Why You Need Personal Fireproof Underwear When Racing

Over the years, racing has become safer with the advancement in racewear and vehicle technology, but motorsport is inherently dangerous as you’re flying around a circuit as fast as you can! Constantly striving to make the sport safer, the FIA now require drivers to wear fireproof personal underwear. Continue reading to see if you are affected.

Every driver knows the risk when taking part, even with how safe modern racewear and cars are there’s still dangers. Accidents can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. As a result, the governing bodies of various racing series have implemented strict safety regulations to ensure the well-being of drivers. 

One such regulation which made headlines in 2022 is the requirement for drivers to wear fireproof undergarments, including boxer shorts, bras, and knickers, that meet the FIA 8856-2018 standard. We all remember Sebastian Vettel going around with his boxers on the outside of his race suit in 2022…

Fireproof underwear

Why has this regulation come in?

The FIA is the governing body of world motorsport. It is responsible for setting the safety standards for all motorsport events, including the clothing worn by drivers. The FIA 8856-2018 standard is the latest iteration of the FIA’s regulations for fireproof clothing, and it is designed to provide the highest level of protection for drivers in the event of a fire, we have covered the regulation in depth on our blog. So this means no more CK’s or lucky underwear is allowed, to the dismay of Nicolas Latifi, who had to give up wearing his lucky underwear in his 2022 season of F1.

Are they really needed?

The reason that fireproof undergarments from the likes of OMP and Sparco are necessary is because of the high-risk nature of motorsport. In a crash, a car can catch fire, and the intense heat can quickly spread to the driver’s clothing. This is where fireproof underwear comes in, as they are designed to provide a barrier between the driver’s skin and the flames. Without them, the driver’s skin could be exposed to temperatures of over 1000 degrees Celsius, which can result in severe burns and other injuries.

Fireproof underwear boxer shorts
Fireproof underwear boxers

The FIA 8856-2018 standard sets out a number of requirements that fireproof undergarments must meet. These include the use of advanced materials that provide high levels of heat resistance, as well as the ability to wick away moisture to keep the driver cool and comfortable during the race. The standard also specifies that the undergarments must be tested to ensure that they meet the necessary safety requirements, including flame resistance and durability.

Fireproof underwear knickers
Fireproof underwear bra

Do I need fireproof underwear for my racing?

Many racing series have already implemented the FIA 8856-2018 standard for fireproof underwear, including Formula 1, the World Endurance Championship, and the FIA World Rally Championship. For the 2023 season and beyond, even more series are expected to adopt the standard, as the FIA continues to prioritize driver safety. Over the coming years this will filter down to lower classes of racing. Check with your event organiser but to comply with many FIA sanctioned events these undergarments must be worn in conjunction with FIA approved long johns.

In conclusion, the use of fireproof boxer shorts, bras, and knickers that meet the FIA 8856-2018 standard is now a crucial safety requirement for racing drivers in many series around the world. The high-risk nature of motorsport means that drivers need to be protected from the risk of fire, and these undergarments provide an essential layer of protection that can make all the difference in the event of an accident. Although we don’t envy the people who have to be checking the drivers are wearing the correct underwear before their next race!

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