Why did I need to get a new suit? I had been using a hand me down RCI suit that was scored free when a friend purchased an old Fiat. The suit was thrown in with the deal as it didn’t fit anyone. Turns out, it didn’t really fit me either. The sleeves were too short, the torso too tight and the leg length left me with highwaters that Steve Urkel would be proud of. While my core organs were probably safe, my wrists and ankles were at risk for burns.
This set in motion a great search for a suit that would fit my tall and thin frame. Anything that would work with my height, was designed for someone with the chest and arms of 1960’s Arnold Schwarzenegger and the gut of 2010’s Arnold Schwarzenegger. With little hope for something that fit well and looked good, I was going to settle for just about anything that would be safe. Right before pulling the trigger, I was put in contact with Danilo Oliveira at Adidas Motorsport and Darren Swisher at One Race Gear. This, my friends, would change everything for the better.
One thing I’ve noticed is that there’s very little information out there for what makes one race suit better than the next. There are companies that offer 4 different suit options at 4 different price ranges and don’t list the differences that make one suit better than the next. Adidas Motorsport makes just one, the ClimaCool Nomex®, and speaking with Danilo, I learned what makes it special.
The primary difference is the weight and feel. At 290 gr/sqm the suit is incredibly light. The suit feels like soft pajamas on an early winter’s morning. My previous suit was like putting on a layer of denim covered concrete by comparison. The ClimaCool suit is easily half the weight and far more comfortable to wear on a hot day. Danilo informed me, that when it comes to the weight of suits, once one starts getting into the very lightweight designs, there begins to be a tradeoff between breathability and weight. Too lightweight and the suits don’t breathe. Once in use they become uncomfortable and sweaty. I can attest to wearing the Adidas suit for an entire weekend and not wanting to change into regular clothing in between lapping sessions. This was not the case with my previous suit.
The next thing that makes Adidas Motorsport special is the customer service. First, Danilo would not send out a suit without very careful measurements taken to ensure the right size was chosen. All the care with measurements is because Adidas Motorsport is preparing for the future. They feel custom made suits will be the standard within a few years and they have the ability of producing customized suits with a turnaround time of about 3 to 4 weeks, faster than anyone in the business. For me, a second option was offered that I hadn’t expected and it turned out to be the best bet. Adidas Motorsport can have existing off the shelf suits tailored in less than a week and as luck would have it, the suits are customized within an hour of my home in Indianapolis, IN.
This is where Darren Swisher and One Race Gear come into the picture. After receiving my size 58 suit from Danilo, I put it on and it was perfect for arm and leg length, but still a bit jolly in the mid section for my size. A quick trip to Indianapolis was made and I was measured for alterations by Darren and then given a tour of the shop. While at the shop we discussed the ability to customize the suit design to match the racecar livery and team logo. Not being prepared for having that as an option, I quickly realized how a suit makes top level drivers look professional and what that could mean for marketing of the team. Here I was, getting a custom tailored suit, with custom graphics, at a very modest price, when just the week before I was going to drop major dough on a suit I knew nothing about and didn’t like the design of. Needless to say, I was blown away at what I didn’t even know was possible days before.