In the design of an helmet there are elements that become iconic graphic signs that clearly distinguish one driver from another. In the case of James Calado, the ‘trademark’ coincides with the letters ‘J’ and ‘C’. Before coming up with this solution, the winner of the 2019 Le Mans 24 Heures du Mans varied the design of his helmet on a number of occasions, first according to budget, then the sponsors and, finally, his own character.
“My current helmet design,” says James, “is something I have used since my second season in GP2. The design has remained similar until now but I like to change the colours according to the colours of the car I’m driving“. Simple and essential, the graphics chosen by the Worcester driver develop around his initials, although this element appeared in 2013. “My first helmet in 1999 was just white“, explains the Englishman, “because we couldn’t afford to get it painted. Shortly after it was plain red so that my sponsor was able to spot me easier on track”.
The sponsors played an important role in defining the helmet design of the FIA WEC 2017 World Champion. “I have changed my design a lot, according mainly to my sponsors going through all the junior series. It isn’t until 2013 that I have finally stuck to the same design and not really changed it since“. The genesis of this pattern, as mentioned, develops around its initials. “Originally I designed the helmet myself, with the idea of getting a ‘j’ on one side and a ‘c’ on another, to represent my brand logo. Then shortly after I worked with my designer to refine the angles and try to make it look better each year. Today I can’t imagine my helmet without this distinctive element”.
Recognizable on the track for his driving style, recognizable in the paddock for his availability to fans and enthusiasts, Calado is proud of the uniqueness of his helmet despite appreciating the evolution of the style of today’s helmets. “Most helmets look really good these days and as they are unique to each driver I couldn’t pin point one that really stands out. If anything the iconic stripes and yellow on Ayrton Senna’s helmet was simple yet stood out“.