This week’s installment of Race Gear will be a little different. Rather than highlighting a single piece of gear, Competition Motorsport is going to explain the new standard from the FIA, particularly homologation standard 8856-2018, which is the reason so many racing suits, gloves and shoes are new for 2020.

The new standards addresses three categories:

Fabric Burn-Through

The biggest improvement in the new FIA standard is one more second of burn-through protection in suit fabric while stretched. The result is better protection for your back, elbows, knees and hips while in the driving position. Every second is critical in an emergency on track.

Hand Protection

FIA requires longer glove gauntlets. These offer better protection of your hands, wrists and forearms. It’s worth mentioning that many of the gloves Competition Motorsport carries already had a long enough gauntlet and will be unchanged in that area.

Higher Ankles

FIA added higher ankle protection on racing shoes. That’s why top-end shoes now have a high ankle or built-in sock design. You still have to wear Nomex socks, which are now required to be knee-length.

How It Affects You

From a style perspective, you probably won’t notice a lot of difference. Same goes for comfort. The premium brands Competition Motorsport carries worked hard to meet the new FIA standard while maintaining great styling, ergonomics and breathability.

If you’re buying 8856-2018 racing shoes, you’ll see the difference in ankle protection right away. But the overall fit, finish and function of your favorite shoes will remain the same as ever. The key takeaway is you’ll be better protected in the event you need it.

New Expiration Dates

The last addition to the new FIA standard is that new gear has an expiry date 10 years from the year of manufacture. This is a big step in the right direction, though for safety’s sake we recommend updating your gear more frequently than that.

Most drivers don’t realize their Nomex suits are a wear-and-tear item. Many manufacturers recommend replacing your fire suit after every 20 events. If you’re racing six to eight times a year, you should replace your suit every two or three years to maintain its fire protection.

Dirt, sweat and sun exposure put additional wear on your suit, further reducing its effectiveness.

You ask a lot from your fire suit over its lifetime, especially if you ever need it for what it’s designed for.

Closing Thoughts

We all accept the risks of being on a racetrack pursuing our motorsport dreams. It’s what we love to do! At Competition Motorsport, our goal is helping you minimize those risks.

Being part of the motorsports community providing safety gear to racers and track-day enthusiasts, we know there’s a risk we’ll see bad things happen to good people. We do everything we can to guide customers in reducing risk with proper, higher quality safety equipment.

None of us wants to get into a situation that tests our gear. But when the worst happens, the last thing you want to ask yourself is, “Could I have reduced or prevented injuries with better gear?”

That’s why we give you accurate, actionable information on the products we carry. It’s our responsibility to help educate our customers on how the products we sell will keep us all safe on the race track.

That’s the reason we will only carry premier brands at Now and forever, we believe you’re worth protecting.

Image courtesy of Competition Motorsport

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