At the very top levels of drag racing, there are a lot of things that can kill you quickly, and a few that do it slowly. Simpson’s new CH3NO2 helmet is protection against both. It carries a Snell SA 2010 rating, and includes an attached fire resistant head sock, making it a smart choice when braving the hazards of the track. To guard against the insidious effects of nitromethane fumes and clutch dust over time, it also incorporates a dual filter system with an internal respirator mask, and it’s set up for connection to a bottled air supply.
Of course, there are other helmets on the market that incorporate these safety and health features. Where the CH3NO2 leaps ahead is in its hinged face plate design, which makes donning the helmet far easier, and ensures a better seal for the respirator cup – instead of struggling to get everything pulled down over your nose and mouth, the face plate flips down once the helmet shell is already properly positioned on your head. It’s far more comfortable to wear while waiting strapped in to the driver’s seat, and the face plate still includes a normal flip-up shield as well.
Simpson has also taken a careful look at how the respirator cartridges attach to the helmet; in the CH3NO2, they’re inserted into pockets molded, rather than cut, into the shell. The finished product is one of the best helmets you can buy for fuel or alcohol drag racing.