Words: Chris Rees
The variety and invention of racing liveries lends colour – literally – to the 488 Challenge series
It seems very fitting that the term ‘livery’ – often applied to horse stables – should also have a place on track in modern-day ‘Prancing Horses’. Echoing the way livery stables provide care for owners’ racehorses, in the Ferrari 488 Challenge race series, cars and drivers are looked after by racing teams. Of course, the word ‘livery’ also implies colours, graphics and visuals. And in the case of 488 Challenge racers, it can be a real challenge – if you’ll pardon the pun – to distinguish the cars when they’re circulating at full pelt on track. That’s where identifying colours for teams and drivers come into play.
And in the Ferrari 488 Challenge, imaginations are clearly at full gallop. The sheer variety of colours and visual effects on display is startling. These include some exceedingly bright hues: the mirror-blue finish of Tommaso Rocca’s Rossocorsa team car cannot be ignored, for instance, while the acid lemonade finish of Per Falholt’s Formula Racing car is hardly shy and retiring. Ineco-MP Racing’s cars are, if anything, even more retina-searing: Manuela Gostner’s is bright green, Thomas Gostner’s is neon orange and Erich Prinoth’s is luminous yellow. The use of mirror-finish stripes on these cars merely makes the effect even more astonishing.
Speaking of which, ‘racing’ stripes make frequent appearances, such as on Christoforou Pantelis’s red-and-black car, which more than hints at the connections with Ferrari’s new 488 Pista special series road car. And Christian Overgaard’s racer is one of several to employ the Italian national flag’s green/white/red stripe theme. Which leads us neatly on to just how important national colours are for many drivers and teams. For instance, Frenchman Henry Hassid’s Team Pozzi car wears the red, white and blue of the French tricolore. Often drivers’ national flags are painted on the rear spoiler end plates, such as British contender, Chris Froggatt, whose striking Sky-liveried car combines white with pink and purple gradated stripes.
National flags on display on the grid include those of Switzerland, Germany, the USA and even, on Tani Hanna’s car, the Lebanese cedar tree. Team liveries are often meticulously thought out. For instance, the pair of cars run by the Swiss team, Octane 126, have ‘mirror-image’ finishes: one car is half-white, half-grey with a red centre stripe, the other half-red, half-grey with a white stripe. And the closer you look at the cars, the more you’re rewarded. We love the subtle grey patterns on Jens Liebhauser’s white Formula Racing car, for instance, while the matt red finish of Niklas Nielsen’s sister car is a real work of art.
Sometimes liveries can appear deliberately intimidating; after all, on track, even the slightest margin can help. Having a bright orange ‘maw’ on his racer certainly gives Murat Ruhi Cuhadaroglu a visual edge. But taking the biscuit has to be Fons Scheltema – a former winner of a ‘Best Livery’ award – whose bright orange Kessel Racing car has shark-like teeth painted on its front end. Move over! On a slightly less intimidating note, perhaps, is James Weiland’s purple-and-silver car, which he has lovingly named ‘Erin’. That echoes his FXX K track car, by the way, which is called Princess Peach!