GPA, A STORY, A NEW PARTNERSHIP, AND HELMETS MADE IN FRANCE
UFO Inc. and Michel Finquel, owner of the GPA brand, have signed a license for the production and marketing of GPA helmets. A long history between the two entities, experience, outstanding know-how, and the desire to manufacture high-end and customized helmets in a timely manner led Xavier Pillet, CEO of UFO to develop in-house production at his factory in France. Substantial capital has been invested to enable the company to open a new chapter in its history.UFO, A COMPANY THAT MASTERS THE DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE OF TECHNICAL AND HIGH END PRODUCTS IN FRANCE SINCE 1987
At its inception in 1987, UFO designed and manufactured specialized components for wind surfers. It then diversified and mastered the design and manufacture of high-tech components including the first carbon and epoxy rigid-inflatable boat (RIB). Besides its expertise acquired over time in advanced composites, the company controls its design and manufacturing tools, and it has also designed and manufactured many components for GPA.
GPA IS CELEBRATING THIS YEAR ITS 50 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE, EXPERTISE, AND PASSION
The GPA brand was created in 1964, originally focusing on the automobile racing industry. The top Formula 1 drivers, including Jackie Stewart, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost, Jacques Laffite, Gilles Villeneuve and many others, all wore GPA helmets.
The first real equestrian helmet was approved in 1998, and it was an unprecedented and enormous advancement in terms of safety and comfort. GPA became closely involved in this elite sport, sponsoring top riders and partnering with the most prestigious competitions and organizations in the world, as well as supporting young talent.
All of the 2008 Olympic medal winners, as well as three consecutive gold medals winners in2004, 2008, 2012,and many world and European champions have worn GPA helmets.
GPA then diversified into other riding disciplines: horse shows,racing, endurance, three day eventing, dressage, polo. specific models tailored for these disciplines used innovative designs and technology. These helmets include the “jock up”, the first jockey helmet, the “speed-air” which is light weight and ventilated, and the “first lady”,which is thee first helmet designed specifically for women. Future designs include a “town bike” helmet, a radical new design for the growing urban bicycle market.
Symbolizing its success, GPA helmets are often copied but not equaled.
GPA AND UFO, AN OBVIOUS COOPERATION AND PARTNERSHIP
The new partnership is a merger of the market expertise and experience with perfect control of design and manufacturing.
Having it all under one roof in France is an important factor for future growth, and for quality control.
The factory, in southern France now develops, assembles and controls the quality of GPA helmets. The helmets are laminated by hand with an extraordinary know how. Each helmet takes two days to build.
R&D projects now being finalized and patented will show amazing improvements in terms of safety, and should be available by year’s end.
In summary, the GPA/UFO team is motivated by keeping and developing its skills, and in innovating and serving the Equestrian market.