Livery of the Day – Jordan 198

Jordan had some of the most loved liveries of all time in Formula 1. Their Benson & Hedges sponsorship got off to a sketchy start with the gold cars which ended up looking brown on camera, before moving to the yellow that they became so well known for. There was a fantastic progression with these liveries, each year evolving just enough to stay fresh. While they were all great, I can only choose one to single out, so let’s look at the 198.

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1998 was a coming of age for the team. In came stalwart champion Damon Hill after a brief and very frustrating year with Arrows to partner the promising young German Ralf Schumacher. It turned out to be a great move, as Hill scored Jordan’s maiden Grand Prix victory (albeit controversially) on his way to 6th in the Championship. Jordan would finish 4th in the constructors championship, the best result in their history up to that point.

Damon Hill of Great Britain and Jordan Mugen Honda

For me, this livery is possibly the strongest of the B&H era, and probably my favourite ‘Buzzin Hornets’ iteration. The most important part of the livery is perfect here. The strong, warm yellow is so pleasant to look at in any light, where the fluorescent yellow in later versions was slightly jarring. This also meant the black accompanying it worked in perfect harmony, and there was plenty of it here. The large dark presence on the sidepods and nose left a strong impression, but ended perhaps to abruptly on the latter.

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Then there’s the part that many remember so fondly, even though it’s quite a minor part of the livery in terms of scale. The hornet on the side of the nose is a brilliant idea, replacing 1997’s snake, and I wonder if this or the non-tobacco slogan came first. It’s a fantastic graphic, despite not exactly being an attractive creature, but really sets the tone for the theme of the livery, which other sections add to so well to. It makes clever use of the front wing supports and ever so slightly bleeds onto the top of the nose, creating a 3D feel.

Damon Hill

The creativity in this design comes to the fore when looking from a higher angle. The jagged, angled, black stripes work brilliantly along the engine cover, as they do creeping over the top of the sidepods, bringing the hornet theme to life in exceptional fashion. Even the straight, rectangular Mugen Honda section fits in nicely when it really has no right to.

Damon Hill

The black wings with yellow end plates are exactly what is needed to complete this design. It helps the nose blend into the wing, although as mentioned above, I’d have loved to see this section worked into the yellow of rest of the a little more softly.

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It’s a great looking car from every angle. The design makes perfect use of every curve and crevice, and despite having potential to be a brilliant two tone livery, the MasterCard colours blend in very well and end up being very welcome third and fourth colours.

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Livery of the Day – Jordan 198

Livery of the Day – Toyota GT-One 1998

The Toyota GT-One was a car first introduced to me back on Gran Turismo 2. It was a classic game that I spent years playing and one that showed me just how many cars existed and in how many forms. The GT-One certainly stuck out with it’s unique looks and super fast, super grippy on track performance. Gran Turismo 4 implanted this car further in my memory, buying the special all black version from the used car section, but it was red one the stuck with me.

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Toyota entered the Le Mans in 1998 with this beast in the GT1 class. The rules stated that as this was the GT class and not the Prototype class, the cars needed to be based on a road car. So Toyota built the GT-One and afterwards, built the minimum number of road cars; one. A cheeky way of getting around the rules, but completely legal.

1998 Le Mans 24 Hours

The car was super fast and was an outside favourite to take the outright win, and although it did impress in the race, it never did achieve a victory. Regardless, the car lives long in the memory, thanks in part to the livery.

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The livery gave birth (at least I think!) to Toyota’s now iconic tear design. This version was a red base, with tears sweeping from the front of the car to the back, as if the sheer speed of the car had ripped the paint right off. At the time it was a very unique design and looked completely in harmony with itself, despite the variety of the shapes and sizes of the tears.

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The shape of a car lends itself to a design and can often be the determining factor, as to whether or not a good livery can be made in the first place. A car like this has no problem. The beautiful sweeping curves, especially the downturn fro the roof to the tail, are nothing short of sexy, and the design makes full use, giving it a speedy look in the process.

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Unfortunately the GT-One was entered in just two Le Mans 24 hour races, with a far more basic and bland livery on the cars for 1999. This was the result of Marlboro sponsorship, and I didn’t put two and two together until I read that fact, despite it being such an obviously Marlboro design. Anti-tobacco laws in France meant that the worded logo could not appear on the car. The silver lining was that the same group went on to form the Toyota F1 project.

Toyota F1 would rekindle and create the tradition of the tear livery, whilst also continuing the tradition of never reaching their potential. The former frustrated me for years (6 years in fact), before the slight design changed in 2008 kept me from going nuts. Despite all this, it was great to see Toyota back at top level Motorsport with their Le Mans entry in 2012 and hope that they do achieve the victory that has eluded them all these years, especially after the heartbreaking last lap failure whilst in the lead this year. Would be nice to have them back in F1 too.

Livery of the Day – Toyota GT-One 1998

Livery of the Day – Arrows A19

Arrows Grand Prix had a tremendous reputation for their impressive liveries, at least in my book. More often than not, their cars were a pleasure to look at, showed off their sponsors well and stood out from the crowd.

Arrows kept a hold of the well-funded Brazilian Pedro Diniz and brought in Finn Mika Salo for the 1998 season. The 1997 livery was a beauty, so it was interesting that they decided to change it entirely, despite having almost exactly the same sponsors on the car the next season. While it’s a bit of a shame that blue and white livery had not lasted more than a season, what followed it was just as easy on the eye.

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It’s uncommon in Formula 1 for a team to change its main colour without the arrival or departure of a main sponsor. However, that is what Arrows decided to do, going with a completely two tone livery (spare a small bit of red on the nose for a sponsor, as well a miniscule amount on the Bridgestone logo). The main colour was jet black, with the secondary colour, white, shown through the sponsor logos. To put up such a plain car is a big risk. It can often look empty, uninspired and boring. However, it was none of those things and it looks all class.arrows3

What’s important in this livery is that all the sponsors’ logos work well together. All are mostly lettering, but are placed perfectly on the car and being all in white makes the car brilliantly uniform. Danka, Zepter and Parmalat, despite all being the same colour are easily differentiated and stand out superbly on the car. Apart from the logo placement, there’s no real ‘design’ to speak of. It’s almost unfair that this livery, whether through laziness, cuts in the budget, or perhaps a stroke of genius, looks as good as it does.

What did break up the monotony were the drivers’ helmets; especially Salo’s. The bright sky blue on his helmet was a massive contrast to the jet black of the car and it looked superb poking out of the cockpit. Actually, kudos to Salo, as his helmet looked great in almost every car his was in, especially this one and the contrasting reds of Ferrari and Toyota. A simple, bold helmet design. Something I resent the most about modern Formula 1 is the busy helmet liveries.

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It’s funny how an all-white car can be perceived as plain and boring, but an all-black car is striking and classy. I’m surprised this route hasn’t been taken by more teams, especially considering how fondly remembered this and the 2007 Honda winter testing livery are.

Livery of the Day – Arrows A19