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TKART magazine Tech Focus | KS-1 PRO, the new FIA approved OMP rib protector
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20 December 2020
The Italian company’s rib protector is the first worldwide product to comply with the new FIA 8870-2018 regulations which dictates the guidelines for the manufacturing of all rib protectors to be used in karting. Initially, this will be applied in 2021, only in international races and then, gradually, it will be implemented in all competitions, including national and local ones.

The first regulation in history which defines the standards to be respected in order to produce a karting rib protector, the newly created FIA 8870-2018 regulation, comes into force commencing 2021. The regulation will be applied, for the first year, only to international competitions (WSK, World Championships and European Championships), to then be extended to the various national and regional races. Although until 2020 designing and manufacturing a rib protector for karting was a field free from standards and, therefore, totally in the hands of the imagination and the technical and safety notions of the individual manufacturers, with the introduction of the FIA 8870-2018 standard, the international federation has established precise requirements for these safety devices, thus overturning the rib protectors we were used to see and use. An example: the new generation of rib protectors, in order to be homologated, will have to provide front and rear protection, rigid and made of the same materials and height of the lateral protection (for those who would like to learn more about the specifications of the FIA 8870-2018 regulation, you can do so by reading the article dedicated to it in the “Technique” section of TKART Magazine). Not only this. The new FIA safety standard imposes the minimum height of the protection which vary according to the height of the driver. The taller the driver is, the greater the height of the protection they will need to have. Here are the precise measurements imposed by the FIA 8870-2018 standard:

Driver's height (m)Rib protector height (cm)
up to a 1,5212,5
over 1,8816,5


Driver's height (inches)Rib protector height (inches)
up to 59,84,9
over 746,5

OMP Racing has been an integral part of the study that led the FIA to issue this new safety standard and was the first company to receive the homologation too, as early as October 2020 for its new rib protector, the KS-1 PRO, which we are about to analyze in detail in this article.

The OMP KS-1 PRO in all its parts/components: compared to the classic rib protectors prior to the introduction of the FIA 8870-2018 standard, the KS-1 stands out for the mandatory presence of a rear and front protection in addition to the classic lateral ones.

The KS-1 PRO is divided into three distinct areas. One portion protects the back, the two lateral parts (in one piece, as per the regulations) protect the hips while the bib is designed to cover the driver’s chest. The bib is probably, along with the back protection, the most relevant innovation in a “stylistic” comparison with the rib protectors seen up to this point in karting. The bib rests on the hips, therefore in the side view, it highlights the fact that a small portion of the same overlaps the side section, just as the regulation requires. The back too is a single piece and is bound in two points, both on the right and the left, to the hips. The choice of making the rear protection in a single piece was by OMP. Respecting some restrictions relative to the surfaces to be left uncovered, FIA leaves the possibility of manufacturing the protector even in several parts connected to each other.
At first sight, despite a more impactful aspect due to the minimum measurement imposed by FIA, it would all seem very simple, but in reality, there are many distinctive changes that make the OMP rib protector unique. During the development phase, thanks to the contribution of expert drivers who tested it, it was decided that the upper part of the bib should have a convex shape, so as to be comfortable while driving. Consequently, a sort of “fin” has been developed which adheres to the chest.
The individual parts, when disassembled, which compose the OMP KS-1 PRO. Those that required more study and development are undoubtedly the innovations introduced by the FIA 8870-2018, the front and rear protection.
During the development phase, thanks to the contribution of expert drivers who tested it, it was decided that the upper part of the bib should have a convex shape, so as to be comfortable while driving.
The large protective surfaces imposed by FIA and the obligation that none of the components of the rib protector structure can be disassembled and removable have forced OMP to find innovative solutions so that the rib protector could adapt to the various body sizes of the different drivers. In particular, the bib, according to the FIA regulations, must not be removable, because the rib protector must never be used without the bib. The solution? OMP, on the one hand, has bound the bib to the rest of the bib protector and has patented a system equipped with rails which allow a quick opening and closing of the bib, while still allowing to tighten the rib protector in a symmetrical way by pulling the two straps going through the respective buckles, on the right and left side.
Even with regard to the rigid back, which must be of the same height as the lateral protection, OMP has developed an interesting solution. The rear protection, in fact, is bound in two points to the hips. Yet, these are not fixed constraints as they allow for a minimum amount of movement. Rails have been provided in the lateral (upper and lower) portions of the back so that the lateral panels can offer a slight lateral movement along the vertical plane, which allows the KS-1 PRO to adapt to any type of chest. Not all people, of course, have the same physical shape and the request of FIA to have a rigid structure put the ingenuity of OMP technicians to work so as to devise this “compass” solution which allows a movement angle range  of 10 degrees. The system has been patented like the front opening one. Finally, the rib protector is equipped with a pair of shoulder straps which serve to adjust the rib protector’s height with respect to the driver’s chest.
The closing and adjusting system of the rib protector diameter has been patented and allows a symmetrical closure thanks to the double track and the straps, which the driver can pull at the same time. Below, the rear “compass” system allows a total movement of 10° per side.
The various adjustment systems, especially the rear ones, are created to best adapt to the various morphology of the drivers, despite the bulky rigid structure imposed by FIA. In this photo, "a driver" who has a straight torso. In the next photo in this gallery…
… "A driver" with a more “V” shaped torso. In both cases it is possible to see how the KS-1 PRO adapts to the different morphology of the two drivers.

Il pilota, senza bisogno di supporto di terzi, può, una volta indossato il paracostole e agganciata la chiusura, stringerlo a piacimento e in maniera simmetrica, tirando le due cinghie contemporaneamente.

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