In our business, one of the most common questions we hear is, “Do you have racing seats for big guys?” Let me assure you that we do! Here are some tips to find the right racing seat for our big (and tall) brothers and sisters.
Tall Driver Challenges
Let’s break down “big guy racing seat” challenges into two categories: tall and broad. You may be either, or you may be both. At any rate, each of these has their own challenges. Tall drivers often have head clearance issues. A tall driver who wears a helmet in his car is GUARANTEED to have head room clearance issues.
Count on this: aftermarket seat/bracket combinations almost always sit a bit HIGHER than the factory seats–especially if the factory seats are old and worn. To your benefit, Corbeau specifies the vertical height between the bottom of the seat and the bottom of the driver for each seat. Additionally, they offer a seat-shaving service on many of their seats that lowers this height by about an inch. This puts the seat very close to the height of your factory seat.
For very tall drivers using racing harnesses, you have another issue. If your shoulders are inches above the harness slots then you could be severely injured by the harnesses. The top of the harness must be roughly at the top of your shoulder as it passes back to the fixing point. If they are lower then they pull down on your shoulders as they work to stop your body’s forward momentum. Add a broken collar bone to what might have otherwise been more minor injuries.
Broad Driver Challenges
Corbeau also provides some suggested maximum waist sizes for their seats. If your waist size is at or below 36 inches, you are a go in nearly any seat we sell. If you are over 38 inches, pay attention.
Recognize that waist size is not a hard-and-fast rule for selecting racing seats. A lot depends on where you carry your weight. If you have a 40-inch waist but carry your weight right up front then you can likely push the suggested limits just a bit. But if you are more broad in the thighs and midsection, better stick to what is suggested.
Likewise, the seat time duration has an impact as well. If you are putting these seats in a drag car that is never driven on the street, you can probably suffer a little bit of tightness the time you will be in the car. But if this is your daily driver, leave yourself some room.
And remember that “broad” drivers also includes the athletic. That amazing set of lats you have been building in the gym will not be happy when packed into a racing seat built for a less impressive physique. Select a racing seat with less side bolstering.
Small Car Challenges
Getting a seat that fits you is only half the requirement. The seat must also fit the car. And, for some reason, big guys and small cars go together like peanut butter and jelly. The links for every seat you see listed below provide dimension information and it is vital that you carefully compare that to the available space in the car before you purchase.
Top Picks: Big Guy Racing Seats
I’m going to lead off with my top pick for for big/tall/broad drivers. After that I will list other excellent choices, categorized by the driver they best fit.
Sparco EVO Racing Seat
If you’re a big guy or gal looking for a true racing seat (with composite fiberglass shell, sidemount capability, and FIA homologation) then there is only one solution: The Sparco EVO Racing Seat. This seat is available in four different sizes. We can overlook the standard EVO (suitable for smaller drivers) but the EVO II is suited to thin/tall drivers, the EVO II-US is suited to wider drivers who are not especially tall, and the EVO III is for the broader/taller or big, athletic driver who needs a professional racing seat. These seats come HANS-device ready and are accepted at almost every level of automotive racing. (Note: The EVO III is a physically huge seat. Take care when ordering to ensure you have adequate room for this seat.)
More Racing Seats for Big (Broad) Guys
Corbeau FX1 Racing Seat (Wide Version)
The Corbeau FX1 racing seat (wide version) is another fixed-back racing seat that is specifically targeted at the large driver. This seat suits drivers up to 44 inches in waist size and is a great choice when FIA homologation is not required. The wide version is a full inch wider at all locations than the standard FX1, so this is a physically large seat that will not fit in many applications. Use care when measuring. The harness slots in the wide version are not higher than the standard version so especially tall drivers needing a fixed-back racing seat may opt for the Sparco EVO III.
Corbeau Baja XRS Racing Seat
I’m not even going to hide my bias–the Corbeau Baja XRS is my favorite racing seat. It is also our number one racing seat in the street category. This seat is specified for drivers up to 42 inches in waist size. It is extremely comfortable and looks great in anything from a truck to a classic muscle car or even a more traditional sports car. This is not a narrow seat (21+ inches) and won’t fit in every car. And it is not a candidate for Corbeau’s seat-shaving option, so taller drivers will not find any head room with this seat.
Corbeau Baja RS Racing Seat
Like the XRS, The Corbeau Baja RS is specified for drivers up to 42″. Its design lends itself to truck, SUV, and offroad applications. Suspension-style support makes this an incredibly comfortable seat. Corbeau does not allow a shaved version of this seat for taller drivers. The seat is 22-inches wide and not generally a good choice for smaller vehicles.
Corbeau Sport Seat
If you are looking for a big-guy seat with a more traditional seat design, the Corbeau sport seat is a perfect choice. Very mild bolstering means that this seat will not tend to rub in the thigh, waist, or lats like a more highly-bolstered seat. At 22-inches wide, this seat is wider than it looks and is not going to fit into a tiny sports car. No seat shaving option.
Corbeau LG1 Racing Seat (Wide Version)
The Corbeau LG1 racing seat is available in a wide version that suits drivers up to 42 inches in waist size. The wide version is limited to black cloth, black microsuede, or black/gray microsuede materials. It does have much more aggressive thigh and lat bolstering than some of the other seats listed here. That means that those with broad, athletic builds may find it restricting. It is 22 inches wide (too big for very small cars) and does not offer the seat shaving option for taller drivers.
Corbeau Moab Racing Seat
The Corbeau Moab racing seat has almost no bolstering. This makes it a good choice for broader drivers (up to about 40-inch waist size) without being excessively large (although still a bit big for small vehicles.) This seat looks great in nearly any application and has really found a following in the Jeep ® market. Seat shaving is not available on this seat.
More Racing Seats for Big (Tall) Guys
Corbeau CR1 Racing Seat (Wide Version)
The Corbeau CR1 racing seat shares many similarities to the LG1. In addition to similar styling, a wide version is available (for drivers up to about 40 inches waist size.) The wide version is only available in black cloth, black microsuede, and black/gray microsuede. Corbeau does offer seat shaving on this seat, so if you need head room this seat might work better for you. At 21.5 inches wide it is a bit narrower than some of the big guy racing seats listed here but still too tight for many small cars.
Racing Seats for Big Guys with Small Cars
Corbeau A4 Racing Seat
This is a “big guy racing seat” only because big guys seem to be drawn to small cars (as we mentioned earlier.) The standard size A4 is, in fact, NOT a very good seat for big guys but is tends to be the best big-guy racing seat that will fit in cars like the Mazda Miata and Chevrolet Corvette. Seats I might otherwise suggest for these cars are simply going to be too painful for broad drivers. But be aware: the standard A4 (the one that will fit in smaller cars) is only specified for drivers up to 34 inches in waist size. The A4 wide version (available in black only) is suitable for drivers up to 40 inches in waist size, but is too wide to fit in the Miata, Corvette, or other similarly small cars. Corbeau does offer seat shaving for this seat, giving a bit of head room clearance to taller drivers.