What colour should that racecar be painted? For the amateur racer this can be a question of painting the car the same colour that they have had all their cars, ever. Or just choosing something that other racers are not using.
At the other end of the scale for the professional race team with corporate partners to oblige, getting that colour scheme right is now a task that involves designers, approvals, contractual considerations and managing the brand guidelines of each partner. And within all of that, there is the obvious need to create a livery that is eye-catching, that stands out from the crowd and wins the heart and minds of fans.
We’ve dipped into the archive to find some memorable examples of liveries we like, and those we think get the commercial job done.
For what it’s worth we think that John Welch was a pacesetter in this field; he always needed commercial backing to go racing and became supremely adept at finding and retaining partners. A relatively simple red, white and blue colour scheme evolved over a number of years to accommodate different brands and new cars.
In the 21st century there can be few better at this balancing act between commercial necessity and creative desire than Ken Block. His Hoonigan Racing cars tick all the boxes; they are striking, standout and yet still deliver on the corporate front.
Through his long and successful career, Kenneth Hansen was able to maintain a long relationship with Citroen, and his Supercar featured a gentle evolution of the livery.
Subaru’s classic blue and yellow livery is iconic and was interpreted perfectly in rallycross by Subaru USA.
Occasionally there is also the opportunity to play fast and loose with colours and partnerships. In the 2019 ARX season Steve Arpin had a different livery on his Loenbro Racing Fiesta at each event.