Racing Safety Pioneer Bill Simpson Dies at 79

Racing safety pioneer Bill Simpson passed away earlier this week at the age of 79 from complications following a stroke.

A former racer himself—he finished 13th in the 1974 Indianapolis 500—Simpson is regarded as the creator of the first true ‘fire suit,’ and is legendary for setting himself on fire in Turn 1 of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to prove the suit’s effectiveness.

He also designed some of the earliest purpose-built drag parachutes, which led to the start of his first company, Simpson Drag Chutes—now know as Simpson Racing Products. He later went on to start Impact Racing, which also produces motorsports safety products.

Simpson was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2003.’s Robin Miller paid tribute to the late safety advocate in his latest column. Read it here.

Related Articles

Back to top button