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What you need to know about helmets


What are helmet ratings and what is required for our events?


Helmets are rated by the Snell Memorial Foundation.   As of the start of the 2022 season, we will only accept helmets with Snell ratings of SA-2015, M-2015, SA-2020 or M-2020. The numbers indicate the year that the standards were adopted. It is always preferable to use a helmet that complies with the latest available standard.


The “SA” designation (for Special Application) indicates that the helmet was designed specifically for automotive use. SA rated helmets are tested for multiple impacts, have a greater area of protection, and offer fire-retardant liners (usually Nomex). This gives you maximum protection should the worst happen. M rated helmets (for Motorcycle) might look grossly similar, but there are three important differences. First, these helmets are designed to withstand a single, large impact rather than multiple, smaller impacts like SA rated ones.  Second, they are tested over a smaller area, so they do not offer as much coverage. Third, they do not have fire-retardant linings.


If you do not have a helmet yet, your best bet is to purchase one rated SA-2020. This is the most current standard. Helmets rated SA-2015 are already dated will be disallowed when the Snell 2025 standard is issued. Many organizations hosting driving events and all race sanctioning bodies require SA rated helmets, so your M rated model will not always serve your purposes.  As long as you are making the investment, you might as well go for the SA-2020 once and for all.


For more information on Snell ratings, see The Snell Memorial Foundation.  As for helmet style, we will accept both open face and closed face helmets (with or without visors). Closed face models offer better protection, but some drivers feel claustrophobic in them. In that case, open face might be an option. If you can tolerate it, closed face helmets are preferable. Not only are they safer, but you can use them for karting and other motorsports that outlaw open face models.

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