It’s fairly common knowledge that Arai Helmets are well represented on motorcycle racing grids on both the U.S. and world stages. However, what most riders don’t realize is that this relatively small family-owned helmet company is also a dominant factor in auto racing.
How dominant? Actually, about as dominant as it gets. At this mid-point in the 2010 race season, Arai helmets are worn by the top four leading drivers in both the Formula-1 and IndyCar championships; second place in the NASCAR® Sprint Series; and they’ve already won American auto racing’s two biggest 500s: the 2010 Indy 500 and Daytona 500. Hyperbole aside, that’s pretty impressive.
It’s neither a fluke nor a trick of the light according to a company statement: “Arai is the world’s only major helmet manufacturer with the capability and advanced technology to not only compete in the worlds of both motorcycle and auto racing, but to win.” The company adds that Arai has had more than half of the drivers on the F1 grid for a number of years—including four of the last six world champions. And in the ultimate indicator of the brand’s acceptance among the world’s elite drivers, every F1 driver who chooses Arai wears them for free.
Arai’s 2010 Formula-1 scorecard is topped by 2008 world champion, Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren-Mercedes leading the championship, followed by teammate Jenson Button, the 2009 world champion, in second place. RBR-Renault teammates Mark Webber, in third, and Sebastian Vettel in fourth round out Arai’s F1 front four.
It’s almost the same story in IndyCar. Dario Franchitti, the 2009 champion and longtime Arai driver, won this year’s Indy 500 race. Team Penske’s Will Power leads the championship. (Is that the greatest name for a driver, or what?) He’s followed by Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Franchitti and Scott Dixon in second and third place respectively, and Power’s Penske teammate, Ryan Briscoe in fourth.
In NASCAR®, Arai topped Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray, and holds second an seventh in the championship with drivers Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton after 19 of 36 races.
“We’re always telling people that Arai really is different,” said Brian M. Weston, Director of Operations at Arai Americas. “Results like this take it out of the realm of just talk. When you’re the only company you know of that’s capable of building helmets that not only compete at this level in both motorcycle and auto racing, but pretty much dominate them, well, like the old cliché: you must be doing something right.”