When the heat is on

Improving race suits one stitch at a time

Motor racing is a well-loved and much followed sport around the world. From the Formula 1, to rally cross and Formula E to NASCAR, millions of fans follow their heroes as they strive for speed and glory.

However, driving a racecar is a dangerous pursuit, with drivers at times reaching speeds in excess of 300 km/h. Therefore, safety is of the utmost importance. That’s where Coats comes in with our ability to combine technical threads with comfort and performance.

A racecar driver’s attire has evolved significantly since the very first races in the 19th century.

In NASCAR, the early focus was very much on comfort; the very first racing overalls were cotton shirts and trousers in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by shorts or jeans with a t-shirt the in the 1950s and early 1960s. It took the death of a famous racecar driver, Fireball Roberts as well as deaths at the famous Indy500 event, to herald the introduction of the first fire-resistant suits. NASCAR authorities decreed that all drivers must wear flame resistant coveralls while on the track.

Formula 1 soon followed suit, and all F1 racers’ uniforms and coveralls were required to be fire resistant. Today, these suits are so technologically advanced that they can protect someone up to 11 seconds after flames erupt.

This level of safety goes beyond just professional racecar drivers. Now mandated by both NASCAR and F1 racing, pit crews, rescue teams and track officials who work near potential flash fires are required to don protective fire resistant clothing, including a uniform, undergarments, shoes and gloves. While the fabric covers the larger portion of a person’s body, the thread is critical in holding the garment together to attain the highest level of safety. Seam failure can compromise the garment, providing a route for heat and flames to come in contact with the wearer.

As long as racing as a sport continues so will the need for safety. Coats Firefly is here to help. This fire-retardant sewing thread is made from 100% spun meta-aramid fibre, offering outstanding resistance against heat up to flame temperatures of 371°C.