The Belgian driver went on to take six Le Mans 24 Hours victories in the 1970’s and 80’s driving for some of the biggest brands in racing such as Porsche and Ford before incredibly winning one more race as a strategic advisor for Mazda in 1991.
Ickx was also a superstar in Formula 1 as he finished runner up in the championship in 1969 and 1970 and took a total of eight Grand Prix wins and 25 podium finishes. His career in Formula 1 saw him race with iconic teams such as Ferrari, Team Lotus, McLaren, Tyrell and even for the late Sir Frank Williams.
A Passion for Safety
Ickx had a real passion for the safety of motorsport and was never afraid to voice his opinions or even try to make a change with action. In 1969, Ickx famously walked to his Ford GT40 at the start of the race as a way of protesting the “Le Mans style start”. Incredibly, not only did his actions contribute to the way the start of the race was changed, but he was also able to win the 1969 race with teammate Jackie Oliver.
His constant drive to improve safety saw Ickx adopt the Bell twin window helmet for his racing career in the late 70’s and early 80’s. There’s only one word to describe this helmet design - iconic. The helmet was designed in the mid 1970s following changes in the Formula 1 regulations, when open faced helmets were being phased out in favour of full-face helmets. A number of other drivers including 1972 world champion, Emerson Fittipaldi also wore the twin window helmet but nobody rocked it quite as impressively as Ickx.
Throughout Ickx’s career, he wore a very distinctive midnight blue crash helmet with his name and one stripe detailed in white. The elegant design is now very famous in the motorsport world and current drivers including 2019 Porsche factory driver and triple Le Mans 24 Hour champion, Andre Lotterer have had unique one-off helmets specially designed to pay tribute to the champion.