Race Harness Guide: Safety on Track

A race harness wraps around your core to protect your upper body in the case of a crash or high speed. The wide, firm straps distribute the force of the crash across your shoulders, chest, and hips, keeping it from concentrating in one area. A race seat with the proper holes and a headrest should be used in combination with a harness, nevertheless, to ensure proper support. A racing seat harness alone is not a sufficient safety precaution. A bar or roll cage within the vehicle is another place where the harness needs to be firmly secured.

It is important to consider the importance of choosing the right harness for your car. Harnesses range in price from approximately $100 to over $700. This guide aims to provide you with a clear understanding of the race harness market and help you find the best racing harness that will not blow your budget. In addition to clearing up any misunderstandings regarding laws and regulations, we are going to examine the important aspects to take into account while selecting a race harness.

Choosing a racing harness

Whatever name you give them, race car seat belts, race harnesses, or safety belts are an essential part of your protective equipment. Belts must be replaced on a regular basis or whenever laws and regulations are modified. Initially, become familiar with the regulations, understand the SFI and FIA ratings, choose the necessary functions, and then choose a manufacturer.

5 Point, 6 Point, 7 Point Racing Harness Type

The number of attachments to the chassis of a car is indicated by the number of points. The most popular kind in road racing are six point harnesses. Five-point harnesses consist of one crotch belt, two shoulder belts, and two lap or hip belts. Two shoulder belts, two crotch belts, and two lap or hip belts are included in six-point harnesses. Point-style harnesses are available in 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7-point configurations, but the majority of drivers will prefer a 5 or 6-point racing harness for maximum protection.

  • A 4-point harness is made up of two shoulder straps and two lap straps that meet and connect at a central hub.
  • A 5-point harness has two lap belts, two shoulder belts, and one belt that extends from the groin area to form a Y pattern with the other four belts.
  • The 6-point harness features two lap belts, two shoulder belts, and two sub-belts.

Safety Ratings for SFI and FIA

Two organizations are in charge of racing harnesses: SFI Foundation, Inc. and FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile). Both put racing harnesses to thorough testing to make sure they withstand conditions far greater than those found in actual racing. What differentiates them are their application and comfort.

  • The FIA is committed to ensuring worldwide motorsport safety standards and conducts thorough testing on all new equipment.
  • SFI administers similar tests, but their focus may be more limited to specific racing categories. Several well-known oval racing organizations, including NASCAR, ARCA, and NHRA, abide by the regulations established by the American non-profit organization Speed Foundation, Inc. SFI certifications are widely respected, and the sanctioning bodies individually maintain strict quality standards. Racing harnesses can have certification from one or both of these organizations.
  • The primary difference between FIA and SFI harnesses with SFI and FIA ratings is the materials utilized and how long they last. Polyester is used to make FIA harnesses, while nylon (polyamide) is used to make SFI harnesses. FIA belts are more durable because polyester harnesses can withstand exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation better.
  • Every certified racing harness has an expiration date on the label. While SFI-certified belts expire after two years, FIA harnesses often last five years. Examine the harness frequently for any wear or damage that could need to be replaced before the expiration date, such as rusting or cracks at the seat anchors, deep scratches or fraying in the fabric, and a lack of elasticity or delay in releasing the latch.
  • Each belt has a tag on it that indicates which certification it is SFI or FIA. The SFI standard is 16.5, and the FIA requirement is 8853/16.

Latch Links or Cam Locks Racing Harness Type

There are two common locking mechanisms Latch Link and Cam-Lock. Latch link belts tend to be cheaper than Cam-Lock harnesses. Both latch-and-link and cam lock racing harnesses lock all straps and belts together in a central spot, but there are subtle differences between them.

  • In racing, latch-and-link harnesses are common. They have separate belts with metal loops that attach to a hub in the middle. Everything is secured by a latch on the left shoulder belt. Latch links have a clip-in latch that prevents dirt accumulation, which makes them perfect for off-road racing. Even though they seem complicated at first, they become easy to use with practice.
  • Cam lock harnesses have tongue-style latches on the shoulder, lap, and sub belts that connect to a central hub, similar to a car seat belt. All belts are released simultaneously when a lever is pulled or twisted to release them. However, they don't have a red button like car buckles do and instead release using a revolving pivot.

Racing Harness Type with Different Belt Adjustments

Three adjustment options—pull-up, pull-down, and ratchet—are available on racing harnesses to tighten the straps for a perfect fit.

  • Pull-up harness: It is simpler to put on a pull-up belt if a crew member assists you. When a driver changes in an endurance race (long-distance races that measure a participant's stamina, mental toughness, and endurance), pull-up harnesses are frequently employed. A crew member or the driver who is leaving the race helps strap in the new driver. In a race car, where space is limited, this is the style that drivers can adapt to the most easily.
  • Pull-down harness: It is simpler to pull down if you are securely fastened inside the vehicle. Club racers with little or no support crew are the ones who select pull-down belts. These are easier to change if you have a car with more space for movement or if someone from the pit crew is belting you in.
  • Ratchet harness: It can be tightened by turning a mechanism on the left lap belt. Ratchets have a greater pulling force than tabs, but they need a lot of room to move on the left side of the seat. The additional belt adjustments are found on each harness and are used to tighten down after sitting. You ought to examine the adjustment mechanisms and their modes of release. Small straps seen on more recent versions can be helpful in loosening or undoing the belts.

Varieties of Fasteners

Here are the numerous methods for fastening the harnesses to the vehicle's frame or chassis.

  • Bolt-In harness is firmly fitted into the chassis thanks to premium fasteners that attach it directly.
  • Clip-In harness attaches to eye bolts that are fixed to the chassis, and it contains extra safety features like wire or pins to keep it from coming loose.
  • Ladder Bars offer a specific location for the harness belts to be looped through, providing the correct installation.
  • Roll Cage Wrap, specifically made for harness mounting points, can be wrapped around bars in a roll cage.

Race Harness Widths

The use of head and neck restraints is the most significant modification to racing harnesses. 2" and 3" belt widths are the typical options. The width that works best for you depends on your car, size, and restraint system. Check the track/series rules at all times for size requirements.

  • In a smaller car, such as a midget, junior sprint, or cage car, choose a narrow 2-inch racing belt. 3-inch belts work better on race vehicles and customized automobiles.
  • Choose a 2-inch belt width if you are using a HANS device; most HANS systems won't be able to accommodate 3-inch shoulder belts.
  • 3-inch lap belts provide extra support for bigger drivers, but they are bulkier. On the other hand, 2-inch belts are more manageable, lighter, and best suited for tiny drivers. Manufacturers now use stronger, more form-fitting 2-inch webbing instead of using 3-inch webbing for harness. Research indicates that this improvement is more compatible with the pelvic bone.

Manufacturer-Selected Options

After navigating the regulations, requirements, and features, it is time to select a reliable, superior racing harness manufacturer. Budgeting is important, but safety ought not to be sacrificed. Avoid the products that seem really affordable; racing harnesses are not the place to minimize costs.

How is a racing harness installed?

Although you made the correct choice in racing harness, it was only the beginning. What matters more is that it be installed correctly. Bolt-in harnesses need reinforcement plates welded in order to be securely fastened to the chassis, whereas wrap-around harnesses attach to the harness bar. Follow the manufacturer's instructions or SFI/FIA regulations for a safe installation, regardless of the method used.

Belts for the Shoulders

Angles between 0 and -20 degrees below your shoulders are excellent when placing shoulder belts on a roll cage or harness bar. The belts ought to glide through the openings at the rear of your seat without sticking. Hold them firmly in place to stop them from slipping along the bar. Keep the belts as short as possible between the front and the mounting points.

Belts for the Lap

Place the lap belt over your pelvis at an angle between 45 and 80 degrees to create a smooth surface. Ideally, the belts should be mounted on the seat sides for little slack and maximum comfort.

The Sub Belts

The process of installing a sub belt varies depending on if your harness is 6 or 5 pointed.

Five-Point Harness

  • Locate the location of the seat sub strap hole.
  • Position the single subbelt in the middle of the opening, angling it 20 degrees forward from the inside of the seat back.
  • The belt should never be fastened around the front of the seat. Use the designated pass-through at all times.

6-Point Harness

  • Use two anchors, 4-6 inches apart and 2-3 inches off-center (left and right).
  • Angle these sub straps backwards at -20 degrees into the sub-strap hole in your seat.


Finally, we must emphasize enough how important it is to keep your safety on track as the first priority at all times. You can choose a racing harness that best fits your car, discipline, needs (neck restraint, belt length, closure), and flexibility with the help of our comprehensive guide. At Westwood Racing Supplies, explore the options available to you. Check out our installation guide by visiting our website for help.