Round-Up – 2018 IndyCar Field

As with Supercars last week, let’s check out how the IndyCar field will line up in 2018. Also as with Supercars, I’m assuming half of these won’t apply for round two, but oh well.

A.J. Foyt Enterprises

#4 Matheus Leist & #14 Tony Kanaan

AJ Foyt 2018 2

After four seasons with Chip Ganassi, TK has moved to A.J. Foyt racing and will form an all Brazilian team with Rookie Matheus Leist, who finished a strong 4th in Indy Lights last year. The livery on the perennially unsuccessful ABC car has remained the same once more, which would be more disappointing if the livery was poor.

AJ Foyt 2018 1

Thankfully it still looks OK, but what better time to try something new than with the introduction of the new chassis of the NEXT car.

★★★

Andretti Autosport

#26 Zach Veach

Andretti Veach 1

Zach Veach is another of a significant amount of rookies this season, and is driving for Andretti. Andretti Autosport have continued with the same team design this year, so it’s just a few colour changes to suit new sponsors, for example here with the #26, using charcoal, burnt orange (which was used well by Faraday in Formula E last year), and baby blue, which is very uncommon in Motorsport.

Andretti Veach 2

The burnt orange colour is for the corporate colours of Group One Thousand One, and wish there was more of it on the car rather than the charcoal. The baby blue is a bit of an odd touch, but works well enough and could have been more interesting with a greater presence on the car. However, not the most thrilling to look at.

★★☆

#27 Alexander Rossi

Andretti Rossi 1

Rossi came out of round one as the villain after the late race drama, but his car is near identical to St Pete last year. There is perhaps a slight pull back in the amount of red, but other than that, nothing of significance to report.

Andretti Rossi 2

Still a great colour combo though, so happy to see it retained.

★★★☆

#28 Ryan Hunter-Reay

Andretti Hunter-Reay 1

As above, it’s an unchanged livery for RHR, in his familiar DHL colours.

Andretti Hunter-Reay 2

Just a good colour combination. Bold and vibrant.

★★★☆

Andretti Herta Autosport with Cerb-Agajanian

#98 Marco Andretti

Andretti Herta Andretti 1

The colours which famously took Sato to the Indy 500 victory last year are back at Andretti thanks to Ruoff, this time for Marco. This time, however, the colour placement has been wiser, making the livery a lot more interesting. The colours have been inverted, so it’s blue that takes the section in front of the cockpit and engine cover, whilst also making the sidepods blue, leaving a nice white strip in the middle and through to the nose.

Andretti Herta Andretti 2

There are also some extra teal sections, most notably in front of the rear wheel and front wing endplate. These add some extra interest to what would otherwise be an attractive but slightly basic blue and white livery.

★★★☆

Carlin

#23 Charlie Kimball

Carlin Kimball 1

Kimball has moved on from Chip Ganassi, and has joined the new team Carlin, who have been racing in the junior Formulae for a number of years, as well as Indy Lights for the last three. The good news for us livery enthusiasts is that while Tresiba has followed Kimball across, significant improvements have been made! The most important change is that grey is gone, and has been replaced by a much darker charcoal colour. This is just a much more appealing shade on a racing car and works far better with the tennis ball green.

Carlin Kimball 2

Speaking of which, the green/yellow bits have also been improved. The multi shade stripes have stuck around but look much better in this variation. This pattern has also been used in the green only on the charcoal, which looks fantastic toward the rear.

★★★★

#59 Max Chilton

Carlin Chilton 2

Max Chilton has also moved to the new team, for which he raced in British F3 and Indy Lights. He has also retained his sponsor, however, the livery has not really improved. That isn’t to say it’s significantly worse, but it does have more of a generic, GP2 feel to it than the previous design.

Carlin Chilton 1

The shapes used are pleasing and follow the natural flow of the chassis well, but there’s a lot more silver on this occasion, and missing the light blue which was a nice element of the 2017 livery.

★★★★

Chip Ganassi Racing

#9 Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Dixon 1

As unbelievable as it sounds, Scott Dixon will race for Chip Ganassi for the 17th straight season in CART/Indycar in 2018, and only for the second time without a Target livery! PNC Bank has stepped in for NTT Data/GE this year and produced a deceptively simple design. It is in essence, a simple gradient from orange to blue to white. The gradient itself, however, is an intricate tessellated design at closer inspection.

Chip Ganassi Dixon 2

The distribution of colour is also good, and the addition of a couple of sharp lines, in front of the cockpit and on the shark fine, are a welcome touch to break up the abundant gradient theme.

★★★☆

#10 Ed Jones

Chip Ganassi Jones 1

Ed Jones has moved from Dale Coyne Racing, and while his livery is also simplistic, it takes a completely different approach. This livery is clean. The shade of blue is strong enough to not require a significant amount of any other colour and this is exploited well by the designer, with the only other colour being the dark blue in front of the cockpit, and the simple chrome silver stripe along the edge of the sidepod.

Chip Ganassi Jones 2

Following these lines works incredibly well, and the two tone nature of the car gives it an organic feel that any clean freak can appreciate. Less is more.

★★★★

Dale Coyne Racing

#19 Zachary Claman DeMelo & Pietro Fittipaldi

Dale Coyne Claman de Melo 1

Dale Coyne brings two rookies into the Championship this year, along with a very rarely used colour in what I can only describe as light green or mint. The design makes good use of the shape of the car for the top section, but annoyingly ignores it on the sidepod. They would have been better off using the #10 above as an example here for this section.

Dale Coyne Claman de Melo 2

That said, it is a fairly simple livery, with just two large swooping sections really, looking as though it was put together fairly quickly. The overall quality does suffer for this as does the combo of yellow, mint and grey.

★★☆

Dale Coyne Racing with Jimmy Vasser-Sullivan

#18 Sébastien Bourdais

Dale Coyne Bourdais 1

Who’d have thought this guy would have won again in St Pete? He matched his 2017 result after coming back from that horrific Indy crash. Let’s hope this form can carry on for the rest of the season. Brand new livery for the #18 this year, moving away from the solid, simple livery to something a little busier.

Dale Coyne Bourdais 2

We have some very bright yellow, accompanied by black in a striped design akin to caution tape. It’s executed quite well so it doesn’t look tacky at all with the symmetrical design (apart from the rear wing annoyingly) designed purposefully. The face on the side of the nose is a nice touch too.

★★★★

Ed Carpenter Racing

#20 Jordan King & Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter King 1

Jordan King is another rookie in 2018, joining Ed Carpenter Racing, who have dropped what to me was a very recognisable green on the Fuzzy’s Vodka livery. This new colour scheme gives me Jack Daniel’s vibes, but in a good way.

Ed Carpenter King 2

Black almost always works well on simple liveries, and this is no exception. The small white sections are basic and lack any flare, but work well enough to at least this above average.

★★☆

#21 Spencer Pigot

Ed Carpenter Pigot 1

The #21 of Spencer Pigot likely took no inspiration from, but has some striking similarities to the 2003 Minardi PS03. It’s actually scarily similar the more compare them. From the colour scheme overall (including the awkward green logos), to the diagonal shaped section along the side, to the white and red section on the side of the nose but not on top, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t even some unconscious influence in the design of this livery.

Ed Carpenter Pigot 2

That said, what an odd choice it would be to replicate, if that was indeed the case! It is a bang average design at the end of the day, but gets some super unexpected but strong nostalgia points, considering this was the first season I started watching F1 full time.

★★☆

Harding Racing

#88 Gabby Chaves

Harding Chaves 2

Precious little sponsorship on the #88 of Gabby Chaves, but Harding Racing have followed on from their 2017 Indy 500 effort in producing an interesting design given the opportunity. The colour theme has also carried through, with an nice cyan colour accompanied by a darker yellow or perhaps orange on this occasion. The ‘yolk’ in front of the cockpit is odd but works in filling up some space.

Harding Chaves 1

What helps this design stand out is the white striped section on top of the sidepods. They’re unique and look great, whilst filling up space which would have otherwise been left empty due to the lack of sponsors. Not exactly a stunner, but a strong livery overall, considering a lot of the time sponsors are what help a livery look great.

★★★☆

Juncos Racing

#32 René Binder & Kyle Kaiser

Juncos Binder 2

As with Harding, Juncos are in for a full season in 2018, and are bringing in two alternating rookies. The livery is exactly the same as last year’s Indy 500.

Juncos Binder 1

It’s an odd design with the orange bordering the green in some areas and not others, but the colour scheme is interesting at least. However, I do feel this is something I’ll get bored of very quickly.

★★

Michael Shank Racing with Schmidt Peterson

#60 Jack Harvey

Michael Shank Harvey 1

This Schmidt Peterson car is slightly out of order here, but definitely follows the team’s livery philosophy. Jack Harvey’s car (another rookie by the way) uses a chrome purple alongside black. Everything works with black so there’s no issue there, and the purple stands out in what is a very colourful grid.

Michael Shank Harvey 2

There are a lot of logos on this car however, cluttering it slightly and not allowing the colour to shine to its best ability. Hence I don’t feel it’s a strong as its sister liveries.

★★★

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

#15 Graham Rahal

Rahal Letterman Rahal 1

Rahal has a solid first (likely of many) livery of the year. The blue used is deep and metallic, and is bordered by red, with the remainder of the car in white. It works well in a Compaq Williams sort of way, although this tries to follow the lines of the car slightly.

Rahal Letterman Rahal 2

The colour scheme is pretty standard but well executed. Also, nothing like some American Flag stripes on the front wing elements to spice up a livery!

★★★☆

#30 Takuma Sato

Rahal Letterman Sato 2

Now this is a unique livery! While I’m relating everything to F1 liveries, this does remind me of the 1995 Pacific livery, but not significantly. This is very strong in its own right, using different shades of blue very successfully, whilst making large white sections look very attractive.

Rahal Letterman Sato 1

The main attraction is the complex nose which very difficult to explain. It uses 3 different colours in what in some angles looks like patchwork, and in others a beautiful, semi interrupted flowing blue section. The different blues all work really well together and am just happy to see some lovely creativity without going too far.

★★★★★

Schmidt Peterson Motorsport

#5 James Hinchcliffe

Schmidt Hinchcliffe 1

Virtually no change to the #5 this year, retaining it’s black and reflective gold of the past few season and an almost identical design to 2017. The main change here is the gold section having moved up, following the car along the top of the driver’s headrest rather than down to the top of the sidepod.

Schmidt Hinchcliffe 2

The other change is the intricate design on the side, which looks like stylised inner workings of the car (although I’m likely wrong). While I’m usually against graphics like this taking up large sections of the car, this is subtle enough to almost blend in from a distance whilst actually look very interesting close up. A well designed evolution of the 2017 livery.

★★★★

#6 Robert Wickens

Schmidt Wickens 2

Rookie Robert Wickens almost had a dream start to his IndyCar career until Rossi put an end to those plans! Misfortune aside, this livery is just about the same as Hinch’s, jsut in red as Aleshin’s was last year.

Schmidt Wickens 1

The red works perhaps a little better than the gold in my opinion, but not by much, so gets the same strong four star rating.

★★★★

Team Penske

#1 Josef Newgarden

Penske Newgarden 2

Penske have cut down to 3 cars for 2018, but have kept the same liveries from 2017. I’d probably been a little harsh on these last year – they aren’t so bad. The colours are standard and the design is simple, but not bad by any means.

Penske Newgarden 1

Castonevez used this livery for most of last year. It isn’t thrilling mainly due to the colour scheme, but a decent yet standard livery.

★★☆

#12 Will Power

Penske Power 2

Power is back in the livery he started 2017 with and as was the case then, the removal of the third colour makes this livery much simpler and that much stronger.

Penske Power 1

As with the Ed Jones livery, nice colours and little more can mean a very pleasant car to look at. No change, no problem.

★★★★

#22 Simon Pagenaud

Penske Pagenaud 2

The in your face Menards livery is also back for Pagenaud. The thin red and black parallel lines work far better than the thick red line on Newgarden’s livery, and contrast well on the super bright yellow.

Penske Pagenaud 1

I am slightly conflicted in regards to Pagenaud’s helmet though. I’m a big fan of drivers keeping the same design as it is their own personal identity, but I also love how it matches the car.

★★★★

 

Time for some bonus awards!

Best Looker Award – #30 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

There were a lot of four star liveries this season, but only one five star. There are many reasons why, but this design just lights up in my eyes. Looks fantastic.

Least Attractive Award – Juncos Racing

Perhaps I’ve been a little harsh here, but something is off with this livery in my opinion. Just needs some refining. Thin lines don’t work so well when you’re ignoring the chassis’ curves.

Grand Slam Award – #22 Penske, #18 Dale Coyne and #23 Carlin

These guys may as well be fighting it out on a tennis court with the amount of tennis ball green on the grid this year!

What Year Is It? Award – A.J Foyt Enterprises

7 years in the same livery…

 

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Round-Up – 2018 IndyCar Field