HRT is the latest team to unveil their 2016 livery.
HRT have gone with a very bright red, if not orange for the 2016 season. It immediately threw me back to the livery which adorned the HSV Dealer Team when they were sponsored by Toll. When you think about it, they are very, very similar. It has the orange sides, with the lion decal in black spreading across to the rear, as well as a black bonnet. An almost identical design in fact, to the car in which Rick Kelly won the championship, but for a darker shade of orange.
That said, it’s the usual Holden livery. However, it is definitely on of the better versions. In fact it looks pretty damn nice, apart from the green numbers. Whether it’s just for a vibrant contrast or a request from sponsor Monster, I’m not sure what they were thinking keeping it on the car. Perhaps it will grow on me.
The trend these days seems to be for teams to come up with short term sponsorships or just special liveries for the enduros, or even just for Bathurst. I’ve decided to go through the liveries the teams will be racing in this week, and look at what’s changed.
Holden Racing Team
The HRT machines will be promoting the latest Star Wars film at Bathurst this week, with two cars in similar yet opposite colour schemes. The cars will represent either side of the force, with car #2 in ‘dark side’ colours and #22 in a ‘light side’ scheme.
The car driven by Garth Tander and Warren Luff is a mean, aggressive livery with a smooth matte black paint job, bright red flashes and different Star Wars character images on either side of the car. Usually images don’t work on racing liveries, but they definitely get away with it here, as it matches the rest of the livery perfectly. The matte black is the most impressive part of the livery and everything else supports it well.
The other car, piloted by Jack Perkins and veteran Russell Ingall in James Courtney’s absence, is in matte silver/grey. It features the same red flashes and also has character images on either side, although they don’t quite seem to work as well. The problem with this livery is that it fades from silver to black quite suddenly, and it would certainly have been better off in all silver, giving the livery a more rounded look.
Charlie Schwerkolt Racing
Lee Holdsworth has partnered up with Frenchman Sébastien Bourdais for this year’s enduros. Starting in Sandown, the team had a new main sponsor Preston Hire. This livery design is virtually the same as it was prior, only that now main colours are silver, black and yellow. The colour combo is great; black and yellow usually look good on race cars. Something irks me about the silver though. It looks like they’ve just placed the design decal straight over a stock road car paint job. In terms of logos, Fuchs stands out in the wrong way as it doesn’t suit the livery at all. Oh and Hog’s Breath…I’ve been over that before.
Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport
The #222 driven by Nick Percat and Oliver Gavin also has some slight modifications. OPS Gateway replaced Repair Management Australia as the car’s main sponsor for Sandown and with it, a somewhat different livery. It’s an interesting design, mainly in white with a large chunk of black on the sides. It is complimented by some blue lightning bolts surrounding the OPS logo on the black sections and some neon red sections on the front, rear and wing. A nice livery but not exactly ground breaking, nor unique or a stand out.
Both Erebus cars are also in different liveries this weekend. After seemingly switching sponsors race by race throughout the season so far and awkwardly patching their logos on top of the standard silver and black designs, it’s a relief to see them have liveries tailor made to their sponsors.
Ash Walsh is partnered by Matt Le Brocq for the enduros and together they will drive a rather striking car at Bathurst. Pink liveries are hard to get right, but the Wendy’s sponsored machine is very well designed. Being a chain of stores that sell mainly ice cream, the hot pink is complimented cleverly with splashes of what I would call ice cream splashes on the hood and behind the wheel arches. The use of off white for the ice cream component of the livery matches the hot pink really well and thankfully the secondary, lighter pink colour is only used minimally as possible.
The #9 machine is driven by brothers Will and Alex Davison. This car is less of a stand out, but looks great in its own right. It’s a clean and simple design, with gold and red lines running along the edges of the car and breaking up the mainly black livery. The Penrite logo looks like it was made for a race car and looks great, especially on the bonnet. I must take away points for the sponsors on the side skirts, which are a little jarring with their chunky borders (nit-picking, I know), but on the other hand, the honeycomb grille painted in gold is a very nice touch.
Prodrive Racing Australia
For the Bathurst 1000, Prodrive will have a much publicised 3rd entry (or 5th, depending on how you look at it), driven by the all-female team of Renee Gracie and Simona de Silvestro. The livery, sponsored by Harvey Norman and HP, is a clean red and white effort, with silver dividing the two. The bright red used it very nice, but I’m not sure silver was the way to go. It seems to get lost depending on what angle you view the car from and perhaps charcoal would have been a better option, or perhaps a simple black. Chrome silver would have also been nice and although it would have had the same viewing angle problems, it could have been forgiven as it is a much more striking colour. Not sure how I feel about designs on the edge of the bonnet.
Four cars and four new liveries for Nissan.
Todd Kelly has had a number of different sponsors this season, but for Bathurst and beyond, his car, co-driven by Brit Alex Buncombe, is sponsored by Carsales. The design is quite similar to other Nissan liveries, but has some minor differences. The black, blue and white combo works very well, a shame it isn’t used more often. There’s not much to say about the design other than it is complex, yet quite attractive. A tough livery to describe. Props to Nissan for having every single sponsor on the car match the livery (apart from their own, but it’s on the windscreen so I’ll let it slide).
The #15, driven by Rick Kelly and David Russell isn’t too different to the usual car. Much like HRT, they have gone with matte black, which is a nice effect. For Bathurst, Jack Daniel’s have decided to promote their Zero Sugar product and with that, flashes of red are added to the usual black and white colour combination. It adds a touch of colour whilst still unmistakably being a Jack Daniels livery.
Much like last year, Michael Caruso will be sporting a retro themed livery. Partnered once again by Dean Fiore, the livery is a throwback to the 1990 Nissan in which Jim Richards won the championship. The livery itself is simple, but quite beautiful. The only real difference between the new and original liveries is that they have used chevrons rather than straight lines on the side in the transition from red to white to blue. Despite the huge difference in shape between the two cars, the livery works extremely well on both. Good to see a big number on the front door too. Great looking livery.
The #99 car driven by James Moffat and Taz Douglas also has a new livery. Sponsored by Mack for the enduros, the livery has changed since Sandown, with the red lines being removed, giving a design more unique to Mack, but one that isn’t very memorable. The livery is mainly white, with the black and silver on the side. Plenty of potential here but it doesn’t look like they’ve got the most out of it. It still looks like a semi blank canvas with work to do. The Mack logo, however, does look very good on the side of the car. Would like to see them tinker with this livery again before the Gold Coast 500.
Overall, I’m very happy to see Nissan make use of both complex and simple liveries.
DJR Team Penske
For the enduros, the Scott Pye/Marcos Ambrose machine was unveiled in a bright green Xbox sponsored livery. It brings back memories of the Xbox One Racing entry in the 2013 Bathurst 1000 as well as the car driven by Ambrose in the final round of last year’s championship. This time around the green is not metallic and is a much brighter shade of green. The design is simple, but uses the shape of the FG X Falcon well. A pleasing livery, but I’m not sure The Bottle-O is very happy about it!
Last but not least is Novocastrien Motorpsort. The second set of brothers in the field, Aaren and Drew Russell, will be at the wheel of the #62. The team, which is coming up from the Dunlop Series for the Bathurst 1000, will be racing in a VF Commodore. The livery is based on their Dunlop Series car, and is mainly royal blue and sponsored by Plus Fitness. Unfortunately, it does have the distinct look of a car from a lower category. The design is too simple and the sponsors all over the car seem to fighting for attention, rather than singing in harmony. However, it isn’t a disaster. The design on the roof and bonnet works well and the orange tinted headlights are a very nice touch. Shame about the design on the side, which looks like it was made in 5 minutes and brings the overall look of the livery down. As a small team with a small budget, I imagine their priorities were elsewhere, and that’s fair enough if you ask me.