The 10 Best Auto Racing Helmets

Driver Gear, Features I By Winding Road Staff I September 22, 2022

Note: This is our updated late-2022 buyer’s guide.

Whether you are road racing, doing a track day, running autocross, driving circle track or participating in High-Performance Driver Education, you need a helmet. But it can be confusing when it comes to actually buying one. There are a lot of choices and sometimes the differences aren’t obvious.

To give you some help, we recently reviewed over 50 helmets from Bell, Stilo, Arai, B2, and Zamp. That isn’t every helmet on the market, but it is close.

We found when testing factors like features, style, weight, fit, and price that there were models that stood out. We’ve picked 10 helmets that cover a range of prices and are the ones we would start with when shopping. You may find that a given helmet doesn’t have the ideal fit or is missing a feature that is critical for you, but at least you have a way to make your selection process more focused.

As a refresher in factors you need to consider when buying a helmet, you may want to read our Helmet Buyers Guide.

You can buy any of these auto racing helmets in our helmet superstore.

All the helmets in the top 10 list below are HANS compatible and Snell SA 2015 and 2020 rated.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, our 2022 Best Racing Helmets award winners:

10.  B2 Helmets Vision EV

$299.95*

With unmatched quality within its price range, the B2 Helmets Vision EV offers racers an opportunity to get safely on track with a minimum barrier to entry. Another enticing feature for novice racers is the Extended Vision (EV) eye port that the Vision EV offers; this offers some relief to those who suffer from the claustrophobia that some racers experience in helmets with smaller eye ports.

Pros
  • Large eye port
  • Quality fit & finish
  • Low cost
Cons
  • Non-removeable cheek pads
  • Heavy
  • No FIA homologation

Shop all B2 helmets.

9.  Zamp RZ-62

Zamp brings many features like easily integrated hydration, removable cheek pads, and soft
interior fabric to racers with more constraints on their budget. Every time we put this helmet
on, the interior fabric surprises us; its softness and comfort rival helmets that exceed the $1000 mark.

Pros
  • Factory hydration provisions
  • Removable cheek pads
  • Optional factory graphics
Cons
  • Low-quality shield
  • Doesn’t fit all head shapes well
  • Thin pads

Shop all Zamp helmets.

8.  Bell Racing GP3 Carbon

$1,199.95*

The top air vents and chin spoiler make the Bell Racing GP3 Carbon helmet quite versatile. The aforementioned top air vents can be open or closed on-demand as cockpit conditions change and the slim eye port offers superior fire protection. Breaking into Bell Racing’s carbon line of helmets offers racers the most comfortable interior fabric on the market.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Pajama-like interior fabric
  • Great ventilation
Cons 
  • Not FIA 8860 homologated
  • Shell shape not conducive to all head shapes

Shop all Bell Racing helmets.

7.   Stilo ST5 Carbon

Starting at $2,038.95*

With its ability to easily and seamlessly integrate communications the Stilo ST5 family of
helmets remains extremely desirable. This carbon variant offers all the benefits in a lighter weight package. With two side ports molded into the shell, racers have the ability to integrate communications and hydration without having to modify the helmet in any way.

Pros
  • Easily integrate comms & hydrations
  • Customizable fit
  • Fits the widest variety of head shapes
Cons
  • Expensive accessories
  • Interior finish
  • Non-uniform top air connections

Shop all Stilo helmets.

6.  Arai GP-5W

$849.95*

We can’t go about making this list without including an Arai helmet and the GP-5W offers the
best combination of price and features. With a relatively wide eye port, the GP-5W offers the visibility novice racers prefer while maintaining the protection a premium helmet manufacturer provides. Arai helmets provide unmatched quality, they’ve just been hard to come by since the supply chain issues began.

Pros
  • Outstanding fit & finish
  • On-demand top air vents
  • Large eye port
Cons
  • Long backorders
  • Shell shape not conducive to all head shapes
  • Minimal front ventilation

Shop all Arai helmets.

5.  Bell Racing M8 Composite

$549.95*

You might ask, “Why does the most popular auto racing helmet on the market fall in the middle of a top ten list?” The answer simply comes down to safety. That said, the Bell Racing M8 Composite helmet is certainly not an unsafe helmet; quite the contrary. It’s simply that the helmets ranked higher on this list far exceed the safety requirements the M8 Composite meets.

Pros
  • Entry-level price
  • Large eye port
  • Wide variety of sizes
Cons
  • Minimal pivot angle for shield
  • Lower interior fabric quality
  • No FIA homologation

Shop all Bell Racing helmets.

4.  Bell Racing RS7C LTWT

$1,999.95*

In our review of the Bell Racing RS7C LTWT, we go into greater detail as to why this helmet sits soundly in the top five of this list. Without a doubt, this is the most advanced Snell SA2020 homologated helmet on the market today. The safety requirements of the organizing bodies weren’t sufficient for Team Penske so they partnered with Bell Racing to build a helmet that far exceeds those requirements; the product of that partnership is the Bell Racing RS7C LTWT.

Pros
  • Advanced carbon lay-up for added safety
  • Narrow eye port for added fire protection
  • Plush interior fabric
Cons
  • Not FIA 8860 homologated
  • Shell shape not conducive to all head shapes

Shop all Bell Racing helmets.

3. Stilo ST5 GT 8860

Starting at $3,603.95*

The Stilo ST5 GT 8860 marks the first FIA 8860-2018 homologated helmet to make the list and for all the reasons that make that standard difficult to achieve, helmets that meet (or exceed) the requirements of that standard are among the safest auto racing helmets in production. Additionally, the ST5 GT 8860 is one of the lightest helmets on the market; helmet weight grows in importance the longer you’re behind the wheel; for obvious reasons lighter helmets help to delay driver fatigue which helps racers remain in peak performance during longer stints.

Pros
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Ease of integrating in-helmet comms & hydration
  • FIA 8860-2018 homologated
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Must use Stilo-specific in-helmet comms

Shop all Stilo helmets.

2.  Bell Racing M8 Carbon

$1,099.95*

All the reasons the Bell Racing M8 Composite helmet is such a great helmet are present in this carbon variant. What makes the Bell Racing M8 Carbon even more desirable is the addition of the FIA homologation and the obvious weight reduction that comes with using carbon fiber as opposed to other composite materials (e.g. Kevlar, fiberglass, etc.). Another added benefit of jumping into Bell Racing’s carbon line of helmets is the addition of the “pajama-like” material with which they chose to line the helmets in this range.

Pros
  • Large eye port
  • More fitted sizing options
  • pajama-like interior fabric
Cons
  • Shell shape not conducive to all head shapes

Shop all Bell Racing helmets.

1.  Stilo ST5 GT Composite

Starting at $1,008.95*

Well, here it is, the number 1 helmet on the list. In addition to all the wonderful features the Stilo ST5 GT Composite has to offer, the one thing that makes this our number one helmet is quite simply the fact that the widest variety of head shapes and sizes find this helmet to be extraordinarily comfortable. We can’t quite put our finger on what it is that Stilo has done that has evaded their competitors, but what matters is that they have done it.

Pros
  • Most comfortable for majority of people
  • Extraordinarily lightweight (for a composite helmet)
  • Ease of integrating in-helmet comms & hydration
Cons
  • One of the most expensive composite helmets
  • Interior fabric quality

Shop all Stilo helmets.

Stop in at one of our two locations to check these out! We’re also on hand to answer your questions: give us a call at 512-994-0656, or shoot us an email at [email protected]

The Guide to Road Racing: Winding Road Magazine's ultimate guide to getting your start in racing.

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