Schroth Racing wanted a Frontal Head Restraint (FHR) that would overcome racecar drivers’ reluctance to wear the safety equipment. Typical FHRs have a rigid, high collar to tether the helmet, protecting the driver from upper neck/basilar skull fractures. But these collars knock against the driver’s helmet, limit lateral head movement, and are uncomfortable to wear. Though required equipment for professional racers, recreational racers have been reluctant to adopt FHRs, making basilar skull fractures the single most prevalent cause of racing deaths in the US each year.
We collaborated with Schroth Racing to design the SHR Flex to be low-profile during normal driving, but to use the kinematics of the crash to become “activated” into its safe (high) position. This prevents severe/fatal injuries in high-impact crashes, yet provides racers unimpeded head movement during normal driving.
We also took a completely novel approach to comfort and fit; the legs are over-molded in a soft elastomer with ribbing that contours to fit the racer, achieving comfort without bulky padding. The SHR Flex’s architecture means just one version will work across all car/seat set ups, ending confusion about choosing the right product.
We believe the breakthrough design of the SHR Flex will encourage more recreational racers to adopt a Frontal Head Restraint system, and reduce the incidence of injuries and fatalities across all levels of racing.
Initial orders of the SHR Flex have exceeded production estimates, and market reception has been enthusiastic. In 2016 the design won a Silver IDEA Award (International Design Excellence Award), an iF Design Award, a Plus X Award, a Spark Silver Award, and an IDA Bronze Award.