I’d like to ask you to take a moment to imagine something. You’ve just wrapped up your COVID-19 vaccine regimen and have planned your first trip to the race track in over a year. You arrive with your mask and your folding chair, prepared for the most satisfying weekend you’ve had in months. In the distance, you can hear it: the whine of an engine preparing to attack the corner you’ve so critically positioned yourself at. Your palms begin to sweat in anticipation; your heart begins to beat. Here it comes, you think. And then, there it is: a white car with red accents.
Okay, you think. Okay, that’s not bad.
And then comes another one. Another white car with red accents. And then another. And another. Oh, wait! Wait, this one is different! This one is red with white accents! My god, the visual relief! The change!
As the racing season approaches each year, I feel that I’m left making the same request: please, race teams, get a little more creative.
2021 has proved to be no exception. Adam Ismail wrote about Toyota’s World Endurance Championship hypercar that features a blocky red-and-white livery with some black accents up near the front. Then there’s the Chip Ganassi Racing IMSA Cadillac, an all-white beast with the tiniest splash of color on its fin. Since it doesn’t feature many sponsors, I’m just praying that we’re looking at a teaser and not the real thing.
But the red-white-black combo has, for some reason, been one of the defining features of prototype endurance racing over the past few years. Think about Porsche, Audi, and Toyota in WEC. But that’s not even all, because I’ve bitched about this problem before. Formula E liveries, which were once so bright and unique, fell victim to the red-livery plague. IndyCar and NASCAR generally have brighter liveries due to mid-season sponsor swaps, but even then, you’ll get the occasional red-white-black eyesore. And don’t even get me started on Formula One.
I get it. Red is an exciting color, one that conveys the red-blooded, dangerous nature of racing. White and black offer a stark, sophisticated contrast. These are your automotive brand’s colors. It’s a combination that has stood the test of time—but when everyone is using it, it just gets boring as hell. It has me thankful as hell for teams like Meyer Shank Racing, that slap some pink on their cars to provide visual relief.
It’s time to expand your horizons, race teams. There’s a whole color palette out there just begging to be used. You can afford to break out of your narrow red-white box for a while.