You might have heard of it and seen it on new racewear and wondered what it is and why the regulation was brought in, well we are here to answer those very questions. Such as – ‘What is the FIA 8856-2018 regulation?’ ‘Do I need to upgrade my racewear now?’ and ‘What disciplines of motorsport require 8856-2018 regulated racewear?’ Keep reading for everything you need to know about it and how it could affect you!
The FIA 8856-2018 regulation is a 50 page set of safety standards established by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) which racewear manufacturers must follow to ensure that motorsport participants are protected in the event of an accident. The regulation was released in 2018 and applies to all fire retardant clothing, including suits, underwear (and now boxers, bras and knickers), boots and gloves. It is an update to the previous FIA 8856-2000 regulation.
Worth noting that manufacturers started creating garments to this standard in 2021 because they were told that by January 1st 2022 all FIA tagged apparel had to meet the new safety standard and that by 2029 the previous 8856-2000 homologation will become obsolete.
Depending on the type of racing you’re getting involved in will dictate what type of racewear you need, so don’t rush out and buy the latest 8856-2018 racewear just yet as you might not need it.
Construction and design
Firstly, the FIA 8856-2018 regulation sets out new requirements for the design and construction of racing suits worn by drivers. These requirements cover a wide range of aspects such as the materials used in the construction of the suits, their design, the way they fit, and the level of protection they offer. For example, the suits must be made from materials that are fire-resistant and provide excellent thermal protection.
For suits specifically, the new regulation stipulates an increase in the drivers heat transmission (HTI) by 20%. They must also be designed in such a way that they fit the driver’s body comfortably.
Gloves and Boots
Secondly, the FIA 8856-2018 regulation also sets out new requirements for how racing gloves and boots are made. These requirements are similar to those for the suits and cover areas such as materials, design, and the fit. The gloves and shoes must be made from fire-resistant materials and be designed to fit the driver’s hands and feet perfectly. Within this new regulation, gloves are now being designed to have a much tighter fit around the wrist with a longer sleeve and the interior of the glove must be covered with a layer of Nomex fire retardant material. For boots, they have been updated to now have a 11 second HTI and the ankle support has to be higher in order to protect more skin.
Underwear, socks & balaclavas
Thirdly, and this applies to underwear and socks specifically 8856-2018 highlights that underwear, socks and balaclavas now have a minimum of 5 seconds HTI. It was previously 3 seconds, plus socks have to be knee length and the balaclava now covers much more area around the drivers neck which allows for much more coverage against fire.
Fourthly, the regulation also introduces new testing procedures that must be carried out on the various components of a driver’s safety equipment. These tests are designed to simulate the conditions that a driver might experience during a race and ensure that the equipment will provide adequate protection in the event of an accident.
Labelling & certification
Lastly, the FIA 8856-2018 regulation also introduces new requirements for the labelling and certification of safety equipment. All equipment must be clearly labelled with the relevant certification, which indicates that it has been tested and meets the required standards. These label identifiers are now situated in obvious to see locations, such as the back of the neck on a race suit. This not only helps you to know what is what but allows sanctioning officials to see the homologation of the item. These have changed from silver to gold holograms and are situated alongside the 8856-2018 tag.
FIA 8856-2018 FAQ
What disciplines of motorsport require 8856-2018 regulated racewear?
It depends what type of motorsport you are getting involved in. Flagship disciplines such as F1, the WEC and WRC are already using these homologated items but the requirement to have racewear which meets 8856-2018 is filtering down to lower levels. Check with your event organiser whether you need to adhere to this before you get to the track as you wont be allowed on if you don’t!
Do I need to upgrade my racewear now?
It depends what type of motorsport you are getting involved in. You can still use 8856-2000 racewear in UK events, but as mentioned this requirement is filtering down so best to check with your event organiser first.
How long will 8856-2018 regulated racewear last?
8856-2018 race suits now come with a 10 year life, but that is only for FIA sanctioned events, in the UK there is no expiry date as yet. Previously manufacturers did not have to show the expiry date but only the date of creation. This has now changed under this regulation as old suits do not protect against fire to the same level as new suits. Boots and gloves do not have an expiry date under this regulation.
Is my SFI 3.2A certified apparel still usable?
Yes! Under this new regulation SFI 3.2A certified apparel is not affected and can still be used in any event which is not FIA sanctioned.
If you have any more questions about the FIA 8856-2018 regulation, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Overall, the FIA 8856-2018 regulation is a significant step forward in the world of motorsports safety. It ensures that all participants are protected to the highest possible standards and that the equipment they use is tested rigorously to ensure its effectiveness. It is a testament to the FIA’s commitment to the safety of its drivers, and it will undoubtedly help to reduce the number of accidents and injuries in the world of motorsports.
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