Top 8 Best Racing Seats
By | Last updated: May 27, 2021
Racing seats. BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock.com

It is freely admitted a bit of help was enlisted for this post. After all, your author does not generally purchase items for his daily driver that intentionally make it less comfortable, except for the U-Cheap-OutTM suspension kit he once purchased (best to gloss over that one).

Plunking a set of racing seats in your whip isn’t something to be done on a whim, given their price and propensity for long-term discomfort. Most of these things will squeeze your torso like a naughty co-ed, so perhaps one can make the argument these seats are a good incentive to stay in shape – or at least get into one.

As always, sound off in the comments if you feel we missed the mark on these racing seats.

1. Editor's Choice: NRG Innovations FRP-301 Race Style Bolster/Lumbar Bucket Seat

We’ll kick things off with this affordably-minded seat that seems to be purchased by customers for use in either a real car or a sim rig. The sliders apparently make this thing a good choice for deploying it as the latter. Relative to the remark above about being in shape, this seat can be purchased in Medium or Large sizes.

As for hucking it in an actual, y’know, vehicle, reviews state there are multiple holes in the brackets for easy mounting and that the mounts themselves are adjustable for height. Emphasis is put on making sure the frame on which it is mounted is square, so go ahead and break out that t-square you bought when you built the deck.

 

Pros/Reasonably priced, different sizes available
Cons/Some reports of damage on arrival
Bottom Line/Good for virtual or real roads

2. ModifyStreet Racing Bucket Seats

Alert shoppers will notice the vast majority of seats (and their coverings) on sale these days are advertised as PVC or PU leather. This means the material is of the man-made variety and not that of peeled cows. In other words, shop carefully and don’t pay a premium if it’s the fake stuff.

That doesn’t mean fake leather is undesirable. It often has better wear properties and is easier to care for than the real thing. This set shows up as a pair, one each for driver and passenger, and naturally, supplant any side-impact airbags and the like that were in your OEM seats. Most customers accepting of the need to use special brackets to install these seats in their road cars, a trait that also explains why there are no instructions included in the kit.

Pros/Snazzy style, bolstering suitable for daily use
Cons/Get yourself to the fab shop
Bottom Line/Hope you like the color orange

3. ProCar Sportsman Racing Seat - Gray Vinyl/Velour

Weighing in at 28 pounds, this seat is but a fraction of the mass displaced by the Barcaloungers in your author’s 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker. Procar Sportsman racing seats are advertised as a good way to add race styling to your street car or weekend racer without sacrificing comfort.

They are built with high-density, injection-molded foam cushions and all-steel frames that are TIG-welded. Procar Sportsman seats feature generous lateral support and a one-touch recliner release, the latter of which is a rarity. They come fully assembled and include sliders but note they are only compatible with Procar seat brackets.

Pros/Apparently more comfortable than most, reclining function
Cons/Gotta buy specific brackets
Bottom Line/Might just bridge the gap between street and race

4. OMP Champ-R Racing Seat

Occupying the other end of the spectrum is this seat, one which has a tubular steel frame and is covered in durable fabric. It is advertised as being FIA compliant, which we assume refers to the world racing sanctioning body and not Fred’s Internet Automobiles or something.

The shape is said to mimic the sizing of popular fiberglass seats and allows for mounting via its side or bottom. Anyone who’s worked in tight quarters trying to install a new seat in a car that was never designed to accept a racing seat will tell you this massively helps installation.

Pros/HANS-compatible seat back
Cons/Ambitiously priced
Bottom Line/Highly rated for a reason

5. Sparco R100 Racing Seat

Talking about racing seats without mentioning Sparco would be like talking about brakes without mentioning Brembo or terrible racing movies without mentioning Driven. Compatible with a 3- or 4-point harness, this seat falls squarely in the middle of casual and extreme chairs.

Hilariously, the ad says this unit has low bolstering for wide “applications” which is presumably code for those of us who enjoy a midnight snack at the Sonic Drive-In. Its tubular steel frame permits a bottom mount capability and it is available with black, blue, or red trim.

Pros/Great name, great ratings
Cons/Sold by the each
Bottom Line/Difficult to go wrong with this option

6. jiabeir Racing Bucket Seats

These sport race seats are said to be ideal for those who want to improve the looks, comfort, and stability of their seats without putting practicality squarely in the bin. They feature a strong yet lightweight tubular frame and comfy foam to keep your butt from falling asleep on a long drive to the track.

The race seat front is made of high-quality PVC Leather material (read: fake leather) which should be durable and easy to clean. This pair of bucket seats are equipped with backrests that have a single adjustor and double slider, which allows a person to adjust the angle of the backrest by 180-degree rotation. Turns out Ford isn’t the only one with Max Recline seats.

Pros/Affordable for a set of two, looks good
Cons/Seat brackets not included
Bottom Line/Scary lack of reviews

7. OMP HTE-R 400 Racing Seat

We’re revisiting a brand name mentioned earlier on this list, though the style of seat is vastly different this time around. It’s here we’ll mention how important images are to product ads, since this company’s inscrutable naming convention is simply a mix of letters and numbers.

This seat is said to offer a protective halo-style design but with a slimmer upper profile for installation in smaller spaces. Built on a lightweight gel-coated fiberglass shell, the HTE-R line of seats are apparently common World Touring Car Championship series thanks to being upholstered in a highly breathable Airtex material for comfort in hot conditions.

Pros/Lateral leg support bolsters, split leg bottom cushion
Cons/Only three reviews
Bottom Line/Don't expect WTCC interviews when climbing out of your knackered Civic

8. Sparco Circuit II Seat

We’ll wrap this list with another seat from Sparco, one which surely would have been mentioned earlier if not for its ad’s lack of detail and reviews. Bordering on a four-figure price, this Sparco seat is the larger of the two chairs from their Circuit range, denoted by the “II”. We guess “XL” was not an appropriate pair of letters to embroider on the headrest.

The seat is sold on its own with no brackets, so we hope you’re on good terms with a metal fabrication shop or are comfortable sticking pieces of metal together with a welder. It also says they are FIA certified (your local autocross in the Safeway lot still isn’t, however).

Pros/Looks baller, Sparco name
Cons/New listing with little feedback
Bottom Line/The seller has been responsive to questions

Racing Seat FAQs

Can I install a racing seat myself?

Depends on your level of skill, champ. If you’ve built your own race car and now want to put a seat of similar ilk in your daily, then there’s a solid chance you have the skills (and tools) to do so. If you’re just figuring out where the gas goes in your car, best take it to a shop.

Do racing seats need special brackets?

Generally, yes. This is the major reason why a dose of skill is required to install the things. Since very few racing seats are a bolt-in replacement for stock seats, some fabrication (or at least drilling) will be required to get the things lined up properly and installed safely.

Are racing seats safe?

Safe is a relative term – or so say the VerticalScope lawyers. Be aware that the binning of your car’s stock seats will also result in the loss of any airbags the seats may have contained, seat belt dingers, and heaters/coolers. The latter may not seem like a safety item until your other half begins complaining at length that your car no longer has those features. However, we will say the vast majority of aftermarket racing seats are engineering for a high degree of safety – some are even crash-tested – since the main intent (of most of them) are to be deployed on a racetrack.

UPDATES:

  • Replaced RCI 8000S Poly Baja Highback Seat with ProCar Sportsman Racing Seat
  • Replaced Sparco R100 Black/Blue Seat with Sparco R100 Racing Seat
  • Replaced NRG Innovations Bucket Seat with jiabeir Racing Bucket Seats

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: BigTunaOnline/Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

6 Comments on “Best Racing Seats: Have a Seat...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Will these fit in my Monte Carlo Z34?

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    What’s the value of a best of list to us readers if you aren’t actually testing any equipment?

  • avatar
    Jimf

    the best racing seats are the purpose built ones…e.g., Butler or Kirkey et al… that is of course, if your car will not accept a foamed in one that really fits you.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I put a set of Corbeau Sports in the Cobra replica. they look more like regular buckets with the slot for the crotch belt in them. So far they are comfy and has a bulb and bladder for lumbar support.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Firstly, if there’s no factory provided, and properly located, slot for the crotch straps (yes, plural) then it’s not a racing seat — just a street/sport seat. That would apparently eliminate half the offerings here.

    And no mention of Recaro, huh?

  • avatar
    Noble713

    Sparco is the only brand I recognize in this list. No Recaro, Bride, or Corbeau seats make the cut? I’ve got Recaros in my Supra. If I were to upgrade beyond those, I’d probably get some ultra-lightweight Bride recliners. Brides are great because they usually have seatrail compatibility with Recaros.

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