In Endurance Racing, Helmets Establish Personal Brand and Identity
Like race numbers, helmet design used to be important in identifying who was driving a particular car. This was important not only for spectators and journalists, it was also crucial for race teams with multiple cars as well as for people in charge of timing and scoring. With the advent of electronic transponders, however, times and positions are all recorded via a computer. This means that for the most part, race numbers are no longer necessary, and helmets no longer really need to be distinctive. In endurance racing where there are multiple drivers assigned to one car, though, helmets help people tell who is in the car at any given time, and as these Porsche drivers' helmets show, they are just as distinctive as ever. RELATED: BoldRide Helmet Guide 2014
PHOTOS: See More of the 2014 Porsche 911 Carrera S Martini Racing Edition
For spectators and journalists alike, these helmets that are adorned with the latest paints and airbrush techniques make endurance racing an easier sport to follow. For the drivers, meanwhile, the helmet gives them an identity that they can take ownership of, regardless of what kind of car they're driving or who their sponsor is.
According to Patrick Long, Porsche's only American factory driver, "the paint on a helmet is a driver's brand. His overalls and racecar can change from week to week, but it's tradition for drivers to design their helmets and keep some kind of consistency as a form of identity."
VIDEO: Driving the 887HP Porsche 918 Spyder
With advertisements and sponsor logos taking up almost every square inch of space in motorsports these days, the helmet seems to be the last refuge for individuality. And in the case of these particular helmets, Porsche 911 drivers' helmets seem to be taking full advantage of that refuge with vivid designs that are impossible to ignore. Corporate sponsors may determine a lot of the aesthetics of racing these days, but we wholeheartedly welcome all of this eye-catching headgear. The wilder, the better.