A blue patch with white embroidered letters that spell out "sparco," all in lower case – you've seen it so often you ignore it, it's such a common site on drivers' suits and racing seats. But there's so much about Sparco that probably few know - us included.

The 35-year-old Italian firm was started by two rally drivers after the FIA mandated fireproof clothing for racers to combat a spate of injuries and deaths due to fires. One of the founders just happened to be the son of an Italian businessman who made equipment for fire departments and knew all about Nomex. Voila, the marriage of "safety and Italian design" was commenced.

Sparco does more than make suits and own-brand seats, though. The "largest manufacturer of safety equipment in the world," the company produces seats and seat forms for manufacturers like Aston Martin and Ferrari, and it makes carbon parts for Bugatti and Lamborghini. You can get the rest of the story by watching the video below.