Racing are too often just rolling advert boards with no real effort spent to make them look good. Some sponsors however really spend quite a lot of time making the cars look pretty. This is where liveries come in, specific paint jobs/colour schemes designed by the main sponsors of the team and sometimes they are so good that they become real classics of the racing world. Many of the most popular have graced multiple racing cars and become instantly recognisable regardless of which vehicle is wearing it. I am going to list my top ten racing liveries, enjoy!
Photo: Anthony Muller
Here is one you may not have come across, particularly if you don’t follow any of the American motor sport series. Falken are an automotive tyre company who formed a motor sport division to develop their line of racing tyres and also to increase public awareness of the brand and boy did they achieve that second point.
It’s a fairly simple colour scheme but the bright bold colours are easily recognisable and really stand out on the race track. They have covered Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ford Mustangs and Nissan Drift cars to name but a few and they all look fantastic.
Photo: Thomas Helbig
Surprise! Motorbike! I couldn’t do one of these lists without putting something motorbike related in, they are my first love after all. Typically because of the low surface area for paint schemes on bikes they tend not to get any decent racing liveries but the Repsol Honda bikes look great, in fact they look better than any of the cars with this livery on.
You will probably recognise this colour scheme as being the bike that was underneath Marc Marquez in his record setting MotoGP season last year. You may also recognise it because Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa rode them in their very successful season in 2013.
Photo: Jeffery Keeton
Now technically this isn’t so much a livery, more a paint colour but it is a very famous colour in the racing sphere. It may be a popular colour but no car wears it better than Aston Martin in my opinion and the small orange highlights on their cars really set the whole thing off.
British racing green? Check. British car? Check. Union flag? Check. That is a winning formula in my books.
Photo: Dan KLar
This is another one from across the pond, one that unless you are particularly into motor sport you probably have not seen. Patron is a Mexican alcohol manufacturer and their tequila is particularly popular. They are currently title sponsors of the American Endurance Cup but they are also lead sponsors of Extreme Speeds Motorsports team which is where we get to see their awesome liveries.
The combination of black and bright green is distinctive anyway but the flowing green lines really compliment the car well. Especially when they follow the lines of the aerodynamic body, it looks like the whole paint job is flowing.
This really is one of my favourites; I would have had it higher had it been on more than one vehicle at a time. BMW are really great at producing art cars, they have had numerous in their time and they all look fantastic but this one is my personal favourite.
Photo: Thomas ‘xxxxx77’
It looks amazing from any angle with all of those colours but from the front is looks like the car is travelling at warp speed. The nice thing about these cars is that they do race, where others might just use them as PR stunts, BMW actually races them. Jeff Koon’s for example raced in the 24 Hour LeMans although unfortunately did not finish.
This one will be a no-brainer for many reading, the classic lotus racing. They use British racing green again but this time pair it with yellow to create one of the more recognisable paint jobs in the racing world, particularly in the UK.
Photo: Bill Cook
My absolutely favourite use of this paint job is the one pictured above, on their Lotus Ford Racer. Firstly I think that car looks awesome, it’s the epitome of simplicity in racing car design and really is a true classic. The yellow engine bay and exhausts looks amazing. Secondly, the simple car and colour scheme work great together.
As evil as they may be, cigarette companies know how to market, it is undeniable. They have spent bazillions in the past on finding out which colours attract people to their packets and this translates very well indeed to racing liveries. The classic Marlboro colours on the Mclaren F1 cars look fantastic.
My favourite will always be Senna’s McLaren, due to the very simply nature of F1 cars back then and the blocky colour scheme that worked so well on it. That being said, as you can see this livery looks great on any car that wears it. Simplicity is key.
Photo: Falk Lademann
I can hear the angry mob approaching as I write this for not putting the Gulf livery at the top of this list. It is widely considered the best racing livery around and has been done again and again and again. That is the reason it isn’t at the top of my list, it’s been overdone. It still looks amazing don’t get me wrong, that combination of light blue and orange just works, there is no denying it otherwise it would not have been on so many cars.
Photo: Chad Horwedel
The Gulf livery really became popular on the Ford GT40 where it does look fantastic and also on the Porsche 917. It has been recreated time and again by other teams sponsored by Gulf but for me it isn’t the best. Maybe it’s just me.
Another hugely famous colour scheme here. Martini have done it all including F1, Touring cars, Rally cars and LeMans and their colour scheme of a white/silvery body with dark blue, red and light blue lines is instantly recognisable by any motor sport fan in the world.
Photo: Fred Ross Lord
My favourite use of the livery is on the Lancia rally cars, which incidentally are the cars that have won the most titles for Martini Racing. The boxy nature of the Lancia’s looks great with the lines of the colour scheme.
Photo: David Merrit
My absolute favourite livery, it is so simple but so effective. Lotus have had some really great colour schemes on their cars but this one is the best in my opinion. Black racing cars look great on the track, something about the black makes them looks very menacing and I can only imagine it looks even more menacing if them are coming up in your rear view mirror.
The Lotus F1 JPS car is an all time classic and the most recent Lotus livery is based heavily on it. I also love this livery because I had the original Lotus JPS car as a Scalextric so it plays up to my nostalgic side.
That’s it then. That’s all you get. Those are my favourite liveries, if you have any opinions or suggestions I would love to talk about it in the comments!
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Less motor sports? Sure why not! How about a guide on how to ready your car for that baby that’s on the way?