CJ Wilson Racing driver Patrick Gallagher is a mechanical engineering student at The Ohio State University. Naturally, he's a devoted Buckeyes fan. Later this month, when he races in front of the hometown crowd at Mid-Ohio, he'll be wearing a very special helmet.
That helmet is a replica of the red-and-silver Buckeyes football headgear created by Andy Blackmore, racing livery designer — and spotter guide illustrator — and painted by Tyler Cenarrusa of Censport Graphics. The twenty-year-old from Thornville, Ohio will wear the custom-designed helmet later this month (June 14-16) when he competes at the Mid-Ohio stop of the 2013 SCCA Pro Mazda Playboy MX-5 Cup.
Gallagher, a race instructor at The Mid-Ohio School, is currently the leading rookie and is in fifth in the overall championship standings. After the race, Gallagher will sign the helmet and it'll be auctioned immediately after the event to support the Hematosis and Thrombosis Center at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.
It was great fun designing something different. "The main challenge was to change the visual proportions of the Arai helmet to make it look more like a Football helmet. Not just with the face area, but you may notice a small area of black at the bottom of the helmet to fool the eye that the helmet as a different shape.
We needed to ensure the face mask didn't compromises Patrick's view when he's racing in the MX-5 Cup this weekend. There is a huge variety of masks available for different positions and skills in the 'real world', so I choose a design which gave the largest aperture and base it off that.
The Buckeye leafs are an iconic graphic for the OSU so it was important to include these on the back of the helmet. Players also have the Stars and Stripes and significant numbers, so we decided to include Patrick's race number to personalise it further.
Tyler did an awesome job bringing this design to life, quite a challenge to make one type of helmet look like another. Hope Patrick and the successful bidder enjoys their lid.
This helmet was completely different from anything I normally do. If it weren't for Andy's amazingly detailed renderings, I don't know if I would have been able to do it as nicely as it came out. I have seen numerous football helmet themed paint jobs on auto racing helmets and to me they all looked like garbage.
I think what makes this one look so authentic and real is the fact that we added vinyl facemask bars to the visor of the helmet so it makes the visor blend in and disappear. I also went ahead and put some silver vinyl on the visor along with painting the visor hardware to further make it blend in.
The most challenging thing for me was to get the facemask right. but again, because of Andy's rendering I had to only follow what he had already designed. I guess airbrushing the highlights and shadows on the bars to make them look three dimensional was maybe the most nervous part for me, but I think it came out really really good.