Briefly explain RECARO Automotive’s history in racing for those who may not know?
RECARO got its start in 1906 in Germany by developing and producing car bodies, interior fittings and, still today, automotive seats. In 1965 RECARO launched the world’s first sports seat, featuring the side bolsters that are RECARO’s most distinct styling feature.
Shortly after, in 1967, RECARO introduced the first road-legal shell seat, which changed the game in terms of lightweight construction and comfort while still maintaining a very sporty, “RECARO” feel. In recent years, we developed the first fully carbon fiber seat shell and, most recently, the first FIA-certified off-road racing seat.
You can be sure that we will continue the RECARO tradition of “firsts” in performance seating by investing in the future.
What is RECARO’s current plan to continue being the “first” to market?
2020 was a big year for us at RECARO Automotive. We restructured in January and opened our new global headquarters in suburban Detroit in October 2020.
We focused our energy on crafting a new corporate structure that allows us to concentrate on our core business of performance seats, with a focus on driver and passenger safety, ergonomics, and comfort – both on and off the track. To further streamline operations, we brought the talent and expertise to manufature and produce these great seats in-house. This internal team does it all, from design and production, to bespoke cut-and-sew capabilities.
Then in January of this year (2021), we launch the first ever RECARO Pro Racer XL ORV FIA certified seat with ENRg+™ foam technology supporting the vertical impacts driver endure during off-road racing. This extends our knowledge of form-follows-human ergonomics and safety into one of the fastest growing markets of UTV’s and trucks.
Why are IMSA and RECARO the perfect match?
A lot of what we do, especially with the OEM business and the aftermarket business, is to take the understanding of what we learn about comfort, ergonomics and safety in motorsports and develop it for the end consumer – the person who is looking for ultimate performance done right. Being able to talk to teams, talk to the drivers, and possibly collaborate with these experts on specific projects and special builds has definitely helped us gain, show and prove our understanding in performance seating.
Collaborating with professional drivers who race at high speeds with high G forces on what makes a better and safer seat will in turn lead to improved technologies for RECARO Automotive’s passenger seats. We know that driver fatigue is not unique to motorsports. There are plenty of professions that require sitting in a driver’s seat for a long period of time, so by improving ergonomics and reducing driver fatigue, we’re able to improve the quality of the driver’s experience.
We use motorsports as a holistic approach, rather than just wanting to get our brand out there and ensuring people to see our name. We are passionate about promoting safety along with comfort and functionality.
Where can fans check out RECARO seats when at an IMSA race weekend?
Great question! Fans can check out RECARO seats in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team Vasser Sullivan and American Wheelman racing in the Michelin Pilot Challenge series.