Your Guide to Choosing a Helmet

demon tweeks racing driver

There is a wide variety of helmets for sale here at Demon Tweeks and it can be very confusing as to which helmet is suitable for the type of racing that you are doing.

The first thing to bear in mind when selecting a new helmet is which type of event you are going to be doing. As is the case in motorsport, there are a lot of regulations that need to be adhered to and helmets are no exception.

Rallying, Saloon or single seater circuit racing, Karting or track days all have differing helmet requirements, so let’s look at each discipline individually and highlight the key points to look out for when selecting your helmet, including which standards you require.

Choosing a Rally Helmet

First of all, when looking at Rallying you will most likely be looking to have a helmet which has intercom capabilities. Before selecting which helmet to buy, you need to know what type of intercom you have in the car, as each intercom manufacturer tends to use a particular type of connecting plug.

Typically, the options include; Nexus style plugs which are found on Peltor, top end Sparco and OMP intercoms, Stilo plugs which are unique to Stilo intercom systems and Terratrip style plugs which feature on Terratrip intercoms and the entry level Sparco system.

Once you have established what type of intercom your car has fitted, or which you are intending to fit, you then need to make sure that this will be compatible with the particular helmet that you are looking to buy.

Sparco and Bell Helmets feature the Nexus style plugs while Stilo and Simpson use the Stilo type plug. The only exception being the Stilo Trophy Des Rally Helmet which has its own unique connector which is only compatible with the Stilo Trophy Intercom.

Once you have established which type of intercom system you are running, you can then look at whether you would prefer a full or an open face helmet.

Most rally competitors tend to prefer an open face helmet because of the better overall visibility and spatial awareness, but you can use either depending on which you feel more comfortable with.

Helmet standards to look for:  

  Event Type
Motorsport UK National FIA Regulations
Homologation Projected Expiry Date Single Venue Stage Rally International F1, F2, F3, FE
Snell SA2010 31/12/23  
Snell SAH2010 31/12/23  
Snell SA2015 31/12/23  
FIA 8859-2015 ✓ *  
FIA 8860-2010  
FIA 8860-2018  
FIA 8860-2018 ABP
*Selected events

Choosing a Circuit Racing Helmet

If you are circuit racing in either single seaters or saloon cars the type of helmet that you need to be looking for is more of a straightforward choice.

Let’s focus on single seaters first. Every driver who is planning to race a single seater must wear a full-face helmet. There is one exception to this rule though in the form of historic single seaters, where it is possible to wear an open face helmet with goggles, as it was in period. In this case it is best to clarify with your series organiser.

For all other, non-historic, single seater championships a full face helmet is required and it is recommended to wear a helmet which has a narrow aperture, the height of the visor, as to limit the possible impact of debris to the visor area.

demon tweeks racing driver in the cockpit

For the very highest levels of single seater competition, the FIA has introduced a new standard of helmet with advanced ballistics protection (ABP). These helmets have a reduced visor aperture which is 10mm shallower than standard helmets and features a reinforced panel just above the visor to protect from the hazards of flying debris striking the helmet.

Although this is only a requirement for the links of Formula 1, Formula 2 etc, it is not exclusively restricted to those championships. Anyone driving a single seater is able to wear one of these helmets.

In saloon, or closed roof, circuit racing the choice of helmet type is less constrained, meaning that the driver can wear either a full face or an open face helmet depending on personal preferences and fit.

Many drivers prefer to use a full face helmet but with a peak rather than a visor, this provides the extra protection of a full face helmet but without being as closed in as with the visor fitted.

It’s worth mentioning at this point is that certain championships prohibit the use of car-to-pit communication. This is important because some helmets are supplied with communication equipment pre-fitted. This will not be allowed and may cause you to not pass scrutineering.   

Helmet standards to look for:

  Event Type
Motorsport UK National FIA Regulations
Homologation Projected Expiry Date Club Racing International F1, F2, F3, FE
Snell SA2010 31/12/23  
Snell SAH2010 31/12/23  
Snell SA2015 31/12/23  
FIA 8859-2015 ✓ *  
FIA 8860-2010  
FIA 8860-2018  
FIA 8860-2018 ABP

What you will need to be aware of is that many UK club racing championships now feature rounds at overseas venues such as Spa Francorchamps or the Nurburgring. If your chosen championship features one of these events, you will need to ensure that your helmet has the relevant FIA approval, or you will find that you will not pass scrutineering.

Choosing a Karting Helmet

The helmet regulations for Karting are dependent on the age of the driver. If you are under 16 years of age, you must wear a CMR approved helmet. This is due to the CMR homologated helmets being lighter in weight and, as such, exert less force on the neck. This is a requirement as younger driver’s necks are not as strong as an adults’ neck.

If you are 16 and over, there are non-CMR approved karting helmets which are suitable for use in all Motorsport UK karting. It is also possible to wear a Snell or FIA approved motorsport helmet.    

Miles Murphy driving a Go Kart

Helmet standards to look for:

  Event Type
Homologation Projected Expiry Date Required for Drivers Under 15 Karting Including Super 1 Karting & Car Racing
Snell FIA CMR2007  
Snell FIA CMS2007  
Snell FIA CMR2016  
Snell K2010 31/12/23    
Snell K2015    
Snell SA2010 31/12/23  
Snell SA2015 31/12/23  
FIA 8859-2015  


Other Styles of Motorsport Helmets

Of course, there are other forms of motorsport which do
not really fit into the above categories. For disciplines such as Sprints, Hill
Climbs, Drag racing, Cross Country, Trials etc, it is always wise to consult
with the championship organisers to ensure that you are buying the correct type
of helmet.

However, as a general rule, if you look to buy a helmet
that is fit for circuit racing and carries the Snell and/or FIA approvals, you
will not only have a helmet which is fireproof but also of a high standard of

The same rule applies if you are looking at doing track
days. As there is not a specific helmet standard listed, it is down to the
discretion of the track day organiser, so always check before you book.

If you are still unsure about anything mentioned
in this guide, please get in touch with our sales team who will be happy to answer
your questions and make recommendations.

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