Porsche has entered two 911 RSRs in the 2021 running of the FIA WEC series, both of which will be piloted by experienced racers including Neel Jani who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 2016. Each driver has their own uniquely designed helmets that were inspired by multiple factors. A driver’s helmet is an extension of their personality. Sometimes it’s reserved and simple, while other drivers may prefer a bold and intimidating design. Porsche asked its drivers where they came up with their helmet designs, and here’s what they had to say.
Neel Jani’s helmet has kept the same design since 2000. A mandala drawn by his younger sister was the inspiration. The sun on the top of his helmet is a tribute to Jani’s Indian roots. “The first version of my helmet was more or less created in our playroom,” said Jani. “Reena used to paint on white stickers and I then stuck them on my helmet.” Jani’s father is Indian while his mother is Swiss.
Jani’s teammate, Richard Lietz, keeps his helmet design simple. The red and white stripes are an homage to his Austrian heritage. “I’m Austrian — there are not too many of us! And there’s nothing more to it than that,” said Lietz. Complementing the red and white stripes are thick yellow accents. The design of Lietz’s current helmet comes from the CF Design Studio of Italy.
Kevin Estre’s helmet design hasn’t changed since 2008 and has kept it customizable to match the vehicle he is driving. “I always match the color scheme to the vehicle design. When we drove the Pink Pig at Le Mans in 2018, my helmet reflected that. When I’m driving the Porsche911 GT3 R for Manthey-Racing, I adapt the colors to the ‘Grello’ green and yellow,” said Estre. For 2021, Estre has switched to an orange, black, and white scheme for his helmet, which pays homage to Kimi Raikkonen’s protective headgear. A small French flag adorns each side of the helmet while a gold star in the back signifies his 2018/2019 FIA WEC season win.
The most extroverted helmet in the team belongs to Gianmaria Bruni. He pays homage to his Italian roots with the extensive use of green, white, and red. His helmet design coincided with his transition from Formula One to GT racing. The lion’s mane is reminiscent of black and gold flames and represents the dynamic nature of motor sport. A small star on top of the helmet is the most meaningful element because it represents Bruni’s daughter, Stella