In Memoriam – Arnold “Arnie” Kuhns

Arnold “Arnie” Kuhns, safety pioneer and founder of SFI Foundation, passed away peacefully on June 1, surrounded by family. He was 83.

Arnie had a unique background that blended his engineering, production, and business skills into one talented individual. In 1984, Arnie was approached by his peers in the automotive industry to lead the newly formed SFI Foundation to address the increasing concern of inferior parts that posed a risk to safety at the racetrack. Arnie developed what was at the time an innovative system, creating minimum performance testing standards for products to help reduce the frequent failures of parts experienced during that era.

In the beginning, SFI had only two employees managing four product standards for one sanctioning body.  Now, SFI testing and certification has grown to a steadfast program with more than one hundred quality assurance specifications that are utilized by hundreds of sanctioning bodies internationally.

As a result of Arnie’s hard work and unrelenting belief in doing the right thing, thousands of parts have been tested to safety standards to prove their worth and reliability. That has undoubtedly led to countless lives saved on the racetrack.

He was well-respected in the motorsport safety community due to his high level of integrity. Along the way, Arnie was honored with the Sports Car Club of America George Snively Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports Safety (1995), the United States Auto Club Jack O’Neal Award for Motorsports Safety (1996), inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame (2002), awarded an NHRA Wally for Valued Personal Contributions to the Sport of Drag Racing and High Performance Industries (2002), SEMA Motorsports Parts Manufacturers Council (MPMC) Hall of Fame (2016), British Drag Racing Hall of Fame’s Lucas Oil Global Achievement Award (2018), and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) John Melvin Motorsport Safety Award (2021).  During his career he served as President of the International Council of Motorsports Sciences (ICMS) and was an active member of the NFPA 610 Committee for Safety at Motorsports Venues and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine.

As a person, Arnie was a kind family man and served as a role model to those who worked with him and knew him personally. He will be greatly missed by all.


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