For the 2017 season, all clubs have ended their temporary extension that allowed SA2005 helmets due to the lack of supply of SA2015 helmets. So now SA2010 or SA2015 helmets are required for competition. I’ve been shopping, and started out at my local retail shop, Wine Country Motorsports at Sonoma Raceway. They’re a great source for safety gear, i.e. helmets, seats, fire suits, gloves, as well as lots of other race merchandise, and a knowledgeable staff. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a helmet that fit my oval shaped head very well. I tried on everything from budget to high-end helmets – Racequip, Zamp, OMP, Sparco, Bell, Arai, even Stilo. The Arai and Stilo were the closest fit but still not quite right. So I contacted my favorite online retailer, Racer Parts Wholesale, and they recommended the Simpson and Impact helmet lines for an oval fit. I ordered a Simpson Speedway Shark and an Impact Vapor, both about $800. They both are geared towards open-wheel racing with a duckbill chin spoiler, lift-reducing ripples over the top, a narrow eye port, and various small air vents. They both fit very comfortably, no hot spots on my forehead and a supportive fit from my ears to my jawline. Visors were of excellent quality on both, with the Simpson having a better seal with the visor closed. The Simpson also had a slightly higher quality soft foam and liner material in it. The Impact definitely used a smaller and narrower shell for their Large helmet, it made it seem like the Simpson just used an XL shell and used more inner material to make it fit. The Impact came with a simple cloth drawstring bag while the Simpson came with a heavy-duty denier travel bag. And for the win, both the Impact and Simpson helmets are made in the USA.
The Impact Vapor fit me just a bit better, and I preferred the narrower shell for better ease of use within the driver compartment, so I ended up keeping the Impact. I’ll update after I have a chance to try it on the track.