January 8, 2023

3 Reasons Motorsport Drivers Wear Balaclavas

Ever wondered what race drivers wear on their heads? Well – you’d hope – a helmet.  But do they wear anything underneath that vital piece of equipment that protects their brain?  The short answer – is yes!

What are Racing Balaclavas?

Also known as a head sock, racing balaclavas are essential when it comes to keeping drivers safe and comfortable.  Worn under the driver’s helmet, racing balaclavas are multipurpose and the same fireproof single layer can be used across motorsport, karting and motorcycle racing.

Here are the top 3 reasons race drivers wear FIA-approved head socks:

#1 Protection from Fire

Fire is perhaps a racing driver’s biggest worry.  A recipe for fire risk: speed, fuel and hot engine parts.  Racing drivers wear specially designed and manufactured race base layers beneath their suits when racing, which is referred to as underwear or Nomex.

Traditionally long-sleeved tops, leggings and of course balaclavas. Fireproof material protects the racer’s head and neck from fire. Nomex promises in the face of dangerous conditions unparalleled heat and flame resistance.

#2 Cooling for Ultimate Performance

We all know that to perform to our absolute best we need to be comfortable.  The same applies to race drivers.  Combine multiple layers – often thick racing suits, heavy helmets and a warm car and engine – it’s a recipe for a lot of body heat which of course leads to perspiration.

That’s where well-designed race underwear plays a massive part in a driver’s success – and balaclavas are no exception. This feels like the perfect time to shout about our own race underwear – here at Walero we use NASA Developed technology, Outlast®, to actively regulate your body’s core temperature and skin microclimate. This can reduce heart rate by up to 8% and perspiration rates by up to 40%. As a result, the body is put under less strain. This allows the wearer to perform better, for longer and also reduces the effects of heat stress and fatigue.

#3 Helmet Comfort

There are two styles of balaclava, the more protective design which protects every part of the head other than the eye-hole, and the more open-face head sock. A well-made balaclava will be tailored to fit underneath a helmet and against the head and neck ensuring much more comfort than without one. Drivers will opt for flat-lock seams and super-soft fabrics to ensure maximum ease of movement with their helmets on.

Often underestimated – we hope that this helps to shed a bit of light on the importance of race balaclavas to drivers! This essential piece of racing kit is certainly not a facemask but fireproof essential race underwear.

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