Choosing a Head & Neck Restraints
How to Compare Han Device and other SFI 38.1 Head and Neck Restraint Systems Choosing a Head and Neck Restraint
There are currently several choices of Head and Neck Restraints available to the racer. These products are offered under the HANS Device, Simpson, NecksGen and Leatt brands. All auto racing Head and Neck Restraints must meet or exceed the SFI 38.1 Specification established by the SFI Foundation for motorsports competition. This SFI Specification establishes uniform test procedures and minimum standards for evaluating and determining performance capabilities for Head and Neck Restraint Systems used by individuals engaged in competitive motorsports. The SFI Foundation defines a Head and Neck Restraint as follows: “An active Head and Neck Restraint System is a protection ensemble providing an alternative load path which decreases both neck stress and head excursion during a vehicle impact without reliance on helmet impact into structures or nets. The SFI 38.1 Specification requires that the “Head and Neck Restraint System must be designed and manufactured to allow freedom of movement of head, torso, arms, etc., commensurate with operating a race vehicle under all race and associated conditions.” According the SFI Foundation, “Effective January 1, 2012, the SFI Foundation requires that Head and Neck Restraint Systems shall be inspected for recertification every five years after the date of original certification. Product inspection, maintenance, and/or replacement procedure is per individual manufacturer. Inspection must be done by the original manufacturer only, and not their authorized resellers or dealers. When a unit is determined by the manufacturer to be acceptable for continued service and in compliance with the current version of the specification, the original manufacturer shall place on the product a new SFI 38.1 conformance label marked with the inspection date.” While many tracks and sanctions do not currently require the use or recertification of head and neck restraints, the SFI Foundation clearly feels that all head and neck restraints should be inspected and either recertified or replaced after 5 years from the manufacturing date.
Head and Neck Restraint Overview:
HANS Device The HANS Device is synonymous with head and neck restraint technology. HANS Performance Products was recently purchased by Simpson Performance Products a leader in motorsports safety equipment. The HANS Device is the most widely used and recognized head and neck restraint in motorsports, and is the product that all other products on the market are measured against. HANS Devices are used in NASCAR, NHRA, IHRA, USAC, Formula 1, WOO and most other racing series.
The HANS Device is currently available in several configurations including:
HANS Device III: The HANS III Device represents the third generation of injection molded HANS devices and features acontemporary approach to reducing weight. Using an all new design and polymer, the device features a hollow collar that substantially minimizes weight. Engineered reinforcements ensure an exceptionally strong structure that provides the same level of safety as every HANS Device. The reduced mass guarantees the lightest and most comfortable injection molded HANS ever.
- HANS Device Sport II: The HANS Device Sport II models feature a lower rounded back than the original HANS Device design. The HANS Device Sport II design provides for less chance of the back getting caught on the roll cage or in window openings when entering or exiting the race car. The HANS Device Sport II is only available in a 20 Degree Layback configuration which is suitable for the majority of racing applications including most Stock Cars, Modifieds, Drag, Legends, Bandalero and most road race cars including Porsche, BMW, Corvette, Honda, Viper, Spec Miata and other similar race cars. It is also popular with Sprint Car, Midget, Mini/Micro Sprint cars even though they have a significantly more upright seating position, typically about 10 Degrees. However, the HANS Device Sport II is not compatible with cars that have extreme layback seats such as formula type cars, Indy Cars, etc. The HANS Device Sport II is available with post anchor or quick click helmet anchors and can be ordered with SFI or FIA Certifications (or both). The HANS Device Sport II is available in adult and child sizes, and is a very good choice for most types of racing. The HANS Device Sport II, while being extremely effective and popular, has some inherent design characteristics that cause some concern with some drivers. In particular, the HANS Device signature design can create pressure on the collarbone area and subsequent discomfort for some racers. Optional gel pads are available which can greatly reduce this issue in most cases. In addition, while providing outstanding front impact protection, the HANS Device Sport II design does not provide any side impact protection unlike some other products on the market. Some drivers report issues with shoulder harnesses sliding off the HANS Device. Many drivers opt for specially designed restraint systems that utilize a 2” shoulder harness so they stay in the channel easier and reduce the possibility of the harness sliding off the device.
- HANS Device Adjustable: The HANS Adjustable enables all drivers to a comfortable fit no matter what type of car or racing seat they use. It is adjustable in five-degree increments which allows the Hans Adjustable device to improve the fit and comfort for all racers. The HANS Adjustable can be used in different types of cars. If a racer competes in a sprint car with an upright seat and also a stock car with a reclined seat the device easily adjusts to the seat layback from 10 to 40 degrees. The HANS Adjustable Device has a low profile rounded back similar to HANS Device Sport II to improve entry and exit of the race car. The HANS Device Adjustable is available with post anchor or quick click helmet anchors. The HANS Adjustable is an excellent choice for the driver who competes in several different types of motorsports and needs maximum flexibility in his head and neck restraint design. While providing outstanding flexibility for the racer with its adjustable layback, the HANS Adjustable shares many of the signature HANS Device design characteristics that cause some concern with some drivers including the pressure on the collarbone, lack of side impact protection, potential issues with shoulder harnesses sliding off like the HANS Sport II Device.
- HANS Device Pro Ultra: The HANS Device Pro Ultra features lightweight construction of the Carbon Fiber Pro series combined with the shape of the HANS Device Sport II. The HANS Device Pro Ultra is extremely lightweight and allows for easy entry and exit from the race car, even smaller tighter vehicles. The hollow core 100% carbon fiber construction features a hollow core for increased weight reduction without sacrificing strength. The sliding tethers offer exceptional head movement for great viisibility. The HANS Device Pro Ultra is available with post anchor or quick click helmet anchors and can be ordered with SFI or FIA Certifications (or both). This device is also available in an even lighter weight version called the HANS Device Pro Ultra Lite that weighs in at 100+ Grams less. The HANS Device Pro Ultra is an outstanding choice for the professional racer, especially in classes where every gram of weight is critical. While providing the lightest possible solution in the HANS Device lineup, the HANS Device Pro Ultra also shares many of the trademark HANS Device design characteristics that cause some concern with some drivers including the pressure on the collarbone, lack of side impact protection, potential issues with shoulder harnesses sliding off like the HANS Sport II Device.
The Simpson Hybrid Series is currently available in several configurations including:
- Simpson Hybrid Sport: The Simpson Hybrid Sport Head and Neck Restraint is latest evolution of the Simpson Hybrid Series and replaces the Simpson Hybrid Pro Rage. The Simpson Hybrid Sport weighs in at 20% less than the Hybrid Pro Rage and features DuPont carbon/polymer construction. The Simpson Hybrid Sport design is more sleek and modern and has more defined “wings” for improved shoulder harness retention. It features a sliding tether multi-tether system that enhances side to side range of movement and improves field of vision. The Simpson Hybrid Sport comes with standard Quick Release Tethers and D-Ring Kit. Optional Dual End tethers and M6 Anchors or Post Clip Tethers & Post Anchors are also available. The Hybrid Sport is available with SFI 38.1 or FIA certification (or both). The Simpson Hybrid Sport is an excellent choice for all racers in all forms of motorsport.The Simpson Hybrid Sport provides outstanding frontal and side impact protection. Simpson offers an optional “SAS” Seat Anchoring System that the company encourages for use with Sprint Cars and other classes where it offers even more stability in flips and barrel roll accidents. Some drivers are a bit skeptical of the “strap-on” design of the Simpson Hybrid Sport device, while others prefer it since they literally can put it on once and leave it on all day. It is very popular with young racers who commonly have comfort issues with the typical “horseshoe” shaped devices. The Simpson Hybrid Pro has also become extremely popular open wheel, off road and drag racers alike. Due the low profile design, the Simpson Hybrid Sport it provides easy entry and exit in all types of race cars and works equally well in all seat layback configurations.
- Simpson Hybrid Pro Lite: Simpson's Hybrid Pro Lite is a lighter version of our famous SFI approved head restraint. Manufactured of high quality carbon fiber in the USA, it was developed through extensive testing for unbeatable angular protection. It shares all of the aforementioned features and benefits of the Simpson Hybrid Sport at a significantly higher retail price. The Simpson Hybrid Pro Slide is an excellent choice for professional racers in all forms of motorsport where a lightweight head and neck restraint solution is critical.
- Simpson Hybrid Pro: The Simpson Hybrid and Hybrid Pro Device carry the SFI 38.1 Certification and are the only Hybrid Series devices approved for use in NASCAR competition. The Hybrid Pro head and neck restraint shares all of the main features and benefits of the other Hybrid products, but currently is marketed exclusively to NASCAR competitors.
- Simpson Hybrid X: The Simpson Hybrid X package is designed for drag racing's extreme speeds and includes the Hybrid Pro Slide Head and Neck Restraint, specially fitted with the Double Chin Strap "W" style and sem-rigid Neck Collar constructed of SFI 45.2 approved padding. The package provides extreme protection featuring six tethers connecting to four points on the helmet.
- Simpson R3 DeviceThe Simpson R3 is the only SFI 38. 1 certified device that is totally independent of the seat belts. Engineered to disappear, the R3 is one of the most comfortable devices on the market! Combined with a simple installation of a u-shaped seat pad, the R3 disappears into the seat back, making the R3 undetectable to the wearer.
- The R3 out performs yoke style devices in all impacts. The low top allows for easier exit. Can be used with all seatbelts (including 3 point) and is the only SFI restraint that can be used without Seatbelts! The Simpson R3 Head and Neck Restraint is available in a youth size that is extremely popular in quarter midget kart racing.
- Due to its unique design and back support, the Simpson R3 has not gained much popularity in circle track racing, but has found a home in many drag racing cockpits. It lacks the comfort of the more minimal design of the Simpson Hybrid Series but remains a great solution in certain segments of motorsports.
NecksGen continues to lead in the advancement of neck protection and bring to the racing community the next generation of head and neck restraints. The NecksGen REV model takes comfort, fitment and helmet clearance to a new level. With simplicity and ergonomics leading the design flow, the new REV design has no need for a frontal yoke. With no yoke, there is no frontal interference with the helmet and no chance of the device causing any injury to the chest or collar bone. The backbone of the product is the patent pending Tension Neutralizing Tether (TNT). This proprietary design allows for maximum range of head motion with superior frontal and side impact protection. The low profile design encapsulates the sliding TNT tether and allows for minimal rear interference with the helmet and the device.
NecksGen is available in the following configurations:
- NecksGen REV: The NecksGen REV head and neck restraint is the smallest device on the market today. NecksGen REV is available in three sizes: large, medium and small to cover a full range of drivers. NecksGen REV uses the same quick release helmet attachment system that has been used on previous NecksGen models. The NecksGen REV surpassed the company’s expectations in SFI 38.1 testing, Many racers feel that is the NecksGen REV is the safest, smallest and most comfortable neck brace on the market today it is another great alternative to the Hans Device. The NecksGen REV is made from a carbon composite material and is extremely popular in all forms of racing, especially with youth racers who prefer the smaller size device. The NecksGen REV offers outstanding front and side impact protection. The NecksGen REV is an excellent choice for racers in most forms of motorsports. Some racers report that it may be somewhat difficult to locate their shoulder harnesses on the NecksGen REV due to its small form factor.
Leatt pioneered many leading neck brace designs that are preferred in the for the motocross and ATV powersports, karting, BMX, snowmobile and other forms of racing. Backed by scientific research and the collaboration with highly esteemed players in the safety field, all Leatt products benefit from the continuous efforts by Dr. Leatt and his team of designers and biomedical engineers at the Leatt Lab in Cape Town, South Africa, home of Leatt’s research & development.
- Leatt MRX: **(Leatt is currently unavaliable as it is under going a redesign)** The Leatt MRX head and neck restraint system addresses the comfort issue that is a concern especially with drivers of off road trucks, buggies, UTVs and off road rally drivers in particular, had comfort issues that, for some, could be almost unbearable. The Leatt MRX design incorporates a a flexible chassis, thick fire retardant Nomex padding, and collarbone cut outs to molds itself better to more body shapes. The flexibility of the device also results in optimal head control, bringing the head and tether angle to an ideal orientation for maximum energy uptake that also results in decreased neck forces during the entire crash sequence. The Leatt MRX is SFI 38.1 tested and certified for optimum protection at over 70G. It is lightweight weighing in at about 900g. The Leatt MRX features a single collar angle design that allows perfect fit and function with all seat angles. It fits all types of 2” and 3” harnesses. The tether hardware is easy to attach and remove from the helmet, but some racers complain that there is not currently a quick release anchor / tether available for the unit.
- Impact Accel: New for 2015, the Impact Accel offers unparalleled comfort combined with the ultimate in frontal and angular impact protection. Affordably priced and adjustable, the Impact Accel is your go-to safety device regardless of seat angle or complement of motorsports. Constructed from lightweight yet durable DuPont carbon composite material, the Accel can withstand the rigors of nightly racing whether you compete in drag, circle track or off-road.
Which Head and Neck Restraint is the best choice for me?
At Pit Stop USA, we are experts in Head and Neck Restraint products. It is our commitment to assist you by offering you the best auto racing safety products and technology and backing it up with expert advise to help you to make the right decision for your type of racing. We don't believe that there is one single head and neck restraint product that is perfect for everyone. Give us a call and we will help you determine which product is right for you!