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Friday, June 21, 2024


CURRENT Supercars drivers are forever introducing new and revised helmet designs, each highly impressive pieces of art.

Modern techniques have enabled them to be infinitely complex, featuring layers of detail with everything from intricate patterns to chrome and cartoons.

SUPERSTORE: Holden Final Roar life size helmet replica

However, it’s that constant change and the litany of sponsor logos that mean none are likely to become as iconic as the clean and instantly recognisable designs from previous decades.

Our latest V8 Sleuth Top Five list picks out a handful of our favourite helmet designs to feature prominently in Australian touring car racing.

Larry Perkins

Larry Perkins wearing his famous colours at Bathurst in 1997. an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Created in an era when few Australian racing drivers ran anything but plain helmets, this design is typical Perkins: simple yet effective.

Perkins created and adopted the basic design early in his career, using it in Formula 1 with orange and green colours before later adopting the gold.

It also appeared in Marlboro’s compulsory red and white during his stint with the Holden Dealer Team, before the green and gold returned for good.

Dick Johnson

The Shell-coloured version of Dick Johnson’s trademark helmet. an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Having previously run plain red or white helmets, Johnson adopted the first version of his iconic design for the 1985 endurance races.

Based off the logo of the Queensland Tourist and Travel Commission as part of a sponsorship deal, it was originally green, yellow and white and featured ‘Queensland, Australia’s Sunshine State’ branding on the sides.

Johnson parked it in favour of a plain red helmet when Shell took over as major sponsor in 1987. It then returned in 1990 in the above Shell colours and remained through to the end of his career.

Mark Skaife

Mark Skaife with engineer Rob Starr in 2001. Pic: an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Skaife evolved his helmet design throughout the early 1990s from corporate Nissan colours into this look that eventually became his trademark.

Selected by Skaife from hundreds of options designed by university students, he retained it from late 1993 through his move to the Holden Racing Team and into co-driving, with only the sponsor logos changing.

The 2010 Bathurst 1000-winning version of the design features in a recently released run of full-size, replica display helmets which can be purchased through the V8 Sleuth Bookshop.

Glenn Seton

Glenn Seton wearing the post-Peter Jackson version of his famous helmet in 1997. an1images.com / Graeme Neander

This helmet design wasn’t unique to Seton, but the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’ certainly made it famous.

Already in use across Peter Jackson’s motocross and Superbike teams, Seton was encouraged by the cigarette giant to adopt it during 1991 – the third year of running his own team.

BOOKSHOP: Seto – The Official Racing History of Glenn Seton

He retained the look even after the end of the cigarette sponsorship, simply replacing yellow segments with the white depicted here.

Neil Crompton

Neil Crompton getting ready to race at Winton in 1994. an1images.com / Graeme Neander

Instantly recognisable, this very 1980s design wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Formula 1 grid of the day, clearly taking inspiration from the likes of Keke Rosberg.

Crompton debuted it early in his career and retained it throughout; not even the colours changed as he moved from team to team, including both the factory Holden and Ford squads!

It made a surprise return to the racetrack in early 2021 with Crompton for his laps in Walkinshaw Andretti United’s spare Commodore at Sandown.

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