IRL: Iowa: Meira to auction special helmet

Brazilian Artist Romero Britto Paints Vitor Meira's Iowa Helmet Panther Will Auction Helmet after Race to Benefit Best Buddies Charity INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 19, 2007) -- Delphi Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira will wear a special...

Brazilian Artist Romero Britto Paints Vitor Meira's Iowa Helmet
Panther Will Auction Helmet after Race to Benefit Best Buddies Charity

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 19, 2007) -- Delphi Panther Racing driver Vitor Meira will wear a special helmet hand painted by legendary Brazilian Pop-Artist Romero Britto during the Iowa Corn Growers Indy 250 this weekend at Iowa Speedway, with the helmet set to be auctioned to Panther's charity Best Buddies following the event.

Meira, who was flattered his fellow countryman was willing to paint his helmet, was even more impressed when it was delivered to the team shop at the end of May. Britto, known for his vivid colors, joyful themes and bold compositions, has been a fixture on the international art scene for almost twenty years. The helmet is a ideal representation of Britto's work, complete with bright colors, unique shapes and the Roman Numeral 18, Meira's lucky number.

"Wow, this thing is really cool," Meira said recently. "I was flattered when Britto told me he was going to paint a helmet for me, and now that I've seen it I don't even know what to say. I have to thank him for doing this. It's an honor for me and Panther is always looking for ways to support Best Buddies. I have to say, if I win the Iowa race this weekend, Britto is going to be painting a lot more helmets."

Meira has already hinted that it's possible he will be the top bidder when the helmet goes up for auction at a date in the near future.

"I like this helmet a lot," he joked. "Best Buddies might be really happy because I might be the top bidder on this thing."

Panther team owner John Barnes and his wife -- Panther Education Center CEO Jane Barnes - have been longtime fans of Britto, and have several of his paintings hanging in their Indianapolis home. Most recently, the Barnes family purchased two paintings that Britto created for Super Bowl XLI. John and Jane attended the Super Bowl in Miami this year, a game where fellow Panther team owner Jim Harbaugh's former team, the Indianapolis Colts, claimed the NFL title.

"Britto's art is just beautiful," John Barnes explained. "Jane and I just love his work and we're honored that he agreed to paint one of Vitor's helmets for this weekend. The helmet itself is something else; I've never seen anything like it. Maybe if we're lucky someday he'll paint the entire No. 4 car for us."

-credit: pr

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers John Barnes , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing