The Best Head and Neck Restraint Systems

Driver Gear, Reviews I By Bradley Iger I October 08, 2020

In road racing, all sanctioning bodies require you to wear a head and neck restraint (HNR device). While the details may seem a bit gruesome, the reasoning should be enough to convince you that HNR devices are a great invention. If you think about it, your torso is strapped into the car. If you hit a barrier or another car, your car will stop – potentially very quickly. Your harness will prevent your torso from slamming into the steering wheel, but what stops your head? Since your head weighs about 11 lb, it has serious momentum and in a crash, it wants to keep moving while your torso remains relatively stationary. If your head keeps moving and your torso is held to the seat, you could break you neck, as we learned when Dale Earnhardt was killed at Daytona. Instead, you wear an HNR device which connects your helmet (and head) to the relatively stationary harness that is holding your torso in place.

There are several types of head and neck restraint devices, each with its own benefits:

Most Versatile: Necksgen Rev 2 Lite ($569.00) – Many people like the Necksgen because of the way it sits on the shoulders and the lack of chest “horns”. The Necksgen is usable with 2” and 3” shoulder harnesses. It provices some side impact protection, while traditional HANS systems work primarily front-back.
Lightest Weight: Stilo HANS Zero ($1,399.00). If you are comfortable with the traditional HANS shape, this unit by Stilo is the one to get. We like the ultra-low weight for endurance racing and in high-power cars. We also think the carbon is shaped a bit more comfortably.
Best For Different Layback Angles: Schroth SHR Flex ($475.00). If you race both sedans and formulas cars or sports racers, you might like a HANS device that works with the 20 degree seat layback typical in sedans and the 30 degree layback of a formula car. The SHR Flex has horns made of a soft material that conforms to you body and works in either type of car without adjustment.
Best Track Day: Simpson Hybrid S Head and Neck Restraint ($1,095.00). Almost all HANS devices assume a 5 or 6 point harness typical of race cars. But if you are running your street car in HPDE or at a track day, what do you do? You get the Hybrid S. The Hybrid S has a fabric truss that straps to your torso, so it doesn’t depend on the harness to hold your helmet and head in place relative to your torso. Of course, you still wear your OEM 3-point seat belts, in fact it is the only hybrid that is approved for use with 3-point belts.
Most Comfortable For Women: Necksgen REV ($499.00). You may have noticed that women have differently shaped chests than men. As a result, the horns on traditional HANS devices can be uncomfortable for some women. The Necksgen solves this problem with no horns at all.
Find all of our head and neck restraints in the Winding Road Racing store.

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

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