If you're into racing, track driving or other action-packed motorsports, you're no stranger to the term HANS ( Head and Neck Safety) device. But have you heard of a FHR (Frontal Head Restraint)? HANS devices and FHRs are actually the same thing!
HANS has become a trademarked name, limiting its use to specific manufacturers. FHR is the term now commonly used for the device we all used to refer to as a HANS, and it is the official acronym used by the FIA.
A question that races through our showroom and inboxes: "What's the difference between a Stand 21 FHR and a HANS device?"
While HANS devices and Stand 21 FHR share the same purpose and pass the same safety certifications, some differences exist. This blog will briefly investigate the differences between HANS and Stand 21 head and neck restraints.
The core intent of these devices is to restrict the forward movement of the driver's head in the event of a sudden stop (whiplash) or collision. This crucial restriction ensures that the head and neck remain within the protective confines of the helmet, mitigating the risk of spinal injuries and traumatic brain damage.
What is a HANS / Stand 21 device?
HANS and Stand 21 devices are "U-shaped" Head and Neck Restraints that sit on the shoulders and wrap around the rear of your neck. The device sits under the harness and connects to your helmet's post anchors via a sliding tether. While Stand 21 and HANS devices are similar and boast the same safety certifications- the two brands have a few notable differences.
As the pioneering Head and Neck Safety Restraints, traditional HANS devices have set the standard for head and neck safety in motorsports. HANS offers a complete lineup of restraints, uniquely offering a youth size (or size small) and medium and large sizes determined by neck size.
The entry-level HANS III is available in 20 and 30-degree angles. The increased angle of the Model 30 is ideal for open-cockpit, formula-type cars with a more reclined seating position. Additionally, the 30-degree can offer improved fit for those with broader chests.
The Stand 21 devices offer a more ergonomic fit around the collarbone, making them more comfortable for many users. Our lady racers report that the design of the Stand 21 FHR is more favorable to their feminine anatomy.
Stand 21 is offered in medium and large sizes, which your neck size will determine. The entry-level Club 3 is available in a 20-degree angle, which is appropriate for most drivers and setups. For road racers in closed-wheel cars such as Spec E30 or Spec Miata, a 20-degree angle is commonly sufficient.
HANS and Stand 21 both offer entry-level options, high-end lightweight carbon fiber options, comfort padding styles, sizes for all, angles, tether styles and anchor mounting points.
Both Stand 21 and HANS offer a lightweight ( and yup, you guessed it), more expensive carbon fiber version of their head and neck restraints. In professional racing where weight matters, it's cost-effective. However, the average club racer can get the same protection at a more affordable price without the fancy carbon fiber- which means more money for consumables!
In conclusion, FHR devices have become a motorsport safety essential. Your choice between them ultimately depends on your personal preferences. But no matter which you pick, the fundamental safety principle remains the same.
It's important to note that FHR devices are not designed to prevent damage from a side impact. Using a seat with 'halos' is a great way to mitigate injury from a side impact- and we have a great blog article about upgrading your safety gear to a full-containment halo seat here.