What is motorsport without the colour schemes? Sure it may not be the main factor which draws in the crowds and televisual audiences but it does provide vital attention to teams and their respective sponsors.
In any conversation about motorsport history, many details will be banded about by mouths and famous liveries will not trail too far behind. Martini stripes on a World Rally Championship Lancia, Rothmans blue on a Porsche sportscar and the sleek black of John Player Special on a Lotus are great examples of how an iconic livery can live long in the memory.
The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship has had its fair share of cracking liveries in just over sixty years of competition and they have been doted upon countless times in articles just like this one. However, The Checkered Flag wanted to delve into the current NGTC regulations and pick out ten liveries that might be remembered in the future.
As is always the case with articles like this, the list is purely subjective and you, the reader, may wish to agree or disagree with this author’s picks. We will let you do this and we hope that civility prevails on whatever platform you’re commenting on, so do let us know in the comments which designs caught your eye in this current era of regulations.
In no particular order, here are ten picks of the best NGTC liveries in the BTCC.
eBay Motors – BMW 125i M Sport – 2014
Obviously there had to be a BMW on the list but it would have been to obvious to go for the classic BMW Motorsport livery that has adorned the 125i M Sport for the previous two seasons. When eBay withdrew their sponsorship of the West Surrey Racing BMW’s, gone were the striking colours that famously adorn the logo of the auction site and in came uniformity for the next couple of seasons. Not being one to understand certain psychology, if that’s the right word, the mix of colours on the black base really appeal to eyes.
Team GardX Racing with Motorbase – Ford Focus RS – 2018
When it was announced that Sam Tordoff was going to run a special pink livery on his Ford Focus RS for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Snetterton in 2018, there was a split in regards to the response of those who loved the new colour and those who didn’t particularly like it at all. Thankfully those fans in the former camp were treated as the “Pink Panther” remained that way for the remainder of the season. The livery that started the season was aesthetically pleasing and would have made this list. However, the pink just took it to another level and made it possibly one of the most eye-catching cars in the history of the championship.
Team BMR – Volkswagen CC – 2015
With the capture of names like Colin Turkington and Jason Plato to race alongside race winner Aron Taylor-Smith and team-owner Warren Scott, Team BMR certainly set out their championship intentions front and centre. With an incredibly sleek car like the Volkswagen CC, it needed a desirable livery to really enhance its pace and the testing black that was used for the early rounds did its job incredibly well. People may see it as boring and that’s their opinion. However, one of the most striking Formula One cars of the nineties was the Arrows A19 of 1998 therefore I’m willing to say that this VW captures the elegance of that Arrows. Ultimately the black was replaced when RCIB Insurance came in as a title sponsor for the team.
Halfords Yuasa Racing – Honda Civic Type R – 2016
The return of Halfords as a title sponsor to a team in the championship also saw the return of the iconic orange to the BTCC grid. Unveiled alongside one of Matt Neal’s title winning Honda Integra in a similar shade, you understood the importance and iconic status of Halfords’ colours in the BTCC. With this grrrrrrreat colour scheme it makes you wonder why Team Dynamics have had the colours switched for the previous couple of seasons to make the black the primary colour of their cars. Dazzling, iconic and eventually a title winner certainly gives this livery a stake in the future classic referendum.
Kraftwerk Racing – Volkswagen CC – 2013
I know the title sponsor has nothing to do with the famous German electronic music pioneers but this model certainly has a classy livery. Multiple shades of grey and white with a sash of crimson makes it look like it wouldn’t feel out of place in a posh BTCC dinner party. Sure there have been plenty of better liveries in NGTC but do any of those cars have KRAFTWERK written on the side of them? It also doesn’t overpower you in regards to sponsorship placement leading me to believe that plenty of thought was put into this design.
AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing – MG6 GT – 2018
British American Racing dazzled the F1 world in 1999 when they planned to race their cars in different colour schemes representing two cigarette brands British American Tobacco owned. However, when they found out that due to the regulations they were unable to do this, they painted halves of each car in both of the colours and stuck a huge zip down the middle. Fast forward to the BTCC in 2018 and with two title sponsors, AmD Tuning seemed to be inspired by B.A.R. and plenty rubbed their eyes in amazement as the striking MG’s were wheeled out of their garage at the Donington Park Media day. Thankfully this style is to remain for 2019 in an updated version on the former Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R’s now in AmD ownership.
Ciceley Motorsport – Mercedes Benz A-Class – 2018
This author made no secret of his admiration for this livery and said it was his favourite from the whole of last season. Metallic green just seemed to work on the Mercedes and with flourishes of black and white to break it up. You weren’t overwhelmed by a rolling pea. With Tom Oliphant’s move to WSR for 2019, this may be the only time we see this stunning green in the championship. However, one can hope that a nod to this scheme is referenced somewhere on his BMW.
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing – Subaru Levorg GT – 2017
In design there is something incredibly pleasing about simplicity. White may be one of the most boring colours imaginable but with anything raw it can be improved by adding something extra. Oblongs and rectangles in grey and blue with no thought of overcomplication makes the 2017 livery possibly the most aesthetically pleasing of the three seen in the championship so far. What BMR have in store for 2019 is unknown but a return to “less is more” will be welcomed.
Team BKR – Volkswagen CC – 2016
Another Volkswagen CC! Obviously when the vehicle was a blank bodyshell, triangular slices of cheese were thrown at the car and where they ended up became the livery. People of a certain age who grew up in the 1980s and frequently read Smash Hits might possibly recognise this design from the Bitz section which was often at the start of the magazine. Instead of sponsors I’m expecting to see details of how I can win a copy of Actually by Pet Shop Boys or a weekend in London with Swing Out Sister.
Motorbase Performance – Ford Focus ST – 2016
Designed in conjuction with a printing company, this colourful display on a Ford Focus was only seen in the final two rounds of 2016 with Mat Jackson at the helm. Team Principal David Bartrum said that it was “vibrant and unique” at the time and who are we to argue when it sticks out like a sore thumb. Contrary to what you may be thinking, that’s actually a compliment. Despite the car’s short time in this livery, it had already turned plenty of heads and won the final race of 2016 which is pretty good going when there are plenty of others jostling for your view.
Selecting ten liveries out of hundreds that have existed was certainly not an easy task and undoubtedly there may have been some that were missed. But, that’s the beauty of social media where you are now free to post your favourite NGTC liveries from down the years. Let’s just hope that 2019 produces some designs that we will be talking about in many years to come.