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Not all helmets are created equal. The old saying you get what you pay for is specifically true when shopping for a helmet to be used in auto racing. Yes, drifting is a form of auto racing or whatever you want to identify it as. It is still 100% a performance motorsport and should be held to the same standards as any other auto racing sector. Which is why it’s crucial to choose the best helmet for drifting when you are shopping for drifting helmets.
We are sure some of you reading this will be offended by this article but the fact is you can’t expect a bicycle helmet, rock climbing helmet, skateboard helmet or even a motorcycle helmet to save your life in the event of a bad crash in a drift car. Yes, we have seen people wearing all of the above at some point in time while drifting their cars and is partly the reason to making this article.
With that being said, here are some of our favorite helmets for drifting.
Best helmets for drifting – 5 options by price range
*Best overall drifting helmet
- SNELL 2015/FIA8859-2015
- Carbon Fiber
- Frontal Head Restraint Ready
Constructed from Carbon Fiber this helmet will offer great impact resistance while shedding some weight making this one of the more comfortable helmets available. Although the price tag isn’t cheap it’s a good investment and will serve you for many years.
- Simpson 6200032 Helmet Bandit Large Black SA2015
The Simpson brand has been in auto racing longer then most of you reading this have been alive. It is one of the most trusted names in the industry. All the products produced by this company are top notch. Plus the Bandit series helmet just looks cool. (also available in carbon fiber)
- Fiber Reinforced Polymer Shell
- Expanded Polystyrene Liner
- Comfort Fit Nomexr Interior”
The RaceQuip brand has been around for a while, it’s an all-around good intermediate helmet that is built with some nice features you find in the more expensive helmets. Overall this is a good choice for someone wanting to be more budget minded.
*Best budget drifting helmet
This is a great inexpensive option for a SA2015 helmet. The overall weight is going to be a bit more (4.7 pounds) then your more high-end helmets. Wearing this for extended periods can cause a little fatigue overtime, but no one in drifting is trying to wear this thing for hours on end like it’s the Daytona 500.
- Tear-Off Posts Hand Ratchet To Eight Positions
- Cheek pads adjustable from 51-53cm
Overall this is a good choice for someone wanting to be more budget minded. RaceQuip helmets are comfortable and well put together. This is also the cheapest deal we have found on the internet for a SA2015 helmet.
What’s the difference between SA2015 and Snell M2020 helmet ratings?
The SA2015 standard was designed for competitive auto racing while the M2020 standard was designed for motorcycling and other motorsports. There are three major differences between them.
- A “M2020” rated helmet is commonly referred to as a “motorcycle” helmet; this helmet in itself is a great helmet for conditions in which it was designed to be used, riding a motorcycle.
- The SNELL M2020 helmet rating is not legal for use at most auto racing events or tracks.
- The “SA2015” rated helmet that you need for auto racing is commonly referred to as “special applications” and has a few very important differences than the “M2020” rated helmets.
Both SA2015 and M2020 ratings share four critical components that affect the helmet’s protective properties.
- The first of these is impact management; this is how well the helmet protects the person from impacts with large objects. Just having something on your head to block an impact is not enough, it needs to be able to absorb and cushion the impact in a way that minimizes trauma to the head.
- The second element is position stability; this simply means that the helmet will stay where it needs to be during an impact, a helmet that shifts around on your head cannot provide adequate protection.
- The third part of the helmet that is looked at by Snell is the strength of the retention system or the chin strap. The chin strap and its anchors must be strong enough to keep the helmet in place during a collision otherwise there is no way for it to provide any protection, it may actually cause more harm.
- The fourth element common to both ratings is the extent of protection; this is the area of the head that is protected by the helmet.
SA2015 vs M2020 helmets – other key differences
The biggest element that separates a “SA2015” rated helmets from an “M2020” rated helmet is flame resistance. This is the helmets ability to withstand exposure to a direct flame. The SA2015 helmet’s flame resistance could very well save the life of a driver involved in a crash where there is fire, each second is critical when fire is thrown into the equation. While you may walk away from a crash wearing an “M” rated helmet remember this, that helmet was designed and tested with the idea of it being worn on a motorcycle and not strapped down inside a steel cage.
Another big difference is The SA standards include a roll-bar multi-impact test while the M standard does not.Another difference between an “M” rated helmet and a “SA” rated helmet is the SA standards allow for a narrower visual field than the M2020 standard.
(Some SA certified helmets may not be street legal).
So when you are looking for the best helmets for drifting, keep in mind the ratings and always check with the organization to make sure you have the correct rated helmet per their rules and regulations. Some tracks and organizations may be pretty relaxed about what type of helmet you wear and that is their prerogative, but you have the ability to make the wise decision to purchase a proper auto racing “SA2015” helmet to put over your melon. Helmets with an M-rating or DOT-ratings are generally not acceptable at most auto racing events. Motorcycle helmets do not have the proper safety requirements for auto racing use, specifically fire resistance or roll-bar multi-impact testing.
To make things clear, spend the money buy the proper helmet, you only have this one life here on earth so why risk it to save a few bucks on a cheaper helmet that is not built to properly protect your head. Bellow is a link to SNELL’s website, this is a great tool to better understand how the ratings are achieved and make a proper assessment on the right helmet for you.