News & Car Culture

Racing Safety Pioneer Bill Simpson Dies at 79

(Image/Indycar.com)

Bill Simpson, credited for inventing racing fire suits and dragster parachutes, and the founder of both Simpson Performance Products and Impact Racing, died Monday due to complications from a stroke suffered three days prior. He was 79.

Simpson is heralded by legions of long-time racers for saving their lives as many of the products he developed and improved through the years became standard equipment for drivers racing in virtually any level of motorsport.

Simpson Performance Products made helmets, gloves, safety harnesses, shoes, and brought the first fire-resistant Nomex-lined racing fire suit to market in 1967.

Simpson, on more than one occasion, set himself on fire while wearing his own suit to prove its worth.

Simpson was an orphan as a youngster, and lived an inspiring rags-to-riches story you can read about in this excellent article from Racer.

From each of us at OnAllCylinders and the extended Summit Racing family, we send our deepest condolences to his many friends and family throughout motorsports and beyond, as well as our gratitude for the many lives saved due to Simpson’s unwavering pursuit of making things better.

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