In keeping with our priority on safety, let's look at what is new in helmet designs for 2006. It is evident that the companies that manufacture racing helmets have been busy improving the products and adding accessories that could be very useful. We cannot stress enough the value of a quality helmet. These companies represent many years of experience servicing the racing marketplace and have refined their designs. When considering what level of helmet to buy, or whether or not your old helmet will do the job when it counts, ask the well-worn question: "How much is your head worth?"

We'll let the companies speak for themselves about their products. Be sure to check the companies' Web sites or contact a manufacturer's representative or retail outlet for more information.

Arai Helmets

GP-5w The GP-5w is another representation of Arai's pursuit of a comprehensive combination of comfort and functionality in an attractive package while masking the hidden energy management systems within.

The GP-5w is largely based on its big brother, the GP-5 (PED), while taking some cues from the GP-5k model. The eyeport of the GP-5w has been enlarged to 90 mm (approximately 3.5 inches), as compared to the 72 mm (approximately 2.75 inches), and should be heavily favored by sedan or rally drivers. Some open-wheel drivers have also expressed interest in a larger eyeport.

The GP-5w is constructed of Arai's exclusive SCLC (Super Complex Laminate Construction) shell technology. This helps offset the added weight of the larger shield. As a result, the helmet maintains a low overall weight. The cheek pads are removable, washable, and replaceable, which allows more frequent and thorough cleaning and/or replacement for a more personalized fit for those with a narrower or broader facial structure than anticipated with the stock pad dimensions.

The exterior and interior shape and design are nearly identical to those found on the GP-5 (PED), but due to the larger eyeport opening, the GP-5w uses a new and exclusive shield. However, the shield hardware and tear-offs are identical to those used on the GP-5 and GP-5k. The GP-5w is predrilled for installation of the HANS(r) Device. There is also a special seat for the HANS(r) posts molded into the shell. The helmet incorporates two large intake ducts and the same two exhaust vent ducts found on the GP-5 (PED). This vent system will allow for excellent airflow in open-wheeled cars, as well as allow for improved airflow within the confines of a sedan or closed cockpit.

The interior fit is snug, allowing the smallest helmet to be worn comfortably. Combined with its legendary comfort and fit, Arai concentrates on balance and a lower center of gravity. The way the weight of the helmet is distributed is far more important than the overall weight. How the weight is carried on your head is important, and the fit must distribute the weight of the helmet more evenly over and around your head. A helmet that is more evenly balanced and carries more of its weight down low will seem lighter and cause less fatigue.

GP-Jet This new helmet features a new type "E" shell. It has an updated and improved shell shape and construction. It has lower shell molding details to add strength. The cheek pads are removable and replaceable with optional pads of various thicknesses for a more custom fit. It also has a three-snap peak with a fixed light-tint antiglare lens. Arai concentrates on balance and center of gravity, even in an open-faced helmet. Again, a properly fitted helmet will distribute the weight of the helmet more evenly over and around your head, making the helmet seem lighter than it actually is and causing less fatigue.

The GP-Jet benefits from Arai's pursuit of a comprehensive package, providing comfort and function in an attractive package while masking the hidden energy management system within all models produced. GP-5k The Arai GP-5k helmet is the newest helmet design from Arai and is the helmet of choice of numerous top professionals, including Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Dario Franchitti.

GP-5k helmets have one air duct in front, one fixed air vent in the rear, and the eyeport is 20 mm taller than the GP-5 helmet's eyeport. The GP-5k is largely based on its big brother, the GP-5 (PED), while offering a more affordable alternative for drivers not wanting all the features of the more expensive GP-5 (PED). The GP-5k is heavily favored by sedan or rally drivers who do not require all of the upper ventilation found on the GP-5 (PED), but appreciate the slightly larger eyeport opening (approximately 10 mm: 5 mm up, and 5 mm down). The GP-5k is constructed with CLC (Complex Laminate Construction) shell technology. This construction is less costly and slightly heavier than the lightest SCLC material, allowing for a lower retail cost while still providing the same level of impact energy management. In addition, this helmet is pre-drilled for the installation of the HANS(r) Device. The upper ventilation is comprised of a single intake and single exhaust duct.

Bell Racing

Air Chamber Technology

Bell Racing's '06 Vortex forced air and M2 forced air helmets feature an air chamber system designed to increase pressure and accelerate airflow into a sealed chamber in the front of the helmet, maximizing ventilation and cooling. The sealed air chamber allows the maximum airflow of an external forced air system to be fully directed into the front of the helmet.

Air Bladder Technology

Bell's '06 Top Vortex forced air helmet features an air bladder top pad with microventilation holes that not only accelerate airflow, but also disperse it evenly around the driver's head for improved comfort and cooling. The air bladder system directs airflow into a sealed chamber and around the head without relying on existing ventilation holes in the helmet liner. This allows the airflow from an external system to be forced directly around the driver's head for maximum cooling.



BR-1

The BR-1 is an aggressively styled, multi-use helmet featuring a venturi air-flow system. This new Racer Series helmet features a light Fiber-Tech shell, an extra-large eyeport with increased upward visibility, and a Carbon X interior. The BR-1 has a full venturi ventilation system, including chin bar, forehead, and channeled top vents with a rear exhaust. As air flows over the helmet, the venturi effect increases cooling inside the helmet and prevents shield fogging by creating a vacuum to pull airflow through the helmet. The helmet's recessed forehead vents and rear-facing side chin bar vents provide ventilation while not allowing dirt to enter the helmet. In addition, the BR-1 features their new SRV friction shield system.

S2R
The S2R is an aggressively styled, full chin bar helmet with an open feel. This new Racer Series helmet features a light Fiber-Tech shell, an extra-large eye opening, a Carbon X interior, venturi chin bar ventilation, and an aggressively styled sun visor that can be adjusted in multiple positions.

The S2R combines the added protection of a full-face helmet with the feel of an open-face model. It is an excellent choice for all closed car forms of racing, including sports car, oval track, and autocross. The helmet is Snell SA 2005 certified and available in white in the sizes S, M, L, and XL.

Turbo Air Fan
A self-contained, rechargeable turbo air fan ventilation system kit has been added to Bell Racing's '06 product line. Our rechargeable, battery-powered turbo air kit is an alternative for drivers who want ventilation without the need for a complete forced air helmet and expensive system. This factory-installed system is available in most full-face models and provides about four hours of run-time on a single charge before totally depleting the batteries.

The fan and battery system is self-contained and can be installed into the face piece of the helmet. The system can be turned on and off with a simple waterproof on/off button installed into the front face piece for easy access. The kit comes with a recharging cord that plugs into a standard electrical outlet. It takes about three hours to fully recharge the battery system.

The fans are designed to help reduce shield fogging and provide comfort in high-temperature environments by helping to evaporate perspiration from the face to help cool the driver. The turbo air kit has been approved by Snell for installation into Bell's full-face helmets. The system can be ordered through Bell distributors and must be factory-installed.

Srv Shield Friction System
Bell's new SRV friction shield system has a slide mechanism that allows the driver to adjust the tension on the shield, making multiple opening positions possible. When properly adjusted and in the locked position, the SRV system helps reduce the possibility of the shield opening during an impact.

The SRV system will be incorporated into the Dominator, Vortex, Vortex FA, and Vortex TFA Ultra Series helmets. It will also be incorporated into the M3, GTX, M4 Pro, and M3 Xtra Pro Series helmets. The new Racer Series BR-1 will also feature the SRV system.

G-Force

Pro Force One
The Pro Force One is top-of-the-line when it comes to cost efficiency and unmatched quality. This European-styled, simple, clean look is what many of today's racers are going for. If you need to update your style and/or your Snell standards, the Force One has it all.

The Z38 Kevlar/Fiberglass composite shell is lightweight for the short runs or daylong events. The G-Flow ventilation system allows fresh air intake and siphons heated air from the driver's helmet for easy evacuation.

The inner liner is made from soft-knit nylon that is comfortable to the skin. All full-face helmets come with a SpecFit channel designed into the liner to secure and center the user's eyewear.

The helmet is equipped with an optically correct, quick-interchange ProFit shield. All full-face G-Force Racing Gear Force Series helmets come equipped with mounting points for the G-Force Racing Gear SRS-1 Helmet Restraint System.

Pro Force One Graphix
Custom-painted style is now available to the racer at off-the-shelf pricing. The G-Force Racing Gear Force One Graphix helmet is the most eye-catching SA2005 helmet on the market today. Our yellow/orange/red super flame design accents the checkered flag trim for a dramatic custom look.

Pro Force Air
G-Force Racing Gear has teamed with Fresh Air Systems Technologies to create the best airflow helmet. Pair the Pro Force Air helmet with a powerful cooled-air system to change the way you can endure those heated events.

The interior airflow can be tuned by using the chin bar plugs for restricted or fully open airflow. The Pro Force Air helmet comes standard with the G-Flow ventilation system for the evacuation of heated air to provide an even more intense cooling effect. The eyeport is shielded by an optically correct ProFit shield.

The inner liner is made from hypoallergenic CoolTec flame-retardant material for wearer comfort. The Kevlar chin strap fastens the helmet down with added durability.

Junior
The G-Force Racing Gear Pro Force Junior helmet is a new release for 2006. The younger racers and the parents who support them have asked for a lighter helmet, and G-Force has delivered. For many racers, some younger than 5 years old, wearing a helmet with less weight is critical for the underdeveloped neck and shoulders.

The Pro Force Junior helmet has a smaller shell, and the inner liner grows with the child. Children's racing programs have become the little league of the new age. Instead of buying a new helmet for each step of the driver's growth, just switch the crown liner and the check pads and presto-a larger helmet! These helmets all come standard with a multi-stage pad set. With all pads installed, the helmet is a child's small; remove one set for a child's medium; and remove both pads to obtain child's large sizing.

Some adult helmet features are also utilized in this design. The downforce chin bar provides stability and styling. All internal seams are reverse-stitched for driver comfort. The mass air movement G-Flow ventilation system moves cool air through the chin bar and evacuates hot air at the top and rear of the driver's head for a great cooling effect.

To withstand the abuse of a weekend at the racetrack, this helmet has been built with the parents in mind. All lines are simple and clean with no plastic pieces to break or lose.

The interior of this helmet is made with a proprietary CoolTec soft-knit, flame-retardant liner, which is hypoallergenic and comfortable on the skin. Keep the little ones stylish and cool with a G-Force Racing Gear Junior helmet today!

Impact Racing

Air Draft
The Air Draft(tm) helmet utilizes Impact's new solution to air induction, which provides air conditioning, antifog, and a system that reduces air contamination inside the helmet. The use of the latest in technology, performance, and function resulted in this handmade, ultra-lightweight helmet.

The venturi cowl induction circulates air around the head through whisper channels while creating positive air pressure that prevents contaminated air from entering the helmet. The result: cool, clean air and a clear shield all race long.

The shell construction features proprietary American space-age composites for an ultra-light helmet. "Ripple Effect" boundary-layer aerodynamic features incorporated in the shell construction stabilize the helmet in high-speed airflow.

The extended chin foil captures downward airflow to reduce helmet lift and buffeting. The helmet has a Gray Matter(tm) liner (Impact's intelligent single-piece variable-density liner upholstered with a lightweight fire-resistant fabric and interchangeable cheek pads for a custom fit) and a fire-resistant Kevlar chinstrap with locking dual D-ring design.

A 0.125-inch Clear Shield comes standard with a three-position detent. Tint shades include Smoke, Light Smoke, Iridium, and Amber.

Mini Champ
Finding and fitting a helmet for your constantly growing 5- to 10-year-old racer just got simpler. The Mini Vapor(tm) and the Mini Champ(tm) youth helmets, with Quick Fit Inserts (QFI), is designed to grow with your young racer all the way to adult size.

The Quick-Fit memory foam sizing pads (included) makes fitting and refitting the Mini Vapor(tm) or Mini Champ(tm) fast and easy. A single Mini Vapor(tm)/Mini Champ(tm) helmet fits youth sizes small, medium, and large. You can even custom shape the inserts for hard-to-fit or in-between sizes.

The Mini Vapor(tm) and Mini Champ(tm) youth helmets are SFI 24.1 approved (youth helmet standard) for QMA, WKA, NHRA, and IKF use. They also feature an expanded chin bar design and interchangeable cheek pads for a custom fit.

Super Sport
From the wide eyeport design to the perfect fit and feel, the Super Sport is at home in any race car cockpit.

The SS features a wide panoramic eyeport, a hand-laminated composite shell for a lightweight helmet, slotted forehead vents, and a slick "narrow aero" design.

Chin bar vents allow fresh air intake and helps prevent exhaled air from fogging the shield. The Gray Matter(tm) liner, Impact's intelligent single-piece variable-density liner, is upholstered with a lightweight fire-resistant fabric and interchangeable cheek pads for a custom fit.

A 0.125-inch thick clear shield comes standard on the SS with three-position detent. Smoke, Iridium, and Amber shield tints are available.

Tear-off posts and metal shield pivot hardware are included as well. The SS has a fire-resistant Kevlar chin strap with locking dual D-rings.

Simpson

Shark Air Inforcer HelmetDesigned after one of our more popular helmets, the Shark Air Inforcer features an innovative top-forced air system for directing air to the face. The Air Inforcer is designed to be used with In-Car Fresh Air Systems, providing maximum airflow where seat and head room are at a premium.

Shark Air Inforcer Product Features
The Shark is designed to be used with top-forced air systems. Six strategically placed air inlets direct air to the forehead and crown, keeping the head dry and cool. It has an innovative and stylish low-profile top cap for maximum head room.The Shark is made in the USA and is Snell 2005 certified. It has a lightweight carbon, Kevlar, and fiberglass composite shell. The chin flap creates positive pressure to eliminate contaminated air and helps control fogging. The EPS liner is fitted with form-fitting CarbonX(r).

The Shark comes in the following colors: white (standard), black, flat black, silver, red, blue, and yellow. There is a full size range from Jr. to 811/48. A Clear Shield is standard, and optional dark replacement shields are available.

Diamond Back
The look is aggressive and mean. If Simpson's reputation for having the safest helmets on the track doesn't draw you in, then the Diamond Back's futuristic design elements surely will. The large eyeport has been designed to contour the face, and contrasting vents add color and style to the air ram ducts.

The Diamond Back has a composite shell composed of a lightweight carbon, Kevlar, and fiberglass. It has a unique diamond-pattern crown design, and the chin air ram ducts with contrasting vent screens provide superb air circulation. The design utilizes aerodynamic counter measures (ACM) for increased stability in open-wheel applications. The helmet is Snell 2005 certified.

Emergency helmet-removal systems are available for all Simpson Helmets. Colors include: white with red contrasting vents; black with red contrasting vents; flat black with red contrasting vents; silver with black contrasting vents; red with black contrasting vents; blue with black contrasting vents; and yellow with black contrasting vents.

The Diamond is available in a full size range from Jr. to 811/48. It comes with a standard Clear Shield. Optional dark replacement shields are available.

Valor
The Valor Helmet with V-Aero(tm) Technology is unmatched for stability at high speeds. This helmet is designed for open-wheel racing, Sprint, and Indy. It is also well-suited to Karting.

The sleek design, proper balance, and weight make the Valor helmet very user-friendly. The V-Aero(tm) Technology improves the flow of air over and around the helmet. The helmet has a lower drag coefficient and resists lifting and buffeting. The built-in downforce chime helps to counteract lifting, which can be a problem in some forms of racing.

The Valor features Competition Coatings,(tm) which is an improvement in the manufacturing process that strengthens chip resistance. Competition Coatings(tm) is an improvement in the bond between the shell primer and the finish paint. The result is a chip-resistant finish with unsurpassed gloss, durability, and chemical resistance. This process is applied to all Simpson helmets, giving them a tough and lasting finish.

OTW Shorty Crew Helmet
Simpson offers the Over the Wall Shorty helmet with a Carbon X interior. This helmet will pass DOT impact and penetration testing. The lightweight outer shell has made this helmet a popular choice for racing crewmembers.

The helmet is equipped with a four-way adjustable strap to accommodate headset use while maintaining a secure fit. Top gills and additional venting provide better cooling. A three-hole visor reduces glare. The O-T-W Shorty is available in either white or black.

Conclusion

Wow, those are some very cool helmets and accessories. With all of the safety innovations available, we can now have a more impact-resistant piece that is fire-resistant, lighter, more aero efficient, and cooler. If you haven't upgraded your helmet lately, maybe it's time to re-evaluate how valuable your head is to both you and your family. With all of these great choices, there are no good excuses for not wrapping your brain in modern protective gear.`1

SOURCE
Bell Racing Arai Helmets
http://www.araiamericas.com
Impact Racing
Brownsburg
IN
317-852-3067
www.impactraceproducts.com
G-Force
2311 W. 205th St. Ste. 102
Torrance
CA  90501
Simpson
328 FM 306
New Braunfels
TX  78130
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