Race of the year? It’s certainly one of the biggest events on the Motorsport calendar, and this year wasn’t a let down. How good was it to see all around nice guy Takuma Sato win it all! Throw in a few wild crashes (Dixon is a very lucky boy) and you have an awesome 200 laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Let’s take a look at the new or one-off liveries that adorned the cars for the 101st running of the famous Brickyard 500.
A.J Foyt Enterprises
#40 Zach Veach
Veach was one of four rookies in the field this year, racing for A.J Foyt. While it’s exactly the same design as usual for the team, you wouldn’t instantly make that association, given the purple for sponsor ‘Women In Tech’ taking over the usual red and blue sections.
However, the purple doesn’t quite have the same effect; a second colour would another layer of interest to the livery. It ends up looking basic, when the original does not have this problem.
#20 Takuma Sato
After heartbreak in 2012, Sato put it all behind him to extraordinarily win the 2017 Indianapolis 500, and I couldn’t be more pleased. His livery was slightly different too, with the red highlights changed in favour of mint green, which I believe to be for sidepod sponsor Ruoff.
It’s a unique colour which is great, but doesn’t quite sing like the red did and is really missing a punch of vibrant colour.
#27 Marco Andretti
United Fiber & Data painted Marco’s car blue and white for the 500. In a pleasant variation of the Andretti design, we see an almost two-tone livery, pulled of simply and effectively. The shade of blue chosen is beautiful and makes for a great combination with the white.
The stylised wings on the top of the sidepods are a neat touch, a great implementation of an element of the sponsor’s logo on the car, and look fantastic from above. A lot of white, but not too much, with just enough blue keeping this interesting.
Chip Ganassi Racing
#9 Scott Dixon
Camping World sponsored the #9 car for the big race, but not for the better. This livery is weaker in every way compared to the usual. It is completely basic, with the design being way too simplistic. Just a single line from the rear, wrapping over in front of the cockpit. It’s actually very similar to Sato’s livery, but at least that design follows the shapes and angles of the car, whilst this is just a straight line.
There is a yellow section separating the blue and white along the side, but it doesn’t do much in terms of good looks or excitement.
Dale Coyne Racing
#19 Ed Jones
No big design change here, just a small colour change with the addition of FXTM as a sponsor. This brings a tennis ball green in place of the usual Scouting blue. It doesn’t look better or worse, just different.
#24 Sage Karam
Here’s a stunning classic look for Karam. Black always looks sleek and classy as a main colour, with sponsor Mecum Auctions deciding on a bright neon yellow as a secondary colour. This is placed along the side of the nose section all the way into the sidepod intakes, whilst only a sliver is carried onto the top of the sidepods. This section is split from the black with a thin red line.
There are lots of lovely little yellow and red flashes on the car, including the edges of the wings, the mirrors, airbox and fuel nozzle. A very pleasant visual experience overall!
#63 Pippa Mann
Pippa is back with her mandatory pink Indy 500 livery. Supporting a great cause in Susan G. Komen, the Dale Coyne design looks fantastic in pink and white.
It’s still one of my favourite designs on grid, and proves to be versatile, looking good in just about every colour combination so far.
Ed Carpenter Racing
#21 J.R. Hildebrand
Hildebrand ran an identical livery to his 2016 entry. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it! Still a great colour combo and the design works a lot better with the blue and white than the green and gold on the Fuzzy’s cars.
#88 Gabby Chaves
No main sponsor on the #88, so a great opportunity for the team to get something creative on the grid. They didn’t disappoint, choosing some interesting and well matching colours in cyan, white and yellow. The design isn’t too complicated but very does well to not make the car look empty, given the lack of sponsorship.
The wavy design along the side is a little GP3ish, but not enough to detract from the overall good looks of the car. Fresh!
#11 Spencer Pigot & #17 Sebastián Saavedra
Pigot headed to Juncos Racing for the Indy 500 and was joined by Saavedra, with the team stepping up from Indy Lights for the big race. The colours match the Indy Lights team, although the lovely metallic green, orange and white are laid out very differently. It’s a linear design, but accounts for the curves of the car, meaning the lines look straight from the front rather than the side.
The colours give vibes of Force India from a few years ago. Not a huge fan of the giant logo sprawling across the side and top of the sidepods (on Pigot’s car), but it seems to be how some teams are making use of the space on the skinny sidepods.
Lazier Racing Partners
#44 Buddy Lazier
Lazier’s livery is almost identical to last year, with the exception of the wings, as well as having next to no sponsorship this time. It certainly benefits from the latter, because the number of mismatching stickers on the car really detracted from what was already a very basic design. A slight improvement.
McLaren Honda Andretti
#29 Fernando Alonso
Alonso was the talk of the town for pretty much the entire month leading up to the 500, given the unprecedented circumstances of on of the best drivers in the world missing a championship Formula 1 race to participate. Fate had a Honda engine let down Alonso once again in the race, but didn’t the car look great?
The livery was based on a previous McLaren entry in the 500, with only minimal Andretti influences.
To me, this is what McLaren’s F1 cars should have looked like this season. A simple almost one colour livery, proudly displaying McLaren’s gorgeous Papaya orange over the entire car. I’m glad we got to see this one way or another. The blue highlights are true to the original and add another colour, although I’m not sure it’s entirely necessary with a main colour that good, especially with the sponsors all in black.
Michael Shank Racing Andretti
#50 Jack Harvey
This is probably the most interesting livery of the 500. We’ve got a black base, supported by yellow and pink in even parts, as well as some white piping. They work surprisingly well together, and the layout definitely helps.
We see the majority of the yellow on the engine cover and cockpit with pink along the rest of the side. The sponsors all mostly match which is a great plus. An unexpectedly pretty and very interesting livery.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing
#16 Oriol Servià
Servia was back again this year in what looked confusingly like a Team Pesnke rip off livery (forgive me if there’s a relation I don’t know about). The colours are OK, although not particularly strong in this layout.
I do like seeing the nose colours being split on the top and side, but there isn’t a lot else to say about this. Very basic and not much to speak about.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
#77 Jay Howard
I’m sure a few more people know who Jay Howard is after the Indy 500 than before! His incident, propelling Dixon into the air was incredible, and glad to see no-one was injured. The livery on the #50 was great. Whilst it’s another blue and white car, it’s similar to Hildebrand’s in using a reflective blue, but more of it.
The design is nice too; the blue starting at the nose before spreading around the cockpit and all the way to the rear of the car. With the addition of the blue on the engine cover, a nice strip of white is left along the sides and cockpit, as well as the sidepods, really helping Lucas pop and allowing for a strong, even look.
#1 Simon Pagenaud
Pagenaud was back in his Menards livery for the big race, which as I’ve said previously is a very good take on the Penske design. Could see it from a mile away!
#2 Josef Newgarden
Yet another iteration of the Penske design, this time mainly in black with silver and blue highlights for Hum. Not sure if the silver is a Hitachi or PPG sponsorship requirement, but it really throws the livery out of balance, where black or blue wings would have looked a lot better.
The single blue line on black looks fantastic and makes the livery look just a little bit classy. Great looking car, just wish the silver wasn’t on it, or in a more subtle fashion.
#3 Hélio Castroneves
This was a weird choice. Out with the Penske design which I’m happy to see, but not like this! Mostly white, but with an odd shade of gold which looks less than fresh. It matches well with the white I guess, but I’m not a fan of the gold. The design too is a little confused, especially with the solid black sections on the gold, which don’t look good.
The black/red pinstripes alone separating the white would have been enough, and would’ve looked a lot better on their own. Not sure why they couldn’t match the gold on the car to his overalls! Would’ve opened the car up, as the shade used it dull.
#22 Juan Pablo Montoya
Finally, JPM was back, showing just how good Newgarden’s car could have looked. The all black livery is fantastic, with just some simple green and white piping along the sides, and some green flashes on the mirrors and camera. Using the template well.