Best Racing Seats For 2021
If racing is in your future, you’re going to need proper seats. Or, if you’ve already been racing in your vehicle’s stock seats, you’re likely tired of sliding around or leaning in the opposite direction when you take fast corners. Racing seats, sometimes referred to as “bucket seats,” can be safer, more supportive and lighter weight than standard factory seats, and they’ll hold you in place much more securely. As you build track experience, you’ll probably also find yourself needing to install a racing harness to continue going faster, and racing seats are necessary to accommodate harnesses.
The seat is where the main area where the driver comes into contact with the car, so it’s possible to feel more of the car’s handling response through competition seats. Sitting fully upright with assistance from a racing seat’s higher leg and upper body supports will reduce the risk of miscalculating distances at speed and losing control. Finding the right race seat for the most comfortable fit allows you to focus on driving instead of discomforts. Below we present you with five of the best racing seat options for a variety of needs, on or off the track.
Best Overall: NRG Innovations Alcantara Bucket Racing Seat FRP-302BK-PRISMA
Why We Picked It:
NRG Innovations’ Alcantara racing bucket is backed by a durable fiberglass frame and covered with injection-molded foam and woven upholstery for form-fitting comfort. It is most highly recommended for a 4-point harness but will also accommodate 5 or 6-point or harnesses. This seat is also highly regarded by SIM racing enthusiasts who spend hours practicing in front of their screens.
Taller drivers report that this seat is a good fit at 36 inches high, 21 inches from front to back, and 24 inches wide at the shoulders. It is also built to accommodate your choice of side or bottom mount brackets for more versatility when mounting in your vehicle. Though this particular NRG seat is not certified by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the overall strength and fiberglass mold quality teamed with long-lasting supportive padding will give you the best product for the price point. It’s the perfect solution for club events, however, if your racing sanction requires an FIA-certified seat, don’t worry–we’ve included some further down on this list.
- Form-fitting support
- Durable fiberglass frame
- Accommodates side or bottom mount brackets
- Not FIA certified
- May not fit in some smaller cars
- Not the best 6-point harness solution
Best for Small Cars: Sparco Sprint Racing Bucket Seat
The Sparco Sprint racing seat fits in vehicles as small as the first-generation Mazda MX-5 Miata or MGB/GT while still leaving the stock door panels intact. The shoulder bolsters are made to fit in smaller cockpits. Being FIA certified makes it the perfect entry-level competition seat that balances safety, style and value in a small package. There are openings to accommodate 5 and 6-point harnesses, and the seats can be installed from the bottom or sides. A suspension bottom cushion provides the support needed for long track days and the non-slip fabric will hold you firmly in place.
Although this seat accommodates taller individuals, drivers report that this seat fits tight around a 34-inch waist, so if you’re around that size or close to it, you may want to skip that extra scoop of ice cream. The upper harness holes are set to accommodate individuals around 5 foot 8 and taller. The seat lacks lumbar support between the bottom and back panels, but that can be remedied with a cushion.
- Fits most smaller vehicles
- FIA approved
- Two mounting positions
- May not fit over a 34” waist
- Harness holes set too high for shorter people
- Lacks lumbar support
Best track-only seat: MOMO Daytona 1074BLK Racing Seat
Why We Picked It:
MOMO is a long-established brand in the motorsports industry, and one known for superior products that incorporate the latest technologies and design ideas. The MOMO Daytona 1074 racing seat lives up to the company’s reputation. It’s a HANS (Head-and-Neck Support device) compatible, FIA-certified fiberglass bucket seat shaped to reduce lateral movements of the helmet, better protecting the driver’s head.
The seat is upholstered in black fabric. An exclusive Airnet technical material covers the central area on the back for optimum air flow and effective moisture permeability. The removable double-leg cushion provides extra support. Even with the extra cushion, this seat is exceptionally lightweight, just 22 pounds.
- HANS Compatible
- FIA approved
- Too large for small sports cars or compacts
- Not for daily driving
- High price
Best for Daily Driving: N / A Adjustable Racing Bucket Seats
Why We Picked It:
If you’re seeking new seats for your daily driver with the option to enjoy periodic track days, the N/A Racing Bucket Seats shouldn’t be overlooked. N/A isn’t the stock status but the brand name, and these seats are sold as a pair. They are fully adjustable in that they recline, unlike the other seats on this list, which have fixed back positions. The injection-molded cushioning foam is wrapped in waterproof leather-like fabric, all supported by a lightweight tubular frame.
This set will provide you with far more support and safety than your vehicle’s stock seats, are more comfortable than almost any fixed seat. The open design fits most drivers. However, if you’re planning to throw down some risky lines on the track, you may want to consider the other fixed-back seats on this list for superior safety. Unlike most seats on this list, sliders are included. Installation brackets are not.
- 180-degree backrest rotation, reclining function
- Sliders included
- Includes two seats
- Not FIA approved
- Material can retain heat
- Not recommended for serious competition
Best Budget Racing Seat: JEGS Pro High Back II Race Seat
Why We Picked It:
The JEGS Pro High Back II race seat is highly regarded by hot rodders and drag racers. Molded from high-density polyethylene, its dual-wall shell provides maximum strength and back, lumbar and side support. Despite its spartan, vaguely 1960s look, it is surprisingly comfortable, even without the seat cover (sold separately). The black finish complements most vehicle interiors.
These seats feature safety harness openings with individual shoulder strap mounts, which are required by most racing sanctions. Drivers report that the JEGS seats are also excellent for Jeeps, dune buggies or other off-road toys in that they clean off easily. Some customers reported that the mounting nuts on the bottom were crooked, which made installation more difficult, however this is not the case for every seat.
- Dirt cheap
- Excellent support
- Made in the USA
- Not FIA certified
- Seat covers sold separately
- Installation issues reported
To determine our list of the best racing seats for 2021, we specifically chose the highest-rated most readily available racing bucket seats for a wide range of driver needs. We considered the products that are the most accessible to consumers residing throughout the U.S.
Forbes Wheels selected five top-rated racing seats by considering a broad range of end-user ratings and professional evaluations. Each product is rated on safety, quality, comfort, and overall value.
How do you pick a racing seat?
A racing seat’s fitment is determined by not only the space available in the vehicle, but also on the driver’s measurements. Choose a seat with the proper support for your needs and always make sure that you determine the seat’s sizing before you buy. Also check your racing sanction’s safety regulations. FIA or SFI Foundation (SFI) approved seats will satisfy most competition requirements.
Are racing seats comfortable?
Yes and no. Racing seats are manufactured to be strong, secure, and lightweight, and they look and feel austere compared to regular factory-original seats. Even though they are built for safety over comfort, it is possible to find one that provides support in all the right places. In that case, racing seats can be quite comfortable.
Are racing seats street legal?
The focus on street legality isn’t so much on racing seats, but on seat belts. The majority of racing harnesses are not street legal. If you are installing a racing seat in a car that will still be used for daily driving on the street, it is recommended to leave the factory seat belt intact and fully functional. An FIA or SFI certified racing harness can still be mounted to a roll bar or cage for use during track days.
Do I need a racing seat?
Regular cars seats are much heavier than racing seats, especially when equipped with electric motors, fans or vents. Racing bucket seats are also stiffer and stronger to keep the driver in place and provide maximum safety. If you’re to the point in your racing experience that a harness is required, you will need to first install a racing seat to accommodate the harness.
How do I mount racing seats?
One of the best benefits of installing racing seats is that you can mount them in a position that is most comfortable for you, so you as the driver can easily reach the controls. For road legal cars, using a pair of rails per seat is recommended for adjustability. However, if you are going full race car, sometimes the best fit requires mounting the seats directly to the frame. Be sure to check your specific competition sanction’s rules before installation.