“Black, mean and no-nonsense – the Arai helmet pictured here is the zenith of driver head protection: a mere 1,200g carbon-fibre shell that can withstand the crushing force of a 55-tonne tank without deforming, and an 800ºC fire for 30 seconds without its interior rising above 70ºC. This FIA-prescribed 8860 racing helmet reached such a peak after years of research and development led by the FIA Institute and the world’s leading helmet manufacturers.
It is a remarkable piece of kit, supplied to race and rally drivers by Arai, Schuberth and Bell since 2004. Yet the quest for perfection is unceasing. And this season, 8860 helmets can feature a new refinement, a Zylon strip across the top of the visor that significantly enhances protection in one of its unavoidably weaker areas – the visor, a polycarbonate medium that of necessity isn’t as strong as the overall shell (although the Institute and helmet manufacturers are working on it).”