I grew up a race fan without cable and only dial-up internet so I was effectively raised on NASCAR with the occasional Indy race thrown in. As a result I became used to seeing 43 individually painted cars battling it out on a track, that was my norm. Once technology (read: youtube) made it possible for me to escape those shackles of limited motorsports exposure I watched and became a fan of a multitude of forms of racing. I love V8 Supercars and live for Bathurst, I love Formula 1, even when an annoying German is winning every race, I’ve stayed up the duration of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and with the rest of the motoring world watched in stunned silence as the now-infamous Rockenfeller crash played out (“What car was it? Where’s the driver? Where’s the CAR?”), I’ve bought property in Hinchtown and joined in the jubilant chorus of “SATOOOOOOOO!” I’ve even taken a casual interest in rallying. But through it all there’s one main gripe I have with the way much of the world handles team cars. In short: STOP PAINTING YOUR GODDAMN CARS IDENTICAL YOU ASSHATS!
I realize in most of the major forms of global motorsport (F1, rally, WTCC, WEC, V8SC, etc) there’s usually a single primary sponsor for the entire team, but painting the cars identical still doesn’t make sense to me. And yes, I know they’re not truly identical and there are little details to tell the cars apart, from window numbers/names to flags on roof scoops to different colored helmets etc. But they’re race cars, designed to go past at absurd speeds. You shouldn’t have to try to stare at the car and run down the mental checklist of things to look for to figure out if it’s Alonso or Massa. It’s like trying to follow a shaky cam movie fight. And what about the poor casual race fan or a race fan’s friend/romantic partner who is trying to follow along.
“So Webber is leading?”
“No, honey, that’s Vettel.”
“I thought you said Webber was the Red Bull car.”
“He is, but his has yellow highlights on the antenna over the scoop.”
“That’s it, I’m going shopping.”
There are plenty of ways to make team cars compliment eachother without being identical. Swap colors, invert colors, add an extra design somewhere. It’s not like it hasn’t been done:
Honestly, when John Force can make each Castrol GTX car in his 200 bajillion car fleet look uniqe and immediately identifiable from eachother how hard can it really be to give a separate scheme to each car on a team?
EDIT: I have been informed that the FIA requires both cars on a team to be identical, which I should have guessed to be the case. Once again there’s a muppet to blame for my frustrations.