The Fast Pod - A podcast all about speed

Episode 7 - Joe Tanner and The Art of Racing Helmet Design

September 14, 2023 The Fast Pod Season 1 Episode 7
The Fast Pod - A podcast all about speed
Episode 7 - Joe Tanner and The Art of Racing Helmet Design
Show Notes

Joe Tanner is a renowned helmet painter who has worked with top motorsport competitors, including Formula One stars like Lando Norris and Nigel Mansell.

He accidentally fell into the world of helmet design, but has since become the go-to person for racers who want to look fast.

A racer himself, Joe shares his journey into helmet design and the evolution of racing helmets. He discusses the importance of a distinctive helmet design and the challenges of running a business in this field.

Joe also talks about the physical process of painting helmets in his workshop, the time and effort it takes, and the pressure of meeting deadlines.

He picks out some of his personal favourite designs - and explains the unexpected difficulties in recreating classic designs from the past.

Key Highlights:

  • Designing and painting a crash helmet is a time-consuming process that requires careful planning and attention to detail.
  • Dealing with customers who have unrealistic expectations or make last-minute changes can be a real challenge.
  • Simple designs can be just as iconic as complex ones, and accuracy is crucial when recreating classic designs.
  • Joe takes huge pride in his award-winning designs and great satisfaction in seeing his helmets on top racers.


  • "I was always intrigued by helmet design. It's like the man's version of what women are like about handbags." - Joe Tanner
  • "I have probably made this business a lot harder than it needed to be over the last 15 years." - Joe Tanner
  • "I've never been to a race meeting with less than five helmets to drop off with people." - Joe Tanner

Check out Joe's awesome custom paint jobs at: