The crash helmet featuring a design based on the films of the late Paul Newman has raised nearly $41,000 for a charity close to the actor's heart after a successful internet auction closed this week.

The helmet, worn by IndyCar Series rookie Graham Rahal at this year's Mid-Ohio round, was finally snapped up for the princely sum of $41,900 as the eBay auction closed on Monday, with all proceeds going toward the new Flying Horse Farms children's camp in Ohio. The facility is part of the Hole In The Wall Camps programme for sick children started by Newman in 1988, which forms a lasting legacy to his generosity and charity. It will become the Midwest's first Hole in the Wall Camp when it opens

Rahal was part of the actor's Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team for just two seasons, but he experienced at first-hand how you can affect the world around you by reaching out on your own. In that spirit, the 19-year old driver commissioned and then auctioned off the specially-designed helmet - which carried reproductions of movie posters from some of Newman's most-loved films - to aid his employer's charity.

"I cannot express how happy I am that the helmet auction raised $40,900 for the Flying Horse Farms," Rahal said, "Paul set such a tremendous example of the impact that can be made by giving back and doing what you can for others, and I hope that he would have been proud of what I was able to accomplish with the help of [designer] Troy Lee, and that this will help Flying Horse Farms move one step closer to being able to bring some happiness to future campers."

Although Newman was aware of Rahal's decision to wear the helmet design mid-season, he sadly did not live long enough to realise how much interest - and capital - it would generate for his cause. The actor died at home in Connecticut on 26 September.

"As we work to build Flying Horse Farms with the inspiration from Paul Newman, we are blessed to have had Graham's foresight to have this tribute helmet designed to benefit the camp," said Flying Horse Farms CEO Mark Bivenour, "We are only sorry that Mr Newman won't be able to see the fruits of this auction, but we know his spirit will be with each camper. And many thanks to the anonymous winning helmet bidder for their generous contribution."