Seat belts were invented in the mid-19th century, but it was not until the early 20th century that they were widely used and then it was in airplanes. Although there was ample evidence of motor vehicle accident fatalities caused by occupants being thrown about inside the cabin or ejected from the vehicle, for decades automakers were reluctant to install seat belts. They were first offered as optional equipment in the 1950s, and became mandatory in the 1960s.
Even in motor racing, the use of seat belts was controversial. The prevailing wisdom among some drivers in the early days of racing was that it was better to be able to jump out of the car before a crash, and because fire is an ever-present danger in racing, drivers were afraid that seat belts would trap them in the car. Eventually attitudes began to change and the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) made seat belt use a requirement for drivers in 1954.
5-point harnesses add a belt between the legs to prevent the driver from “submarining” out from under the lap belt in a crash. 6-point harnesses include an additional belt at the same location, with the belts wrapped around the legs. 8-point harnesses have an additional belt over each shoulder. On most harnesses, all belts are connected to a single, quick-release latch that allows fast egress from the cockpit. Some harnesses are designed to be used with head and neck restraints like the HANS device, and many harnesses are available with a choice of belt width, adjustment style, latch type, method of attachment, and color.
No matter whether you’re a weekend enthusiast or a professional racer, we offer racing harnesses for every type of competition that are SFI rated, FIA approved, and meet sanctioning body regulations. In addition to harnesses, we also have a large selection of harness pads in various sizes and belt matching colors, to ensure your comfort, and harness mounting hardware including bolt kits, plates, and snap hook fittings. You’ll also find heavy-duty SFI rated and non-rated window nets with polypropylene webbing in a range of sizes and colors, window net mounting kits, and adjustable roll cage nets for a variety of applications.
The first mandated passenger car seat belts were lap belts. In the 1970s 3-point lap and shoulder belts became a requirement. Today 3-point belts are designed to keep your body in the proper position for air bag deployment in the event of a crash. In contrast to passenger car seat belts, racing harnesses have no slack in the shoulder belts, and typically have multiple attachment points to restrain and protect the driver in a high-speed crash. Although there are 3-point harnesses with a belt routed over each shoulder but with one attachment point, 4-point harnesses, with a lap belt and two shoulder belts are more common.