As usual, my review is well after the event; one reason is time of course, but the other is that I always prefer to use on track shots, rather than promo photos, with decent quality shots often taking some time to find. Regardless, here are the retro round updates we saw at Sandown last week.
#2 Pye/Luff & #25 Courtney/Perkins
First cab off the rank is Mobil 1 Boost Racing, who paid homage to the 2008 Toll HRT, the last Commodore to be driven full time by Mark Skaife. The first thing I wonder in situations like this is, how should a company feel when they are, in essence, promoting another?
Marketing aside, it’s refreshing but also makes me feel old when we are looking at a 2008 livery as retro. It isn’t completely identical, and can’t be given they are not longer Holden backed, but could have used a little more silver to more strongly replicate the old design. Neat to see, but wouldn’t have it over their usual livery.
Retro done right! Erebus have done a great job emulating the 1986 Bathurst winner, replicating it almost line for line, including a very nice stylised Penrite logo to match the now defunct Chickadee. This is a style of livery design that has been out of favour for a number of years, but I hope it makes a comeback of sorts.
I personally love flowing liveries, but straight lines with harsh angles have their own odd charm, which is clearly visible on a few of this year’s retro efforts. Probably mine and many others’ pick of the bunch.
#12 Coulthard/D’Alberto & #17 McLaughlin/Prémat
Simple, however, also has its place in retro round. No fuss was also a popular theme back in the day, and the Sierras driven by Dick Jojnson and John Bowe were a leading example.
The key to a simple livery is the right colour, and DJR Team Penske have done well in bringing back this shade of red, which is just different enough to their usual red to be noticeable and eye catching. The clean look is pulled off well, capped off with the warm fuzzy feeling of classic number plates on the doors.
Brad Jones Racing have tipped their hat to Bob Jane and his 1972 Monaro with this orangy-red effort. It’s a quite similar replica to DJR Team Penske, but this one falls apart slightly in that the logo placement just doesn’t quite match the original. The blocky white Alliance logo, despite attempting to match the theme, is the main culrpit, adding a lot of white where it should appear plain red, not to mention the number font. The thought was there, but the execution slightly lacking for the #14.
Castrol have decided to throw back to 2002, oddly enough replicating the Larry Perkins Commodore on the#15 Nissan. As strange as that seems to me, the design is near identical which is super pleasing to see. All that’s missing are the thick five spoke wheels in white!
This retro livery isn’t too dissimilar to the Freightliner entry last season, but so was the basic design thinking in the 60s and 70s.
The #18 this year closely resembles the 1968 McPhee Monaro it pays homage to. It’s a completely authentic looking design, with perfectly matching lines, numbers, and even the old ‘Class D’ lettering (on the side at least). The ‘Warwick Yellow’ looks great and is a nice break for the usual, equally nice Preston Hire yellow.
Tim Blanchard kept it classy this year, giving a nod to the BMW his father had once raced. I remember Lotus getting some heat for using the old JPS liveries as inspiration in Formula 1 one year, but you can’t get much closer to a cigarette livery than this Benson & Hedges replica.
Any livery fanatic will tell you that cigarette brands had some of the best and most memorable liveries of all time, and this here is no exception. It’s translates incredibly well to a modern racer, and despite a departure from the usual blue, CoolDrive looks fantastic and in no way out of place on the design. While cigarettes are terrible things, I’m glad in a way that they left an imprint on the Motorsport world.
Another set of direct replicas, and don’t these look amazing. Both are depicting cars Garry Rogers himself had driven, this one a 1978 Torana. As I mentioned with the Chickadee Penrite machine, it’s great to see some truly retro shapes and colours going on this year, this one being a true period piece of the 1970s. This too translates well to a modern Supercar, and just looks nice!
Would love to see this used for the rest of the Enduros – fingers crossed.
The #34 is an homage to Garry’s 1983 Commodore. The sleek black and simple white line and chevron look great on the 2018 car. It’s nice to see that simple designs can work just as well as the odd and complex ones.
Antother design from the not too distant past, with Tickford choosing to paint the #55 in Steven Ellery’s Supercheap Auto colours from 2004. They’ve steered clear of purple this year, instead going with the blac, red and silver design. They’ve taken some liberties and simplified the livery slightly, removing some of the extra yellow lines, which does modernise the design. It’s great to see not only replicas, but successful modernisation of classic liveries this year.
#78 De Silvestro/Rullo
For De Silvestro and Rullo, Nissan have gone with a retro themed design as opposed to immitating an actual past livery. I’m not sure how rich Harvey Norman’s racing history is, but I’m sure there would have been some lovely looking Nissans to choose from, rather than this very basic effort. Whilst it’s very similar in design to others we’ve seen this year and last, red and white doesn’t really excite!
#99 De Pasquale/Brown
I went the whole of last weekend, somehow, thinking both the Erebus cars had the same livery. My usually attentive eye stupidly saw the retro Chickadee font and didn’t ask any further questions. Luckily in writing this post I picked up on my error, and found that the #99 is based on the 1982 Toyota Celica.
In actual fact, the two liveries are completely different, this one focusing simply on a thick red stripe across the bonnet and front quarter panels. It’s a great job again of font replication and logo placement, although the one thing I’d have loved to see on both cars was the Penrite/Erebus logos on the side sprawling all the way above the rear wheel to the rear bumper.
It’s great fun to see retro round increasing in stature year after year, and more teams and fans embracing it with the awesome inspired and replica liveries. Can’t wait for next year.
Had the pleasure of seeing the Adelaide 500 in person this year, which is also why I’m so late in posting this. No doubt there will be a myriad of livery changes throughout but season, but let’s take a look at how they started the season.
23Red Racing Milwaukee Racing
#230 Will Davison
First cab off the rank is the new 23Red Racing team, co-owned by Phil Munday and Lucas Dumbrell. The livery sensibly makes use of the Milwaukee logo thunderbolt as a theme for the car, but doesn’t take it to the next step of creativity. What we’re left with a pretty standard red and white livery, split by a black thunderbolt on the front quarter panel.
However, this doesn’t make it bad by any means. The red flashes on the splitter and bonnet with black piping are great and make me wish that perhaps there was less of the main red in favour of these smaller details on white. Add what looks like a hastily removed logo on the rear quarter panel (nitpicking, I know) and you’ve got a pretty run of the mill, but attractive enough design. A good benchmark for the rest of the field!
Brad Jones Racing Blackwoods Racing
#8 Nick Percat
Two colours that can work really well, but in this application are lacking. It’s a very simple design and where straight lines can be appealing, in this case fail to provide any excitement. I think I’d have preferred a simple complete parallel shape as opposed to the odd, single pointed shape that has instead been used for this livery. What also hurts this design is the very dull Blackwoods logo, but that can’t really be helped from the team’s side.
The finishing touch is provided by this ugly bonnet. ‘Rock Your Weld’, the motto of the main sponsor, is hideously jarring to the rest of the livery and makes an average livery quite poor. At least it looks like Percat will have one sponsor for the whole season this year, although maybe it was better he didn’t in this case.
Brad Jones Racing Freightliner Racing
#14 Tim Slade
As Preston Hire Racing have proved for the last couple of seasons, black and yellow are terrific colours to work with, and Freightliner Racing have joined the party. Gone is the red and white, and in comes the vibrant yellow, paired with black as well as some small slithers of silver. Front on, the livery is great, with simple black and silver sections bordering the bonnet and all the sponsors working together coherently.
Side profile however, things become a little less seamless. Unfortunately the Freightliner logo looks as though it is very difficult to work with, and this leads to a livery where the main sponsor logo isn’t worked very well into the design, looking almost slapped on at the end. It’s a little bit of damned if you do, damned if you don’t, but some small details such as the logo not overlapping with the yellow section on behind the front wheel would have made a big difference in this regard.
Charlie Schwerkolt Racing Preston Hire Racing
#18 Lee Holdsworth
Speak of the devil, Preston Hire Racing have followed up last year’s stunner with another. A couple of subtle changes in that there’s a bit more black than last year, paint is gloss rather than matte and the lines are overall a little more swoopy than last year’s edgy design, but the overall theme has just remained the same.
There are also a few silver sections this year which reflect nicely in the sunlight, but even with the white Toyota Forklifts section on the boot, is still a fantastically uniform livery. The amount of red has also reduced which is great for uniformity. Can’t say I love it as much as 2017 and I’m not exactly sure why – perhaps the shade of yellow, but it’s still absolutely lovely.
DJR Team Penske Shell V-Power Racing Team
#12 Fabian Coulthard & #17 Scott McGlaughlin
DJR Team Penske have an unchanged livery for 2018. I’m slightly disappointed given it wasn’t even my favourite of the their possible 2017 choices, but it’s a good combination of colours and design.
Still a solid livery, although it’s simplicity means it has dated every so slightly, especially with the thinning yellow lines bordering the white.
#9 David Reynolds
Erebus have gone for something a little more complicated with the Penrite car this year. It’s better and worse in different areas. Whilst I loved the piping on the front and rear of the 2017 car, the thin lightning bolts also work very well on the front in 2018. However, the thicker gold section on the side isn’t quite as effective – not quite the colour/shade you want in large quantities. Not only that, it clashes with the gold in Penrite logo, which it sits directly next to. Triggers my OCD.
The other thing of note is the grille, which on this car is obnoxiously coloured red. Not a fan of such a brightly coloured grille which I don’t think it works well at all. Overall, it may sound like there are more negatives than positives, but it also improves in other areas such as the removal of the odd shaped gold areas on the splitter of last year’s livery. More or less even.
#99 Anton de Pasquale
Anton de Pasquale is the first rookie on the list, but the design on the #99 is the same as the #9. The colours are slightly more suited to the sponsor, with silver instead of gold. This helps in making the livery seamless, but takes away a bit of bite for the same reason.
Unfortunately the red grille also remains, but a good livery nonetheless.
Garry Rogers Motorsport Wilson Security Racing GRM
#33 Garth Tander & #34 James Golding
With Moffat given the boot, another rookie in James Golding joins Tander at GRM this year, the cars appropriately adorning a similar livery to the Tander/Golding enduro design. The basic shape is the same, but the main separating line on this occasion is a chrome silver. Bordering the silver is red, which then uses a slow and intermittent gradient to turn to blue. This whole section looks terrific.
The front is great too, with even sections of red and black swooping across the bonnet and importantly, around and not in the grille. Everything on the livery works really well together – every colour is complimentary, every logo fits and nothing looks out of place. About as close to perfect as you’ll get.
Matt Stone Racing Bigmate Racing
#35 Todd Hazelwood
It may be a surprise that there are three blue and orange liveries in the field, and the middle one belongs to another rookie, Todd Hazelwood. The design here is pretty safe, mainly following the key panels of the car and not venturing much further. The orange sections break up the blue well, but could even have been used more sparsely to good effect.
A slight issue I have with this car is the shade of blue and orange used. The blue is quite strong/saturated which can be OK, but used alongside a fluro, the clash is quite harsh rather than complimentary. A slightly darker or less saturated blue may have been a better option here. Either way, there’s plenty of white to break the strong colours up, which salvages some good looks for the livery overall, keeping it just about above average.
#7 Andre Heimgartner
Speaking of orange and blue, this is definitely the pick of the bunch. As mentioned before, the colours aren’t as strong on this livery, with the paler orange and lighter, metallic blue working very well together. The large blue section is complimented by orange around the windows and along the bottom, which then abruptly, but very nicely switches to white, which takes over the front of the car.
There are also small sections of silver, which don’t really add anything, and have been better in white or just left in orange. It’s a classic complex Nissan design, but works well with the colours. The Plus Fitness logo also works a lot better in this format than it has on previous efforts.
#15 Rick Kelly
This one certainly suprised me – classic Motorsport sponsor Castrol was back in a big way, dictating the livery of Rick Kelly’s Nissan in 2018. Thankfully we see the back of the Castrol bonnet logos on other cars with no regard to their aesthetics or colour schemes, and instead are replaced with the unmistakable and very attractive green, red and white in a big way.
Again, a typically complex Nissan livery, but with green the main colour instead of white as is usually the case for Castrol designs. Some parts are more or less shared with the above Plus Fitness livery, such as the window area and the white sections on the boot, but overall, also looks very nice in this form.
#23 Michael Caruso
The more you look at the Nissans, the more characteristics they share. #23 is sponsored by Drive.com.au this year and therefore, takes on the bright teal to go with the usual black, white and silver.
Some red also remains, mainly for the Autoglym logo on the front. I should like this livery a lot less for that reason, but the red does help to break up all the black and blue. One thing I do find slightly annoying is the odd blue on the rear quarter panel, which just doesn’t belong.
Nissan Motorsport Team Harvey Norman
#78 Simona de Silvestro
Just about the same design again here as you’d expect, but a pretty big change in colour scheme, with black now the main colour in place of red for the Harvey Norman Altima. Definitely stands out the least due to the duller colour palette, but having one fewer colour works in its favour.
For example, the red on white of the stripe along the side of the car works far better here than the silver does on either the #7 or #23, and does just about enough to outweigh the standard colours.
#19 Jack Le Brocq
Le Brocq is the next newbie on the list and Tekno haven’t deviated too far from the all black car they launched with. The SS Signs logo is in your face and the accompanying design matches it well.
The blue and yellow shards are reasonably well spaced and look good on the front, but I’m slightly indifferent to the ones on the side that are perhaps a little bit messy. I’d look to declutter the side by removing a couple of the blue sections on the side and let the jet black shine.
Tickford Racing The Bottle-O Racing Team
#5 Mark Winterbottom
Another year in the Bottle-O Falcon for Frosty and it’s another evolution of the green livery in 2018. This sees a lot more white toward the front of the car than last year, taking over the roof and the front b-pillar. There’s also some more black on the rear, meaning there’s less green on the car overall this year.
The design itself is edgier, but better coordinated overall, with most of the lines more or less moving in the same direction, where last year’s design had different shapes all over the place. The black is also glossy rather than matte this year which is welcome. A decent improvement.
Tickford Racing Monster Energy Racing
#6 Cameron Waters
No changes of note to call out on the Monster Energy Falcon. Still matte, which works well in this instance with the all black design.
Again, not a lot to say. Hasn’t dated significantly either, which is a bug plus.
Tickford Racing Supercheap Auto Racing
#55 Chaz Mostert
You wouldn’t think of it at first glance, but this is exactly the same design as the Bottle-O Falcon. The completely different colour scheme disguises that very well.
Not a heap more to add considering, but these colours work very well together as has been showcased for the last couple of seasons. Can’t say I prefer one over the other! Shame we didn’t get any sneaky purple, but perhaps we will come the enduros.
#56 Richie Stanaway
As above, this is the same design. However, in this instance it’s incredibly boring. Tickford’s corporate colours don’t produce any excitement in this layout. There’s just too much empty white, and the red and black aren’t enough to significantly improve it.
It suffers from the same issue as Bright’s Falcon last year where there’s a little too much empty space, but at least the colours work a little better on this occasion. I imagine swapping the black and white sections would vastly improve the livery.
Tim Blanchard Racing Team CoolDrive
#21 Tim Blanchard
Somehow Blanchard is still in the sport, despite only achieving 4 top ten finishes in as many full seasons in the sport (plus three others outside this). At least he drives a car with an attractive livery. The design is almost identical to 2017, apart from the flashes on the front being removed, and an alternate CoolDrive logo being used.
The other and key change for 2018 is the colour. They’ve gone with a metallic and less saturated shade of blue, which works so much better on a racing livery. It changes the whole aesthetic of the car and makes the #21 machine a joy to look at this year.
Triple Eight Race Engineering Red Bull Holden Racing Team
#1 Jamie Whincup & #97 Shane van Gisbergen
A significant change this year for Red Bull Holden, moving away from the Formula 1 imitation to something quite original! The navy blue remains but the livery is now more or less half white too, split down the side in a jagged and faded design which is complex without being obnoxious.
Quite difficult to explain this one, and it works well to an extent, but it still feels like there’s a fight between the Holden and Red Bull logos which takes up half of the car and detracts from the livery. You’d think Red Bull could stick with the Bull only and remove the text logo to clean up the livery slightly.
Triple Eight Race Engineering Autobarn Lowndes Racing
#888 Craig Lowndes
It’s been a while since we saw Autobarn as a main sponsor of a Supercars machine, but that’s the case for Triple 8 this year. It’s a shame we only had the Vortex livery for one season, but it’s replacement is great and almost provides a sense of nostalgia, dipping somewhere between the above Autobarn of the 2000s and the Green Eyed Monster in my opinion, thanks largely to the silver present (perhaps the Lowndes connection helps too).
The design itself utilises evergreen parallel stripes along the bottom of the side, along with copious amounts of silver to compliment the black on the rest of the car. There are other flashes of yellow around the car too which help add further colour to what could otherwise be slightly dull. Yellow mirrors and intake are a nice touch.
Walkinshaw Andretti United Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing
#2 Scott Pye & #25 James Courtney
Michael Andretti has branched out and joined fellow American Roger Penske in Supercars, teaming up with Walkinshaw to create Walkinshaw Andretti United and Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing. Mobil 1 Boost Mobile Racing. Say that 5 times quickly. Tongue twister aside, some further confusion has also been cleared with Boost now sponsorship just the one team, after sponsoring Courtney and Percat part way through last year. They’ve also settled for glossy black (truly a mass matte exodus this season) which matches really well with the orange.
The Boost logo is huge on the side, but actually works as a design element, blending in very well and adding a nice chunk of orange to the side of the car. Other orange elements are on the roof, wing and splitter, as well as some other orange and white flashes elsewhere on the car. A great colour combo and look overall.
So, bonus awards!
Best Looker Award – Wilson Security Racing GRM
Just about perfect. Nothing to complain about. A stunner!
Least Attractive Award – Blackwoods Racing
No real redeeming features on this car. The design is boring and the bonnet is butt ugly. A shame, as the colour combo can be very effective.
Best Orange and Blue Livery – Nissan Motorsport #7
There are a few orange and blue liveries this season, but one is a standout. The Plus Fitness car is not only the best of the colour combination, but also the best of the Nissan livery template.