Going fast is fun, but when the turns come you’ll want a seat that will hold onto you. Here are the top ten aftermarket seats available today.
Aftermarket seats can completely change the experience in your personal vehicle. For those that want to go faster, they’re imperative. Thousands can be spent on improving horsepower, lowering weight, or improving handling and it’s all for naught if the driver can’t stay planted in the seat. Most people shopping for aftermarket seats fall into three categories. The first shopper plans to daily drive their Honda Civic or Subaru WRX, while also wanting to enter them in some autocross competitions from time to time. The next shopper still drives their upgraded Toyota GR Supra or Porsche 911 on public roads, but they also go out to track days and race more often. Finally, there is the shopper that will be in the market for full-on racing seats for a dedicated track car. We’ll cover what aftermarket seats to look for in all three situations and provide one fun choice for those looking to add a luxury seating option at the end.
For those on a budget, the R100 from Sparco is one of the best available. Priced at just over $300, it’s based on a tubular steel frame, comes in multiple colors, and accepts a 4-point harness. That adds safety and doesn’t sacrifice sportiness. It also has large shoulder holes to fit more drivers. Finally, it’s reclinable, a feature that can be found in all three of our first three aftermarket seats that are more daily-driver oriented. That makes life easier because it’s double adjustable and offers easier access to the rear seats in coupes. If there’s any drawback to these aftermarket seats from Sparco, it’s the lack of FIA certification. For the average autocross or rallycross driver though, that won’t matter.
Priced at just over $400, the OMP Raid 2 Sky Series is an upgrade on the R100 in a number of ways. It shares the same sort of tubular steel frame, recline-ability, and bottom mounting points. What we love about these aftermarket seats is that they also offer side mounting points. That provides the chance to mount the seat lower which improves headroom. The Raid 2 Sky Series also uses fire-retardant vinyl upholstery, a vital safety feature in any car that hits the track. Perhaps the most important factor is that for those who might want to make the jump to the next level of racing, the Raid 2 Sky Series is FIA rated. All FIA-rated seats have an expiration date of five years after they were manufactured, so keep that in mind if you choose to buy used.
We return to Sparco to finish out our casual racer trio with the R333. For those that remember the iconic Bride Racing seats, these will look familiar. These are priced around $500 and they add a bit more style than the other two. They also feature the most intense bolstering of the trio. As with the other two, these recline for better comfort and additional access to the rear of a coupe. In addition, they’re compatible with both three and four strap harness systems. They use the same steel frame and cloth upholstery as the R100 too. Unfortunately, also like the R100, they aren’t rated for competition by the FIA. They’re still excellent, but just don’t expect to take them to any serious track days or track competitions.
Next up are our three mid-level seats and we kick things off with the GT-090. Sabelt is one of the most lauded racing safety companies on Earth. The GT-090 comes in around $400 and offers practically everything one might want from an aftermarket seat of this kind. It’s capable of being mounted from the bottom or the side, it provides space for a five-point harness, and it’s rigid to provide more safety. We also love the giant shoulder holes. Getting proper fit in this area is vital to prevent injury in an accident and Sabelt delivers. In addition, it’s not only FIA certified but it’s also HANS device compatible. The Sabelt GT-090 is not particularly flashy, but it’s downright functional.
The Start Series from MOMO takes us to a new level. At its core, this aftermarket seat is lightweight, tipping the scales at just 17.8 pounds. It’s built from lightweight materials and a fiberglass shell. The Start Series aftermarket seat also uses side-mounting points for maximum flexibility. We love how grippy the fabric is and the additional lumbar support that many racing seats lack. MOMO has also seen to it that the Start Series is FIA certified and HANS compatible. Like the GT-090 it is built to be used with a five-point harness.
If there’s one aftermarket seat manufacturer that most people know, it’s Recaro. That’s for good reason too because they go above and beyond in every aspect of design. The Profi series is the most expensive aftermarket seat we’ve featured so far, coming in at over $1,000, but it’s well worth it in the right situation. It’s compatible with four, five, and six-point harnesses, is FIA certified, and is crash tested. The Profi has also got all the little details that we love about Recaro seats. A special Recaro friction fabric is used to keep drivers in place even more easily and shock-absorbing foam keeps the ride comfortable.
These next three seats are for those who are looking for seats that will go in a dedicated track car. You’ll notice each uses halo bolsters around the driver’s head. That feature is not so great for a car that will be on public roads since lateral vision is blocked. In a racecar, where crossing traffic doesn’t exist, it’s perfect since it adds protection. The MOMO Daytona Series is an excellent entry-level option. It’s FIA certified and HANS compatible, but it offers even more. First, it uses modular padding to allow for custom-tailored comfort. In addition, those pads use something MOMO calls Airnet to wick sweat away while cooling the driver with fresh air.
The Taurus Series from Sabelt is lighter and a bit more flexible than the Daytona Series, plus it doesn’t cost much more. At under $1,000, it’s only a couple of hundred more than the MOMO and provides a gel-coated fiberglass shell, an integrated headrest, and higher sides for better lateral support. Like the rest of these higher-end seats, it’s HANS compatible and FIA certified.
At the top of the podium when it comes to aftermarket racecar seats, the Sparco Circuit II QRT Series is spectacular. Of course, it’s got the right marks from HANS and the FIA, but in addition, Sparco has built it with ultra-light yet ultra-strong QRT fibers. They say that it’s some 30% lighter than a conventional fiberglass racing seat. Carbon fiber racing seats are dramatically more expensive, but the this aftermarket seat option nearly matches them in terms of weight.
What though if you’re simply in the market to improve the seats in your ride above and beyond what they provide in the way of comfort and luxury? The Recaro Ergomed ES is the answer. It’s pricy at more than $3,500 per seat, but what it offers is unparalleled. First, these leather seats are heated and ventilated. In addition, it has powered lumbar adjustment, power-adjustable seatback and thigh support, and manual thigh extension. It’s also AGR certified to provide a more comfortable and supportive experience compared to standard seats. This aftermarket seat is the ultimate upgrade to make every single drive better.