Fire-Resistant Suits Protect Indianapolis 500 Drivers

Issue 7 and Volume 123.

Fire-Resistant Suits Protect Indianapolis 500 Drivers Drivers at this year’s Indianapolis 500 were protected by fire safety suits lined with a fabric woven from a new phenolic fiber, Kynol, which resists temperatures up to 4500°F. Bill Simpson, a noted racing driver and president of Simpson Safety Equipment Company, manufacturers of the suits, described them as “the most significant racing safety feature introduced in this year’s 500.” He said that although no suit is totally fire and heatproof, the many drivers wearing the Kynol-lined suits this year in the Memorial Day classic had substantially more protection from flame and heat than ever before. Kynol was first developed by the Carborundum Company as an industrial fiber. It is woven into a lightweight, flexible fabric for the safety suit lining material. Its heat-resistant and flame-retardant properties are being tested for application in suits for firemen and others who encounter high temperatures.

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