If you've been following the Vios Cup series, chances are you've seen the very spiffy OMP outfit used by every driver. But looking good isn't the main reason for all of the gear. With 30 cars on the grid, safety is of utmost importance. Anything can happen, so being ready for the worst is a must.
One of the biggest dangers of racing is if your car catches fire. That's why if you are serious about the sport, wear the proper attire.
This suit is fire-retardant. And those hoops on the top of the shoulders are sturdy enough to support your weight. If you need to be extricated from the car, you can be pulled out using these hoops.
Racing suits also have an expiration date of sorts. Certain racing series require you to have a "new" suit. Why? Because safety standards evolve, so suits have to catch up with them. This one was manufactured this year, so it will be safe for use in the few years to come.
Thin-soled and snug, driving shoes help keep you in control of your car by providing more pedal feel than any pair of conventional shoes can. They are also slim, to help make sure you don't depress the wrong pedal by mistake. Some race cars have pedals positioned closely together, you see.
Like the suit, these shoes are also FIA-certified. They are fireproof as well.
These gloves not only protect your hands in the event of a fire, they also provide grip. If your exposed hands are sweaty, then making a mistake at the wheel or gear lever is likely. These are likewise certified by the FIA.
Oh, and your head should be protected from flame, too, so let's not forget the helmet. Each Vios Cup car has a roll cage installed, and slamming your unprotected head against it won't be pleasant.
How important is having complete safety gear? Before every round, a scrutineer will not only make sure that the car's safety equipment is up to spec, he will also check your racing suit, your helmet and your shoes. You can't race if you don't have these things, or if they're past their use-by dates.
You are now ready to hit the track.
See you tomorrow, July 26, in the second leg of the 2014 Vios Cup at Clark International Speedway.
Photos by Paulo Rafael Subido