often difficult to know where to start and what you are actually getting for your money.
Racing gloves do come in different shapes and sizes, but it is important to find a pair that suits your requirements and budget. Be aware, that cheap knock-off gloves do exist in the market with some worrying consequences, including, a lack of fireproofing properties, poor build quality, and unregulated standards.
Always stick to the big-name brands, such as OMP, Alpinestars, Sparco, Puma, and more.
Here are some great examples:
- OMP TECNICA Racing Gloves $179.00
Safety Regulations and Motorsport Requirements:
In the pursuit of speed and thrill, safety is of utmost importance in motorsport racing. Racing gloves are mandatory safety equipment in most professional and amateur motorsport events. They are required as a protective measure to shield drivers' hands from abrasions, impacts, and heat, which can occur during a crash or due to friction with the steering wheel.
Various motorsport regulations, including those set by organizations like the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and regional motorsport governing bodies, mandate the use of racing gloves that meet specific safety standards. These standards ensure that the gloves provide adequate protection while maintaining the driver's comfort and dexterity.
One of the critical safety features found in motorsport racing gloves is fire resistance. In the event of a fire-related incident, such as a fuel leak or engine fire, drivers need protection from the intense heat and flames that can engulf the cockpit. Racing gloves are crafted from fire-resistant materials, such as Nomex, which can withstand high temperatures and provide a critical barrier between the driver's hands and the fire.
Moreover, racing gloves reinforce the effectiveness of other safety equipment, such as the racing suit and helmet. A combination of fire-resistant gloves, a flame-retardant suit, and a helmet with a fire-resistant balaclava ensures that the driver is well-protected in the event of a fire.
The Perfect Starting Point for Beginner Drivers:
Racing gloves are not just for seasoned professionals; they are an excellent starting point for beginner drivers as well. Whether participating in track days or go-karting events, beginners can benefit from the added control, grip, and safety that racing gloves offer.
For beginners, every second on the track is a learning experience. Racing gloves can make a significant difference in how quickly beginners adapt to the car's behaviour and how confidently they handle the steering wheel. As novices gain experience, their hand-eye coordination improves, and they become more attuned to the car's feedback.
Racing gloves facilitate this process, helping beginners build a strong foundation for their
In the high-octane world of motorsport racing, precision and safety go hand in hand. Racing gloves are essential gear that elevates driver performance and protection.
By providing a heightened sense of 'feel’, whilst complying with safety regulations, motorsport gloves play a pivotal role in the success and safety of every driver. Whether you're a seasoned professional or a beginner with a need for speed, a well-chosen pair of racing gloves will keep you firmly in control and confidently ahead of the competition.