DOT rating alone isn't enough. It needs to be Snell SA rated, either 2005 or 2010.
Even a Snell M (Motorcycle) rating isn't usually accepted at automotive sporting events.
They are designed to protect in different ways.
Also note, the risk with getting a used helmet is that you don't usually know how it's
been used. Helmets are designed to break so that your head doesn't. If, say, it spent some
time bouncing around in someone's trunk, then it may have already done all the breaking it was
designed to do before it ever gets on your head. Plus, the materials (especially foam) tend to
deteriorate over time, so even if it's well kept it won't be good forever.
The same could be fairly said for the club's loaner helmets, which is why we are taking steps to find
replacements in the near future (probably not before the end of the season, though, sorry).
Having said all that, admittedly having anything on your head is better than nothing at all!
BTW you don't have to plow into a pole or a jersey wall to need a helmet. My car did a partial spin
on course once, and my head bumped the A-pillar as I came to a stop. Not very hard, but enough
to remind me what that helmet is there for.
Ok now I'm really confused..
What does VMCS want for a legal helmet?
I don't really care want other racing sanctions or clubs want. What is VMSC's rules?
I have a DOT helmet.
----15 minutes later----
did a little research. Looks like a snell rating is what is needed (does VMSC require this rating?)
see explication below.
HELMET RATINGS...WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
Snell SA Rated Helmets:
Snell "SA" (Sports Application) rated professional helmets are designed for auto racing and provide extreme impact resistance and higher fire protection.
Snell M Rated Helmets:
Snell "M" (Motorcycle) rated helmets are designed for motorcycling and other motorsports. They offer slightly less protection than SA rated helmets.
What are the key differences between SA and M Rated Helmets:
SA standard requires flammability test while the M standard does not.
SA standard has rollbar impact test while M standard does not.
SA standard allows narrower visual field than M standard (Some SA helmets aren't street legal).
What is the current Snell Rating:
M2010 and SA2010. To view our Snell SA2010 rated helmets, click here. You may also find some Snell SA2005 rated helmets in our clearance section.
How do I know if my helmet meets the necessary Snell specifications?
Always check your club rulebook to determine what helmet specifications they require. Most clubs seem to allow you to use the current Snell specification, as well as the previous Snell specification. So, in that case, for the 2011 season, you could use Snell M2005/SA2005 or Snell M2010/SA2010 rated helmets. Snell M2000/SA2000 helmets would not meet requirements after October 1, 2010. Bottom line... read your rulebook carefully.
Also, be sure that your club will allow the use of Snell "M" rated helmets. SCCA Solo does allow these helmets, although some organizations that run high speed events will require Snell "SA" rated helmets.
Where can I get more info on Snell helmet ratings?
Check out the Snell Memorial Foundation website for some very good helmet information.