A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan and Carlin Racing’s Patricio O’Ward are charting new territory for NTT IndyCar Series drivers early in the 2019 season with the use of helmets that comply with the new FIA 8860-2018 ABP standard.
The two represent helmet manufacturer Stilo in IndyCar, and for those who are keen on spotting small differences, the new FIA helmet specification, which is mandatory in Formula 1, features a narrower eyeport opening. Of specific interest, the 8860-2018 ABP standard calls for the thick Zylon anti-intrusion strip, seen in recent years as a stick-on piece placed atop the visor, to be integrated into the forehead section of the helmet.
Due to the fortified construction materials, Kanaan and O’Ward will be the only IndyCar drivers to race this weekend at Circuit of The Americas without the large Zylon strips in place (as worn by Colton Herta, below), which restores some of the visual aesthetic thanks to the smooth surface transition between the visor and helmet.
So far, IndyCar has not mandated the new helmet specification, and it’s believed Bell Helmets, which supplies more than half of the field, along with Arai, and Schuberth, will make their FIA 8860-2018 ABP-compliant products available when their drivers request a change.
“This is my baby…I love this helmet,” Kanaan said of the same model Valtteri Bottas used while winning Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix. “People are asking if the field of vision is any narrower, and it isn’t.”