Oakley, Coughlin on Cutting Edge
Reigning POWERade champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. has taken a big step towards increasing driver safety in the Pro Stock category by trading in his traditional two-piece driver’s suit for a new one-piece creation from Oakley Motor Sports.
A 52-time national event winner, Coughlin has been sporting a prototype suit named Factory Pilot. It features three layers of protection and is SFI rated 5. Like all of Oakley’s safety gear, it is constructed with award-winning CarbonX fabrics.
"We’re seeing a big push for safety at the moment and through our conversations with Jeg we realized there was a need to improve what Pro Stock drivers are currently wearing," said Todd Hayes, Oakley’s Sports Marketing Manager for Motorsports Worldwide. "The evolution of firesuits in the class just kind of went to the two-piece design, which has since survived mainly because it’s easy to take the jacket on and off.
"But we feel as though we’re on the doorstep to change in the Pro Stock class. To state it as simply as possible, the Factory Pilot offers superior protection for the driver and it’s very lightweight. It’s far better than anything currently on the market.
"We’ve also integrated padding into the shoulders to make the HANS device more comfortable to wear. There’s gusseting in the crotch and knee areas to make it easier for the driver to get in and out of the car, and it has a stretchable belt built into the waist, like ski pants, which makes it very functional."
For Coughlin, a four-time world champion with experience in a variety of racecars, donning the Factory Pilot suit quickly has become a part of his routine.
"The first time I used a molded seat, a head sock, a HANS device, the larger window net, all of that took some getting used to," Coughlin said. "This new suit was no different. But now I can honestly say I’ve never felt better or more protected in the seat. It’s very comfortable, it’s stylish, it fits like a glove and yet stretches in all the right places, and most importantly it offers the latest in fire protection."
When exposed to intense heat or flame, CarbonX fibers carbonize and expand, dramatically reducing the oxygen content within the fabric. It doesn’t char, shrink, or burn when exposed to heat and flame, thereby protecting a driver under the most extreme conditions they might encounter at the races.
"The Factory Pilot offers the very latest technology in fire protection with our distinctive Oakley style," Hayes said. "The fact Jeg offered to test it for us speaks volumes because he’s very particular in what he wears. That team is one of the premiere groups in the sport and we’re honored to be working with them on this project."
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