Who designed Oliver Turvey’s helmet? What meaning does it have for him? For how long has he used the same design? The British NIO driver answers these questions about one of the most important parts of a racer’s team gear.
Mexico City has become a highlight for Turvey and NIO. The Brit was able to lead the race for several laps, and ended up in second place, scoring his first ever podium finish in Formula E. The team obviously aim to use this momentum in order to continue scoring valuable points for the championship.
He showcased a brilliant performance going flat out at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez with a distinctive bright-coloured helmet. This safety accessory all drivers must wear has seen an uncountable number of designs over the years, and Turvey is no stranger to have his own design
“When I was younger, as a kid, I wanted to design my own race helmet and I spent many hours kind of sketching by myself, looking at different designs for my first helmet”, he remembers. “And I came up with the design, and since then I’ve kept it very similar. I’ve only modified it slightly for sponsors or teams I’ve driven for, but more or less kept the same design, the same colours throughout my whole career”.
In a sport where teams’ cars look the same, helmets are an easy way to recognise each driver. “Your helmet design is kind of like your identity”, states Turvey.
The Brit races with a helmet which features bright oranges and yellows. “I always liked orange and I wanted the middle part [of the helmet] to be bright orange, and liked this bright yellow, as well. I just wanted the colours to stand out.
“Then the contrast with the blue, I always had blue in between; and I think there was always a contrast between bright orange, bright yellow, greens, and the blue”.
For Season 4, the 30-year-old wanted to have a design that matched his car’s livery. “This year, I also kind of changed the back of the design a little bit, going from a dark blue to a light blue, which is in line with NIO’s ‘Blue Sky Coming’ image, and I really like the way it came out this year!”.
Despite having the same base, he acknowledges he changes some parts of the design each year. “As I said, each year I try to evolve the design a little bit and change something some of the shades or the lines. Just trying to improve it each year.
“This year, I also had the shaded Union Jack in the back, in the orange part that goes into red. I also have my number 16 at the top, I’m really happy with how it came out. Yeah, I like the features I have this year!”.
The NIO driver admits there was no particular helmet design he liked when growing up when asked about this. “I wouldn’t say there was any specific helmet design that I liked, but I did like the bright colours and helmet colours that stood out.
“I guess that’s why I went for the bright colours, really. It was no specific helmet. I mainly took little bits of ideas from what I saw and there are things that I came up with by myself, really”.
Racing drivers do have lucky charms. For some, it could be the side of the car they get in; for others, it could be their helmets. We asked Turvey if he considered his helmet design as a lucky charm, considering he had been racing with it since a young age.
“I don’t consider it like a lucky charm, but it’s something that you’re proud of, it’s your identity”, he admits.
Top image by FIA Formula E; Featured image by Adam Warner.