The IndyCar season crept up on me this year! With all the hype around Formula 1’s 2017 regulations and livery launches, IndyCar personally flew under the radar, so when I heard round one was upon us, I was super keen to have proper racing back!
There have been some big changes over the winter with drivers switching teams and teams switching manufacturers, but there hasn’t been too much movement in the livery space, especially when compared to F1. Either way, here’s what we’ve got for the new season.
A.J. Foyt Enterprises
#4 Connor Daly & #14 Carlos Muñoz
As mentioned above, there haven’t been many radical livery changes amongst the teams in 2017. Two new drivers this year but ABC remains with A.J. Foyt Enterprises and therefore, so does the livery. It’s still a good livery, but being unchanged for the 6th straight season, it gains some boredom points. It’s great to have loyal sponsors, but it’s time for an evolution!
#26 Takuma Sato
Whilst Andretti have kept the same blanket design for all four cars again this year, it’s new colours on the #26 with the incoming Sato, bringing with him Panasonic backing. Unsurprisingly it’s blue and white and flashes of red. Not the strongest colour combination, but not bad either. Looks a little empty on the sidepods though.
#28 Ryan Hunter-Reay
Unchanged livery here, leading to an unchanged rating. Still a great look with the DHL yellow and red, with the Andretti silver tip nose working especially well with the #28. Could be spectacular with a design spruce up, but instead remains simply above average.
#27 Marco Andretti
Now this livery takes some liberties that drastically improve on the base design. The red, white and yellow work very well together, and it’s great to see red used on both the engine cover and sidepods. Having white on the sidepods, as the design dictates on the others, would’ve led to a very plain car. The red section on the side of the nose adds some nice colour to an otherwise empty space, and the use of the three colours on different wing elements is simple, yet terrific.
#98 Alexander Rossi
I guess NAPA were pretty happy with Rossi’s Indy 500 win as they’re back on the #98 in 2017. I’m glad for this, as the blue, yellow and flashes of red make for a great colour combination, that works very well with the Andretti design. What helps this car is the NAPA logo, which in being re-worked this year, has turned into a design element of its own, filling up the sidepod with some more lovely yellow. A little annoying that the red is pinstriped along the cockpit, but that’s just my personal, nitpicky opinion.
Chip Ganassi Racing
Liveries aside, Chip Ganassi made the bold move of switching from Chevy to Honda. Most people thought this was a crazy move, considering Honda’s inferior performance in 2016, but the decision has seemingly paid off, with great results all round at St. Petersburg.
#8 Max Chilton
This was one of my favourite liveries of 2016 and I have to say I still like it a lot. The multiple shades of blue go very well with the white and are placed slightly differently in 2017. This is most notable on the nose, where a large navy blue section replaces the sky blue stripes, bringing with it a far stronger contrast. The engine cover has also changed, with a larger logo bringing with it an equally large section of sky blue. A great evolution of the 2016 livery.
#9 Scott Dixon
For the first time in their history, Chip Ganassi Racing will not have Target backing on any of their cars, a partnership lasting since the very beginning, in 1990. Therefore, it’s going to take a while getting used to Scott Dixon’s new livery. The GE Lighting and NTT Data sponsored car is mainly blue, with secondary light blue and orange sections. These secondary design sections flow in opposite directions and to my annoyance, overlap. It isn’t that big a deal, but gives it an odd look. Interesting too is the choice of the main colour, azure blue, being fairly similar to Kanaan’s car, but also quite odd and unique in its own right.
#10 Tony Kanaan
An almost identical effort to last year. A simple two tone effort that doesn’t offend, but also doesn’t excite. An above average mark again, although I don’t get the same visual pleasure I did last season.
#83 Charlie Kimball
Apparently I quite liked this livery last year, but the feeling has worn off. I’m just about sick of grey in Motorsport right about now, and the tennis ball green isn’t really doing anything for me either. The sharp and contrasting sections of yellow and grey are still nice, but I now dislike the faded stripes along the side. Removing them would leave a stronger overall livery, albeit slightly more simple and generic.
Dale Coyne Racing
#18 Sébastien Bourdais
Who saw this coming? Bourdais moving to one of the weakest teams of 2016, bringing with him some old friends, and winning from the back of the grid. Incredible.
The livery design is unchanged and while it was one of my favourites last year, it isn’t quite as spectacular in this configuration. I do still love the red lines running along the side of the nose and the other red lines angled along the body. The black wings do a great job of contrasting with the majority white.
#19 Ed Jones
As above really. Identical to last season, although I prefer the Sonny’s car, which doesn’t include any blue. A different shade would have worked far better in this instance.
Ed Carpenter Racing
#20 Spencer Pigot/Ed Carpenter & #21 J.R. Hildebrand
No major change to the Fuzzy’s livery this year. The deep metallic green still looks great and with some added gold along the cockpit, the combo overall is still pretty good.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan racing
#15 Graham Rahal
No changes here either, but this is still a surprisingly nice livery. Again, just the Steak n Shake logo on the engine cover, with some black front and rear wing elements allowing this to be simple and yet not too boring. Nice shade of red too, which is important.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
#5 James Hinchcliffe
The #5 machine retains its unique reflective gold for another season, paired with black alone this time (apart from the red flashes on the mirrors and airbox). Just some minor changes this year, which include the removal of white trimming between the black and gold, with the black creeping further up the nose, wrapping around the tip. This black section has gold either side of it which is nice, and no explosions behind the Arrow logo either, which I’m glad about. Definitely an improvement!
#7 Mikhail Aleshin
After a generic design last season, Aleshin’s car has leapt into allure in 2016 . The design is exactly the same as Hinchcliffe’s, with the difference being way fewer sponsors, and of course the beautiful reflective red. It’s taken a while, but we’ve finally seen this lovely colour once more. While the lack of sponsors gives the livery an empty feeling, it does a great job in showcasing the chrome red, which I could look at for hours. Unfortunately, the black doesn’t pair as well as it does with the gold, so it’s a bit weaker overall than its counterpart.
To my dismay, Team Penske haven’t changed their livery design for 2017. We can only hope that we see some sponsors come in to push the design’s boundaries.
#1 Simon Pagenaud
Identical to last season. This is one of the better colour combinations though and looks good despite the tired design. We’ll inevitably see a number of sponsors and colours on this car (and the others) throughout the season.
#2 Josef Newgarden & #12 Will Power
With Montoya being relegated to an Indy only seat, Newgarden has come in off the back of an impressive 2016. This livery too has not changed, but the simplicity is quite stunning. The red line not wrapping around the very edge of the nose annoys me more on this car than the others, but this main attraction, the colour silver, is a more or less perfect shade for Motorsport.
#3 Helio Castroneves
So we end with Castroneves, who has finished top five in the championship for the last five seasons despite only winning
five four races during this period. He flies under the radar but always does a solid job. Much like Helio, the #3 retains its no fuss 2016 livery, although this is the weakest of the three due to its standard, unimaginative colouring.
So of the 18 liveries, only five are are significantly changed from last season, and really only Dixon’s car bears an entirely different design to 2016. A little disappointing for people as into liveries as I am, but happily there are still a number of very good looking cars on the grid.
Best Looker Award – Chilton & Bourdais
No five star liveries this year, but these two are great. Did I mention I love Chilton’s helmet?
Least Attractive Award – Castroneves
Those standard racing colours mixed with a nagger of a design.
Most Improved Award – Aleshin
It’s amazing what an interesting colour can do to a car. Oh, and little effort in design!
Biggest Nagger Award – Team Penske
As mentioned above, quite bored of this design and dislike it’s adaptation to different sponsors. Andretti do a far better job of this.
What Year Is It? Award – A.J Foyt Enterprises
6 years! Beautiful livery or not, you have to make some changes every now and this. This is Williams levels of perseverance, or perhaps stubbornness.