The problem with regular racesuits is that they a) very rarely come in green b) very rarely impress from a design perspective and c) very rarely fit your driver perfectly. If you are ~170cm and as skinny as a rake, you’re pretty much out of luck finding that perfect fit. I think that, when I last looked, Junior spanned at least three different sizes in terms of height, waist and chest measurements!
We started looking at the custom option. The problem was that the custom options from the Sparcos et al were coming in at over £1,000! Friends of our had a custom racesuit from Grand Prix Racewear (GPR). That cost around £400 and it was impressive enough that they were our choice for Junior’s custom racesuit. I downloaded their racesuit template and headed for Photoshop!
This one was relatively straight forward. Following on from the classic influence on our kart decals, we’d be stepping into the 70’s for our racesuit inspiration:
The stripe down the top half wasn’t enough, however, and some other randoms had already improved upon it:
Ok, so I hadn’t actually had to do too much thus far. The problem was that we needed something on the back. The first draft borrowed the Lucas Oils logo:
By the time we got to v3, things were looking much more like it. I had devolved responsibility for the back logo to GPR and updated the design to give the sleeves a bit of jazz. Do you like the overhead view I found on the internetto help illustrate the striping? I think it was from a resuscitation dummy originally 😉
Just before I placed the order, I got cold feet about my measurements and so used Kartmania as an excuse to take my driver into GPR (they are based at Silverstone) to have them measure him. It was a bloody good job that I did – I fear the suit would have lasted about six months with my measurements. If I could recommend one thing, it would be to have your driver measured by the professionals!
The suit came in time for Christmas. I knew that the colours weren’t guaranteed to be identical to my illustrations (since the suit is stitched from coloured fabric and not printed like some newer manufacturers do). The colours were fine. Initially I was a little disappointed with how thin the material was and, within three months, the sides had worn thin from rubbing between Junior’s rib protector and the seat stay bolts :/ It was at this time that GPR and I had a little disagreement about whose fault this was. In the end, they took the suit back had stitched additional panels on each side to cover the thinning. I never again left uncovered seat stay bolts on the seat! Considering that Junior has had the suit since the end of 2014 and still wears it today I can say that, once you know that you need to take a few precautions with seat bolts, the quality of the suit is perfectly adequate. In fact, I’d choose a thin material again next time since Junior is much cooler in the summer than he ever was in his lined Sparco suit.
I would mention one last piece of advice: steer clear of the knock-off suits that you see advertised by various overseas sellers on social media. Although our suit was also made in Pakistan, I know that it is properly homolgated. There is more to homolgation than just embroidering some letters on the neck. Some of those suits you seen on Facebook look like you’d need shoulders broader than The Hulk too… 😉