2020 has already been off to an odd start. If you’re reading this, more than likely, you fit a certain dynamic that dreams about your car at night – no shame in that. In the last few weeks, you’ve probably burned a ton of time spinning tires in your sim rig because that’s the only way to scratch that racing itch when the country is on lock-down. You probably haven’t had to give safety gear a second thought. But you have a real race car just sitting out in the garage missing you and you have all of this quarantine garage time – now is the time to buy!
A Bit of SCHROTH History:
SCHROTH (pronounced Shrōt) has been engineering, manufacturing, and crash-testing racing harnesses for over 70 years now. Needless to say, they have experience. The manufacturer has supplied life-saving gear to many of the world’s top teams in a variety of series including F1, NASCAR, Porsche and IndyCar (schroth.com/en/segments/racing.html). They have every right to claim their elaborate title.
Here at DiscoveryParts, we fit all kinds of drivers with safety harnesses daily. Whether you are looking for competition belts to keep you safe during your stint in the 24 Hrs of Lemans or you just want some tuning belts to hit Blood Mountain and later meet in the Taco Bell parking lot to vape – it doesn’t really matter what your plans are – we put our faith in SCHROTH and the variety of belts they’ve designed to protect you during your bravest and most insane shenanigans.
In this DiscoveryParts Exclusive, we’ll be briefing you on what we’ve learned over the years about some of the most popular competition belts in the racing industry.
Despite manufacturing a variety of belts that comprise a vast array of features, Schroth has mastered some signature things that they continue to keep the same across the board. Before we delve into what’s different, it’s important to note what’s the same:
- Homologation: Harnesses labeled “competition” are 5 or 6 pt. and usually FIA approved. If they are FIA approved, there will be a soft white tag on each belt and one iridescent tag that displays the homologation and year of expiration. 4 pt. belts are “tuning” harnesses (or street belts) and are not designed for ultimate safety in road racing.
- Dimensions: Depending on the line of belts produced, they’re offered in 2×2 or 3×2. These numbers represent the dimensions of the shoulder and lap belts. Some lines are only offered in one size (Flexi 2×2, for example).
- Cam Lock: Belt cam-lock ends are angled to the left and right for max mobility and comfort for all sizes of drivers. Sub belt cam-lock ends are angled so that the two sub belts go around your upper inner thighs instead of putting stress on the groin. Lap belt cam-lock ends plug directly into each side of the cam lock, holding your body into the seat by the strongest part of your hips. When the cam lock release lever is turned 90° in either direction, the shoulder and lap belts will disconnect from the cam lock, leaving the T-bar sub belt cam lock end connected to prevent that end from falling down below the race seat.
- Dependability: Awesome, technologically advanced, and dependable – all of this describes the material make-up, webbing of the belts and rotary cam lock design. Never seen “rotary” and “dependable” in the same sentence before? It’s not that kind of rotary, silly!
If you’ve tried researching racing harnesses before and are feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. We’re here to help. Here are a few detailed overviews of each FIA approved Schroth belt that we commonly keep in stock at our headquarters and trackside support center.
Remember when you were a little kid at the amusement park, barely tall enough to ride on the big roller coasters? You climbed into the creaky old box seat and pulled the harness straps over your shoulders, the harness swallowing you whole. Panic set in just in time for the ride to screech to a slow, heavy start, rolling forward to what you assumed to be your death. You made it through the 4-minute ride, but seeing that your toosh came out of the seat on the downside of every peak, it felt more like a 4-hours. You can experience the same kind of panic at the track if you don’t have time to adjust your belts. If you don’t have a halo seat and your harnesses aren’t adjusted tight enough, your shoulder and helmet would be smacking the door bar in turn five of every lap because you didn’t give yourself time to adjust your harnesses correctly before you pulled out onto a hot track. You have to be secure in your seat to be able to concentrate and perform to your potential. With the Flexi 2×2, there’s never any reason to panic because there are easy-access adjusters located on every belt of the harness so you can quickly make adjustments whenever you need to.
Customizable: The Flexi is just as the name implies, but in this case, “flexible” means more than just bendy – it also means easily adjusted. If you want your waist belts to be pull-up or pull-down configuration, “simply unwrap and remove the chassis snap end and cam lock end and swap them around. Re-wrap like you just unwrapped and now you have a pull-up harness” (discoveryparts.com/schroth-auto-racing-competition-harness-/3729-schroth-flexi-2×2-6-point-hans-harness.html).
Sleek: All Flexi harnesses are 2×2, meaning the shoulder belt width and the lap belt width are all 2 inches. The shoulder belts were upgraded from the predecessor’s 3/2″ to one full 2″ belt to fit seamlessly inside the impressions on a Hans Device, SCHROTH SHR Flex, or other neck restraint system.
(SCHROTH branding on blue Flexi 2×2; Yellow 2″ shoulder belt fits perfectly in the Hans Device belt groove)
Though there are many adjusters on the harness, they actually weigh less now that they’ve been upgraded to an aluminum compound instead of steel, relieving some of the bulkiness from before.
Less is More: According to science, 2″ waist belts are more effective (and to a degree, safer) than 3″ belts. “Looking at the shape of our human body, the Iliac Crest is the part of the pelvic bone that sticks out above the hips. 2 inch webbing fits entirely within the recession created by the Iliac Crest where 3 inch webbing rides over the top of it. Because of this, the 3 inch webbing has less contact area by percentage and can cause more bruising in an impact where it meets the pelvic bone. The 2 inch webbing rides on the inside of the Iliac Crest and can be worn as much as 1.5 inches tighter, all the while actually fitting more comfortably than the 3 inch waist belt” (Ron Zappendorf, circa 2007).
Because of the security of the 2″ belt sitting within the IC recession between the anterior superior iliac spine and the anterior inferior iliac spine, it’s less likely to cause submarining, which is when the body slides below the lap belt in an impact. Submarining can cause internal organ damage. While this little change in size can make an immeasurable difference, there is no difference in the strength of the belts because they are all designed to meet the same FIA homologation.
Affordable: The Flexi harness was created to be affordable. While it’s not the least expensive option, it’s known for being the best option for its price. To view our prices, click here.
(FIA 8853-2016, Not valid after 2025)
Color Options: Whether you’re goth, patriotic, proud or matching a racing theme, there’s probably a Flexi 2×2 for you – just remember, yellow is always the fastest color…
Affordable: Showroom photoshoots can be unpredictable with the open panel shop ceiling. The Clubman pictured above looks like it has a pretty snazzy spiritual aura going on and to the budget conscious racer, it might very well have! The Clubman was specifically introduced for racers looking to cut cost but who also need belts to meet racing tech standards. Most of the time, the task of cutting costs without compromising quality is difficult for companies to achieve. Schroth kept the quality and strength of the belts the same but was able to cut costs by using less expensive, heavier adjusters and only offering it in one configuration.
Heavy but Strong: So, is there really that much of a difference between these $300 range belts compared to the more expensive option? Really, it’s all about features, customization, and comfort. The adjusters on this harness are steel. Steel is heavy. But steel is really strong, too, therefore, it gets the job done.
(shoulder adjusters; lap adjusters)
Configuration: You can get this belt in 2×2 or 3×2. It has pull-up only lap belt adjusters, wrap shoulders, snap-on lap, snap-on subs. Pull-up lap belts have sewn-in snap-in hardware and a T-bone non-adjustable sub strap. Despite this belt not having configuration options, all Schroth belts are updated to the most modern technology and built with racer comfort and safety in mind, so this harness still features the angled sub cam-lock ends to avoid any unnecessary or distracting pressure in… more sensitive areas.
Not for Everyone: There isn’t a huge difference between the Clubman and the Flexi, but the Clubman can be less convenient because the adjusters are heavier and the lap belt hardware is non-interchangeable. In addition to the adjusters being heavier, they’re a wee bit harder to move. If you’re tightening them, it’s not a big deal but if you’re loosening them, you’ll need to use both hands. Why does that even matter, you ask? Here’s where it gets a bit sticky… Large drivers in teeny-weeny Spec Miatas. The Clubman can be frustrating when the tail end of the left waist belt falls into the thin but infinite abyss between the door bar and the driver seat. You might have to open the door the get the tail end out to be able to adjust the harness. If you’re large enough to be wearing the belts at full extension, then this isn’t a problem at all. But if you’re already secured in your seat with your helmet and Hans on and your window net is up, and all of a sudden you feel like your harness is loose, it might become an annoyance. If you fall into this category of driver, consider a different driver harness that has other configuration options, specifically pull-down lap adjusters, and always remember… thick thighs save lives!
Side note: if you’re racing and your car goes through tech before every event, you really don’t have to worry about having to adjust your harness that often – unless you’re driver-sharing. Once you set the belts, they don’t slide or stretch, but you still might have the inclination to tug them tighter before you take off. If you have two or more drivers of different sizes sharing the same seat and belts, constantly adjusting these can cost you time.
(FIA 8853-2016, Not valid after 2025)
Colors: The Clubman is only offered in black.
To sum this harness up in a sentence: Simple but strong and FIA approved. Click here to purchase this affordable racing harness.
Profi 2×2 6 pt. SFI 16.1 Option: Though this might be called “Profi”, it’s a total separate harness from the Profi XLT 2×2. The Profi 6 pt. SFI 16.1 harness was built with drag racers in mind. I’ll jump straight to the cons and get that bit over with – the SFI 16.1 option is the exception to the signature cam lock end design. That whole comfort for lack of stress around the groin, throw that bit out because this sub belt cam lock end is a single bracket with a folded sub belt directly above the groin. That being said, it was built for a specific purpose – drag racing. In drag racing, you’re not having to fight the various g-force angles as you are in road racing because you’re driving in a straight line, therefore comfort isn’t going to be your number one priority, while safety and homologation are. You can throw these bad boys in your drag car for less than $260.
2×2 Upgrade: The Profi 2×2 is an upgrade over the 3″, which for drag racers used to be the only option available. The 2″ webbing is just as beneficial for drag racing as it is road racing!
You can get this unique belt with bolt-on or snap-on end fittings and features the staple rotary cam lock just like its brother harnesses.
Unfortunately, we don’t have one in our inventory at the moment, therefore, I couldn’t get pics of the belts in a race seat. This image is sourced from Schrothracing.com.
Homologation: SFI 16.1 only.
When time, weight, and technology count, the Enduro comes to save the day.
Designed for Speed: While the Flexi is still Schroth’s bread and butter due to precision and cost effectiveness, the modern Enduro has set a new repertoire for the manufacturer all together. The Enduro has broken the glass ceiling in the racing harness industry because it was designed for more than safety and weight savings – it was built specifically with driver change times in mind. With modern spring-loaded “zip adjuster” technology, you can adjust the belts to your unique size in a “zip”. If you are on a race team with several different sized racers but one seat and one set of belts, this is the harness to consider to cut down time in the pits. Drivers can now hop in and in a matter of seconds, secure the belts at a safe fitment. For this reason, the Enduro is the most popular belt for driving schools, driving experiences, and race teams.
Let’s break it down just a bit more to explain the magic behind how the Enduro is designed. “The Schroth Enduro 6 pt. race belt is designed for when fast driver changes are needed in endurance racing. The lap belt straps have these large, easy to grab adjuster loops. Newly designed compact aluminum rotary buckle features a quicker, more positive [and quite satisfying] ‘click’ and an ergonomic release lever” (https://discoveryparts.com/schroth-auto-racing-competition-harness-/1347-schroth-enduro-3×2-harness-black-schroth-94500-0.html).
(and they say you can’t hear an image…)
Not to mention, those large, easy to grab adjusters are either bright Schroth racing yellow in contrast to jet black belts or jet black adjusters in contrast to dramatically bright anime-blood red. FYI, that’s not the accurate color code name for Schroth red, so don’t call requesting it. The color contrast helps your eyes find the adjuster strap in a split second when you have no time to spare. Sewn into the shoulder straps are “bungee loops” (bright yellow) that can be used to quickly pull down to tighten and a release strip (black with yellow embroidery branding) that can be used to quickly pull up to release.
The Enduro 2×2 takes on some features of the Flexi 2×2 in that it features 2″ FHR (frontal head restraint) shoulder belts. This “feature” basically means that it comfortably fits a Hans or other neck restraint device.
All ends around the harness are “wrap-in” meaning that you can configure your harness to use bolt-in or snap fittings.
The IC Upgrade: Like other 2×2 belts by Schroth, this uses the same data of the iliac crest in its design as mentioned before, so the lap belts sit safely and comfortably exactly where they’re supposed to on the human body.
Homologation: FIA 8853-2016. The latest Enduro harness is now valid through Dec 31, 2025.
Color Options: Black w/ Yellow, Red w/ Back (yellow branding)
Check out even more racing harnesses at DiscoveryParts.com!
The harnesses featured in this blog reflect some of the most popular harnesses that DiscoveryParts keeps in stock on a regular basis. We have access to other belts not mentioned above including: Formula 2×2, Latchlink II, Porsche 991 GT3, Porsche 996/997 GT3. Click here to get more information on these Schroth harnesses.