With the not-so-gentle prodding of my wife I decided it was time to purchase a new suit. My previous suit was a 2007 Alpinestars GP Tech in the then popular urban camo livery. It has performed great over the last 8 years of racing although it has fortunately never been exposed to flames. The only bad things I can say about it is that the hook and loop fastener on the belt has worn enough that it no longer sticks, and the original white color has become more yellow tinted as Nomex fabric tends to do with UV exposure. I have no particular brand loyalty but after exploring other offerings and reading Topher’s review of other suits, I decided to go with the 2015 Alpinestars GP Tech again.
The 2015 model is different from my old one in every way. Before putting it on even I immediately noticed that it was significantly lighter. My size 52 EU 2007 model weighs 1550 g and my size 52 EU 2015 model weighs 1230 g. Some of the weight loss may be just due to using less fabric. The general pattern for the suits are the same except that the 2015 now has additional stretch inserts down the spine, through the inner thighs and across the knees. This makes a noticeable difference in both comfort when driving and in breathability. Both suits are 3-layer, FIA 8856-2000 certified but the materials are thinner and lighter in the 2015. All new GP Techs are 3-color which no doubt adds to their significant cost. Like previous models, leg and arm openings have knit cuffs. Unlike the higher priced Sparco Evo and Alpinestar Supertech, the GP tech has a belt and pockets, important to most of us. The suit looks fantastic. Fellow drivers have complimented me on its appearance which is kind-of weird for the club racing crowd so it must be exceptional.
Unlike other suits I’ve worn Alpinestars are fitted for a sitting position. If you try one on it will feel tight in the front and loose in the back, and the arms will fit similarly. This characteristic is more obvious in the 2015 model but it may be due to general sizing changes. My 2007 size 52 was a bit too large in the hips and abdominal area but fit fine in shoulders, arms, and legs. I considered going down to a size 50 but am glad I did not. The 2015 has a far more athletic cut and is a bit smaller overall. If you are ordering and are borderline on size, go up a size.
In the car the suit goes away. It does not bunch under the HANS or around the chest or under the sub belt. Arms and legs do not ride up. It is noticeably cooler when driving with my Traqgear base layer and no cool suit.
The seated fit makes walking around with the suit on and getting into the suit less comfortable but this could probably be overcome by going up a size.
The only problem I had with the suit was with the shoulder cuffs (epaulets). Again, it may be to me fitting into a suit that is a half-size too small but the bottom of these cuffs cut into my under-arms a bit. I cut the bottom of the cuffs about a cm and have had no more issues. The cuffs do not contribute to the structure of the suit or the fire protection. I’ll probably get an alterations shop to clean this up for me.
In summary, the suit is very light and attractive which is why it is at the top of the price range for off-the-shelf suits. Consider ordering a size larger than what you usually wear if you are not able to try one on first. If you are of considerable girth, it may not be the suit for you.