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Headcase – IndyCar Driver Helmets for Pattern Magazine

In honor of race weekend I had to make this post. I had a super fun opportunity to photograph 8 IndyCar helmets for Pattern’s seventh issue! I’m in love the story behind each drivers design, sharing their heritage, family and partnerships. Text below by Kathy Kightlinger, featured in Pattern Issue No. 7.

Client: Pattern – PatternIndy.com 

Thanks to: IndyCar – IndyCar.com

Pippa Mann

Mann loves the clean lines of her helmet design – so much so that the look of her first helmet is similar to the one she has now, except the original was mostly blue. But, after her father said he couldn’t pick her out of a crowd on race day, she switched the primary color to red, so she would stand out. That red design, and the clean swooping lines, formed the basis for her logo and brand, which remained unchanged for almost a decade. In May 2014, Mann made a significant decision to exchange the red of her helmet for pink in support of Susan G. Komen. She doesn’t think she’ll ever make the switch back to red.


Marco Andretti

Andretti’s helmet reflects design elements from his family of racing royals, including his father Michael and his grandfather, Mario. Mario raced in a silver helmet with “Andretti” on its side. Then, when Viceroy became Mario’s sponsor, he added a red stripe on top of the helmet to match the brand’s packaging and added blue tips to it. When Marco began racing, he adopted Mario’s design with some changes made by Michael – an American flag along the cheeks – and swapped the red and blue colors on the top. Then, as another signature design element, Marco added a face stripe in 2013.


Tony Kanaan

When Tony Kanaan was a child, he wished for long, flowing hair that he could tuck behind his ears. Unfortunately, Kanaan’s hair was uncooperative. When he started go-karting, he cleverly solved his hairstyle problem by requesting a helmet design that emulated flowing locks. Today, Kanaan’s helmet design is essentially unchanged except for the color scheme and the addition of his son Leo’s actual handprints on the back of the helmet.


Helio Castroneves

Castroneves wore the “Yellow Submarine” helmet during the 2014 racing season. The iconic design was identical to the one worn by Indy 500 champ Rick Mears. Castroneves nearly joined Mears in the esteemed group of four-time Indianapolis 500 winners, but, after a thrilling race with Ryan Hunter-Reay in the closing laps, Hunter- Reay passed the checkered flag first.


Charlie Kimball

Kimball’s helmet design is based on that of Austrian Formula One driver Gerhard Berger, but it includes some patriotic twists. Kimball liked the geometry of the F1 driver’s helmet design, but when it came to the color scheme, Kimball incorporated red, white, and blue so his nationality was apparent when he raced in Europe.


Simon Pagenaud

The helmet Pagenaud wore in the 2014 Indy 500 celebrates the life of his hero, iconic three-time Formula One Champion Ayrton Senna. Its design is a unique blend of Senna’s and Pagenaud’s trademark red schemes. In late 2014, Pagenaud auctioned the race-worn helmet for charity, raising $12,300 for the Ayrton Senna Institute benefiting children’s literacy in Brazil.


Will Power

A proud native of Toowoomba, Australia, 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power displays the Australian flag prominently on his helmet. Power became the first Australian to win a major international motorsports title since 1980.


Josef Newgarden

Unlike a lot of drivers, Newgarden’s helmet design is ever-changing. California-based helmet designer Brett King is a friend of Newgarden’s so they work together to create new looks. Newgarden does have one ever- present design element – the initials and birthdates of his car’s mechanics. He says he proudly wears the markings so he has everyone in the car with him when he races.


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