Journal: Which Classic Racing Driver Wore The Most Striking Helmet?

Which Classic Racing Driver Wore The Most Striking Helmet?

Michael Banovsky By Michael Banovsky
September 23, 2016
15 comments

Flipping through images from the early years of motor racing, one thing is apparent: ‘safety’ was solely in the hands of the drivers, the mechanics, and the weather. Leather caps won’t do much at 10 mph, let alone 150—but when painted helmet designs entered the sport, the world was treated to an undeniably striking art form, along with much-improved safety.

Ayrton Senna’s mostly yellow helmets must be now considered to be art, the same goes for Gilles Villeneuve’s orange-and-black ‘V’ designs, Graham Hill’s London Rowing Club-inspired white oars on a deep blue background, and François Cevert’s tricolore-plus-yellow racing stripes.

Whereas racing liveries—since the ’60s—honor the car, manufacturer, and sponsors, helmets are that one visual signature from drivers that fans quickly burn into their memories and never let go of. They’ve become highly collectable, not just for enthusiasts looking to add to a collection of memorabilia, but for those who want an artifact that connects more closely with their favorite pilot.

For me at least, seeing Alain Prost’s mostly plain white-and-blue helmet battling a grid full of brightly-colored lids was always the highlight of my Sunday mornings. But, obviously, “JAMES HUNT” writ large has got to make the former World Champion’s helmet the most noticeable.

Which racing driver wore the most striking helmet?

Image Sources: sport-magazine.co.uktumblr.com,  kingoffuel.com,
gearheadsandmonkeywrenches.tumblr.comautoevolution.comkingoffuel.compinterest.com

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Robert PlatzMaxiDraDavid Lowthmichel dupuisGuitar Slinger Recent comment authors
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Robert Platz
Robert Platz

Sir Jackie or white helmet Schumi!

MaxiDra
MaxiDra

Elio de Angelis

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David Lowth
David Lowth

Derek Daly

David Lowth
David Lowth

Derek Daly’s black helmet with yellow arrow…. Very striking

michel dupuis
michel dupuis

as a canadian …i’m bias & considers GILLES ‘s helmet a classic that somehow was etched in history by his son jacques retake of !!!

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

What ??? No votes for Sir Jackie’s Scottish tartan helmets ? Unbelievable . Second in my book would be Lauda’s Parmalat helmets . A close third’d be Senna’s .

Robert Breining
Robert Breining
Matthew Flinn
Matthew Flinn

Jacky Ickx- Bell XF-GP

Carlos Veiga
Carlos Veiga

Nelson Piquet certainly!

Tim Scott
Tim Scott

Mike Thackwell was not pretty, but certainly striking!

spoiler43
spoiler43

I agree – Nelson Piquet was great. But what about Nigel Mansell 92 ? Jean Alesi 95? JJ Lehto 93? Christian Fittipaldi 93? Mika Hakkinen 94? Rubens Barichello 92? Eddie Cheever? Pedro Diniz? Johnny Herbert at Lotus? Even Jenson Button and David Coulthard…..It was a golden era in helmet design where a helmet was a signature. Now, drivers change designs every other race, no longer the same. Look at Hamilton’s early Senna triute helmets, where are they now? And what to say about Vettel…?

Federico Rovira
Federico Rovira

Depailler had a really beautiful helmet. Regazzoni and Siffert had nice patriotic helmets.

Eduardo Yuri
Eduardo Yuri

Nelson Piquet 🙂

Eric Waters
Eric Waters

Peter Revson

Alex Waverley
Alex Waverley

I’ll second Revson. What a stunning…helmet.