List of international auto racing colors
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2008)|
From the beginning of organised motor sport events, in the early 1900s, until the late 1960s, before commercial sponsorship liveries came into common use, vehicles competing in Formula One, sports car racing, touring car racing and other international auto racing competitions customarily painted their cars in standardized racing colours that indicated the nation of origin of the car or driver. These were often quite different from the national colours used in other sports or in politics.
The colours most likely have their origin in the national teams competing in the Gordon Bennett Cup, which was held annually in 1900-1905. Although colours were not assigned every year, the competition in 1900 assigned blue to France, yellow to Belgium, white to Germany and red to the USA, and the competitions in 1903 and 1905 added green for the UK. Colours were definitely established in the 1920s and 1930s era of Grand Prix motor racing an listed by the AiACr (forerunner of the FIA), when blue Bugatti of France and the red Alfa Romeo of Italy dominated many races. Colours were defined in terms of body, bonnet, chassis and numbers (including background). When the chassis was no longer exposed, the chassis colour was shown in various ways, e.g. the parallel blue stripes of the Cunningham team and other US teams/drivers in the 1950s.
In the 1930s the Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union teams did not apply the traditional German white paint, and the bare sheets of metal gave rise to the term Silver Arrows. Porsche in the 1950s and 1960s also retained the silver colouring, although other German teams in the 1960s (such as BMW) returned to white paint. Other German manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Audi (Auto Union) used silver paint when they returned to international racing in the 1990s. It is not known why the German teams in the 1930s did not apply white paint, although a myth developed that it was due to the need to be under a weight limit; however the first "Silver Arrow" raced in 1932, before a weight limit was imposed.
In the spring of 1968, sponsorship liveries, which already had been used in the United States for some years, were also allowed in international racing. Team Gunston was the first Formula One team to paint their cars in the livery of their sponsors when they entered a private Brabham for John Love, painted in the colours of Gunston cigarettes, in the 1968 South African Grand Prix. British Racing Green soon vanished from the cars of British private teams, although the Rosso Corsa used by Scuderia Ferrari and Alfa Romeo has been in continuous use to the present day, albeit in a modified form.
The annual A1 Grand Prix series of 2005-2009 featured national teams, driving identical cars with differing colour schemes. Initially, most schemes were based on the respective national flags; some teams with different traditional sporting colours have since switched, including A1 Team Australia and A1 Team India. The old national racing colors were not so popular among these teams.
Although this colour scheme was abandoned by the FIA for most racing disciplines in the 1970s, it is still informally used, especially by Italian, British and German automakers and teams that want to emphasize their racing traditions. Often, sponsorship agreements respect this. Many concept cars follow the color scheme, and many amateur racers prefer them as well.
These have stuck as a pattern, and are common outside of international Grand Prix racing.
|D||Germany||White||Red||Benz, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche|
|Silver (or bare metal (Silver Arrows))||Red||Mercedes-Benz, Auto Union, Veritas, Borgward, EMW, Porsche, Audi|
|F||France||Blue (Bleu de France)||White||Delage, Bugatti, Talbot, Delahaye, Matra, Panhard, Alpine, Gordini, Peugeot, Ballot|
|GB||United Kingdom||Green (British racing green)||White||Jaguar, Vanwall, Cooper, Lotus, Brabham, BRM, Bentley, Aston Martin|
|I||Italy||Red (Rosso corsa)||White||Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, Ferrari, Abarth, O.S.C.A., Officine Meccaniche|
|J||Japan||White with red "sun"||Black||Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Super Aguri|
|USA||United States||White, Blue lengthwise stripes ("Cunningham racing stripes"), (originally) Blue underframe||Blue||Cunningham, Ford, NART, Shelby, Chaparral|
|Blue (Imperial blue), White lengthwise stripes, White underframe||White||AAR Eagle, Ford, Shelby, Scarab|
The following schemes have been adopted for various countries at various times:
|Code||Country||Body||Bonnet||Other Colours||Numbers||Illustrated example|
|A||Austria||Blue||Black on white|
|ARG||Argentina||Blue||Yellow||Chassis: Black||Red on White|
|BR||Brazil||Pale yellow||Chassis/Wheels: Green. Sometimes, Brazilian cars featured lengthwise green stripes||Black|
|BUL||Bulgaria||Green||White||Red on white|
|C||Cuba||Yellow||Black||Black on white|
|CDN||Canada||Traditional colours are white and green parallel stripes||After the Canadian flag was changed in 1965 Red with wide lengthwise white stripes became popular||Black|
|D||Germany||White||bare metal (aluminium, "Silver Arrows")||Red|
|DK||Denmark||Silver-grey||National flag as a lengthwise stripe on bonnet||Red on white|
|E||Spain||Red||Yellow||Chassis/Springs: Red||Black on yellow or white on red|
|ET||Egypt||Pale violet||Red on white|
|FIN||Finland||White||Two blue stripes on bonnet shaping a Latin cross||Black on white|
|GB||United Kingdom||Green||Scottish entrant Rob Walker used dark blue with a white noseband and Ecurie Ecosse also used dark blue; the Arrol Johnston team pre-World War 1 used navy tartan||White|
|GR||Greece||Pale Blue||Two white lengthwise stripes on bonnet||Black on white|
|HJK||Jordan||Brown||Black on white|
|IRL||Ireland||Green||Horizontal band of orange all around||White|
|J||Japan||Ivory White||Red disk on bonnet||White on black|
|L||Luxembourg||Tricolor lengthwise stripe (red/white/blue) from front to rear||Black on white|
|MAS||Malaysia||Yellow||White||Black on white/Black|
|MC||Monaco||White||Red lengthwise band around car||Black on white|
|MEX||Mexico||Gold||Different designs in royal blue (Not strictly an X on the bonnet)||Black on white (not red on white)|
|NZ||New Zealand||Green and silver||Black and silver|
|PL||Poland||White||Underframe: Red||Red on white|
|RCH||Chile||Red||Blue||Underframe: White||Blue/red or red on white|
|S||Sweden||Blue bottom, yellow top, three cross bands of blue on top of bonnet||White|
|T||Thailand||Pale blue with yellow horizontal band around body and bonnet||Wheels: Pale yellow||White on blue|
|U||Uruguay||Pale blue with large red band around the lower part of bonnet||White on black|
|USA||United States||White with blue lengthwise stripes||Underframe: Blue||Blue on white|
|ZA||South Africa||Gold||Green||Black on yellow|
- Racing stripe on notes about US racing color.
- "Sporting Regulations". A1 GP. Retrieved 2008-09-01.[dead link]
- "Australia's new colours". A1 GP. 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-09-01.[dead link]
- "A1 Team India brings home 2 points with 9th position in the Feature Race". A1 Team India. 2007-10-14. Archived from the original on 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- Doug Nye: "McLaren, The Grand Prix, Can-Am and Indy Cars", page 73
McLaren - The Cars by model number
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: International automobile racing colors|
- "The colour in racing". Road & Track. 1960.