Saturday | 19 Jul 2014

The story behind the helmet: Thierry Neuville

We continue our look at crash helmet designs by chatting to Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville to get the lowdown on his eye-catching lid. It’s a touching story as he reveals a personal tribute to the late Philippe Bugalski, a two-time WRC rally winner.

Race against time:
“For the last two years I’ve had Red Bull helmets but that wasn’t allowed at Hyundai so there was not much time to make many design possibilities for this season. I asked my designer in Belgium to come up with a helmet that was like my team colours so everything matched. Then I added my own personal things, like sponsors and logos.”

Neuville's personal logo is a tribute to Philippe Bugalski and Automeca

In honour of Philippe Bugalski:
“One of the things I wanted to include in my design was my personal logo. It is quite similar to the one that my old team, Automeca, had when I drove for them.

“Philippe Bugalski, who died nearly two years ago, was in charge of Automeca at the time, and he was very good to me. The Automeca logo was a big inspiration for my own. It looked like a dog and used the letters ‘A’ and ‘M’ from Automeca in the shape. I decided to use the ‘T’ and ‘N’ from my names to develop something that looks similar.

“This logo is a way of remembering the great times I had with Philippe. I drove for him in 2009 when I did two rounds of the French championship in a Citroen C2 R2 Max and then in 2010 when I did the JWRC in a Super 1600 car.”

Neuville's helmet shows Belgium's national colours and the federation logo

A proud Belgian
“I always have the flag of Belgium on my helmets and also the logo of the Belgian motorsport federation. The federation logo is to show where my career first started and my history. I live close to Spa Francorchamps and I’m very proud of my Belgian background.”

Enjoying some design freedom:
“It’s nice to plan a helmet and to incorporate my personal sponsors – Monroe and Jost Group – into my design. I enjoy this experience. In the past there was always a question about the budget for helmet design so I had quite a few plain ones with not so many design choices. But now I’m in the WRC I can do much more.”

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