Picking out a well-fitted and comfortable seat is a crucial step for any driver. But for larger guys and gals in the racing community, finding their ‘Goldilocks’ seat—the one that fits just right—can be an expensive and time-consuming process.
By “big guys” we mean anyone who is either too tall or too broad (or both) to fit comfortably into an ordinary racing seat. Tall drivers know well the annoyance of constantly bumping their head against the roof of the car, especially when wearing a helmet. Wide drivers, on the other hand, have gone through all kinds of regular-sized seats and found one after the other to be too tight, too narrow, too cramped, or even a bit claustrophobic. These categories are not mutually exclusive, and many drivers have dealt with both problems in various contexts.
Luckily, two brands in particular—Corbeau and Sparco—have stepped up to the plate to offer a several models of large racing seats with many special features and enhancements to choose from. Corbeau excels at producing large, affordable, yet still top-quality racing seats. It offers recliners for off-road racing vehicles such as Jeeps and trucks as well as fixed-back seats for competitive racing. Sparco has pioneered seat design with their patented QRT manufacturing method. They make durable and extremely lightweight fixed-back seats that, while more expensive than Corbeau’s on average, can easily accommodate big guys while still fitting into most cockpits.
In this list we’ll be looking at a variety of seats for the tall, the broad, or any combination of the two. These models have been selected based on comfort, innovation, style, and price. We’ll also discuss the often overlooked second problem large drivers deal with: fitting a pair of large racing seats into a regular-sized car. We’ll first investigate some Corbeau reclining and fixed-back seats and then check out Sparco’s collection of fixed-back QRT models.
MOMO Daytona EVO XL Race Seat
Corbeau Moab Reclining Seat
The Corbeau Moab is a reclining seat that is ideal for big guys looking for off-road adventure. Named for Moab, Utah, the ruggedly beautiful desert town where off-road vehicles test their limits, this seat likewise pushes the limits of comfort and lateral support while maintaining a sleek and minimalist design. It weighs 24 lbs. and measures in at 37 x 21 x 19.5 x 21.5 inches. See the diagram below for more details.
Injection molded foam provides the Moab additional support, minimizes body shifting, and makes getting in and out easier. Because this seat has very little bolstering, it is able to accommodate large body types while still fitting into most racing vehicles (though it’s still a bit large for smaller cars). It is ideal for broad drivers with a 40” waist size, though a representative from Corbeau assured us that the Moab can accommodate up to a 42” waist.
The Corbeau Moab is a direct bolt-in to most Jeep CJ-5 models, as well as all CJ-7 and YJ models. In fact, it has become quite popular in the Jeep community for its easy installation and capacity to provide additional support without disrupting the look and style of the vehicle. Corbeau offers several materials and colors to match the interior of your Jeep, such as black vinyl, gray vinyl, vinyl and cloth combinations, and black neoprene. Many participants in Moab’s annual Jeep Safari no doubt sport Moab racing seats.
A Jeep with Corbeau Moab seats installed. Source: Jeep Forum.
With harness slots, the Moab is ideal for customers running 4-point or 5-point belts. Additionally, with Corbeau’ custom seat-mounting brackets, the Moab can bolt into to just about any vehicle without much hassle. Several additional features available for purchase include an anti-submarine slot (a slot in the seat bottom for running the anti-submarine strap on a 5-point or 6-point harness), as well as inflatable lumbar support, a seat heater, and a seat saver.
Corbeau Baja RS and XRS Reclining Seats
The Corbeau Baja RS (left) and XRS (right) are reclining suspension seats suitable for Jeeps and other off-road vehicles.
The Baja RS from Corbeau was one of the world’s first reclining suspension seats. A few years later, Corbeau produced the XRS in an attempt to craft the “ultimate reclining suspension seat” for the off-road driving and racing community. Both employ injection molded foam for long-lasting comfort and support and can accommodate drivers with up to a 42” waist. Like the Moab mentioned above, they are direct bolt-ins to many Jeeps and can be installed into almost any other vehicle with Corbeau’s seat-mounting brackets.
The dimensions of the Baja RS (left) and XRS (right) in inches. The RS includes additional bolstering and slightly more base height. The XRS is taller overall. Source: Corbeau.
As a representative from Corbeau told us, the main difference between the RS and XRS lies in their harness slots, bolstering, and respective heights. The RS has small slits while the XRS features larger plastic slots. The RS has more bolstering on either side, whereas the XRS has less bolstering and is about 2” taller. Both can be purchased with additional inflatable lumbar support, a seat heater, a seat saver, and (for the XRS only) an anti-submarine slot. Either seat is a great choice for big guys looking for a safe, comfortable, and stylish suspension seat.
Corbeau FX1 Wide
The Wide version of the FX1 is Corbeau’s largest fixed-back seat. It features composite fiberglass technology and is designed with comfort first and foremost. It comprises of a fiberglass shell with a black gel coating, removable cushion inserts, full-body support, and 5-point harness compatibility.
The dimensions of the three models of the FX1 in inches. All are 38” in height, but the Wide model affords additional width and shoulder space. Source: Corbeau.
Whereas many shell seats are side mount only, you can easily bottom mount this seat using Corbeau’s special mounting brackets (see the image below). This lets you slide the FX1 forwards and back after mounting, unlike other comparable fixed-back seats. The back of the shell also has mounting holes for attaching to a roll cage, as is required in the SCAA. Seat savers and side mounts can also be purchased.
Corbeau’s special sliding brackets. Source: Summit Racing.
Whereas the Standard version of the FX1 will fit up to a 38” waist, the Wide version is 1” broader and can accommodate a driver with a waist up to 44”. However, be aware that the shoulder and base widths are both 24.5”. For this reason, it may be difficult to squeeze into smaller cockpits.
Sparco Pilot QRT Racing Seat
The Pilot QRT from Sparco is light, extremely durable, and one of the largest racing seats available.
The Pilot QRT is, according to our research, the largest composite seat on the market. As you can see, it is a halo seat with a narrow, wrap-around head area, integrated head bolstering, and deep side bolstering for added lateral stability and protection in the event of a crash.
The central feature of this seat is Sparco’s patented QRT, or Quick Resin Technology, which allows for a light yet durable shell that is essential for larger racing seats. QRT refers to a manufacturing process that was developed at Sparco’s OEM Composite Laboratory in Italy. Originally inspired by advancements in aerospace technologies, the QRT process aims to produce seats with an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. The ultra-light shell is wrapped in a non-slip, impact-absorbing, and fire-retardant fabric. This process allows Sparco to offer the lightest fiberglass composite seats on the market, with QRT shell being 7–10 lbs. lighter than a comparable shell made by traditional manufacturing methods. The seat weight comes in at roughly 24.5 lbs. This allows for a total weight reduction of up to 30%. All of Sparco’s QRT seats match the weight ranges of comparable carbon fiber seats at a significantly lower price point. The Pilot QRT is FIA approved.
Dimensions of the Pilot QRT in millimeters. In inches the height of the seat is approximately 40” tall and the shoulder width measures at 25”.
The Pilot QRT is easily Sparco’s widest and tallest seat and offers excellent ergonomics for bigger drivers. We spoke to Kevin Lee, a specialist at Sparco, who guaranteed that this seat is designed with taller and broader people squarely in mind. The Pilot’s QRT shell is a “brand new, super tall design and is not for guys of average height,” Kevin told us. “I myself am six feet tall,” he added, “and that seat is a hair too tall for me.” For anyone with a 40” waist, Kevin assured us that Pilot will be “snug, but it’ll fit.”
Sparco EVO XL QRT
For drivers six feet and under, Kevin recommended the EVO XL QRT. It comes in four sizes from small to XL and includes all the special features of the Pilot QRT: an ultra-light shell, fire-retardant and non-slip fabrics, and exceptional ergonomics. The XL version is designed to fit drivers with a waist size of 38” and is Sparco’s largest option for a non-head-restraining seat. The Small, Medium, and Large sizes feature waist sizes of 32”, 34”, and 36” respectively. Unlike the Pilot, the EVO XL fits easily into smaller cockpits. Another notable feature is the EVO large back angle rake. This relaxed back angle allows for a very comfortable driving position. Like all non-reclining Sparco seats, the EVO XL is FIA approved.
The EVO XL replaced Sparco’s now-discontinued EVO III seat, which was quite large and very difficult to fit into many vehicles. The EVO XL, on the other hand, has slender shoulder support that helps maintain a slim profile for easier installation in a wide variety of cockpits. Additionally, its high-grip fabric at the shoulders keep the driver situated and anti-wear fabric has been added to enhance seat durability.
Dimensions of the EVO QRT L and XL models in millimeters. In inches the height of the XL model is approximately 36.6” and the shoulder width measures at 24.2”.
The EVO is without a doubt Sparco’s most versatile line of products, and the recent addition of the EVO XL makes this seat accessible to drivers of all sizes.
Sources: Sparco USA; phone interview conducted with specialist Kevin Lee (05/14/2020).
Sparco Chrono Road Reclining Seat
The Large model of the Chrono Road is Sparco’s biggest reclining seat, with a bottom width of 21”.
Sparco also offers this suspension reclining seat designed for larger drivers. Based on a collaboration with Lamborghini, the Chrono Road seat adds comfort and style while providing ample and aggressive side and thigh bolstering. This will protect the driver from even the most demanding lateral force and ensure control and stability during cornering. It features a full suspension bottom and a generous sizing suitable for drivers with up to 40” waists. Tall drivers will likewise find that this seat offers plenty of headroom and can fit some as tall as 6’4”.
Both Standard and Large models of the Chrono Road are larger than the Medium version, currently not available. Standard and Large models stand at 36.5” tall and have a shoulder width of 22.5”. However, the Large version is about one inch wider at the bottom part of the seat. For more details, check out the Sparco Chrono Road seat dimensions chart. (Note that the downloadable PDF chart is a somewhat out of date, so make sure to consult the chart that appears in your browser.)
Sources: Sparco USA.