We rank all the 2019 Supercars colour-schemes from best to worst
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It's that time again; the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is back in action. Round one of the 2019 series takes place this weekend at Adelaide, with teams preparing for opening practice as I type these words. There have been plenty of silly season change and a new silhouette in the Ford Mustang, but what always gets be going each season is the reveal of new liveries up and down pit-lane.
These paint-schemes are a tough nut to crack. It isn't simply a case of a designer getting pencil to paper with whatever they like. Each car's colours have to align with the primary backer and the team's desires — the former often proving to be among the toughest clients in the design business. This year's paint-schemes appear to lack a little bit of something compared to seasons of old ... a legacy perhaps of the increasing focus on pleasing the sponsor rather than the fan.
It's not just tough clients, either. These days there are more sponsors on each car to accommodate than ever before, each of which quite often bringing with them their own lists of design and placement demands. Without further ado, here's our unscientific ranking of each of the grid's new-look colour-schemes.
1. Kelly Racing, Rabble.Club: Garry Jacobson
The Nissan Altima proved to be quite a humdrum car (past tense, since it's no longer on sale in Australasia) while simultaneously doubling as a rather problematic Supercars entrant. But, since its introduction to the series in 2013, it's always attracted good looking paint-schemes.
This one for series rookie Garry Jacobson (a bus driver in his day-to-day, and a former Dunlop Super2 champion) takes a brand that had several bland liveries in 2018 — Rabble.Club — and dips them in blue chrome.
What appeals is the balance. There's very few other colours in play other than the shiny blue, black, and white. The black lines are chunky and bold, mirroring the font of Rabble's logo, while a lack of minor sponsors ensures the No. 3 Altima remains relatively free of other clutter.
Nothing about the Rabble livery re-invents the wheel. It is just, simply, a good looking car. And one that will stand out in its rival's rear mirror on sunny evenings in particular.
2. Monster Energy Racing: Cameron Waters
Yeah, a plain black car is second best in a 'best livery' list. As weird as it seems.
Cameron Waters has run Monster's minimalist colours for a few seasons now, with the paint-scheme devolving from its complex 2016 debut scheme into a plain black car with green claw-marks.
What the plain black Mustang does that the other Mustangs don't quite do, is flatter the slightly oddball shape of the new two-door coupe (yes — despite all the drivers and television pundits loving it, it's still a weird lookin' thing to me).
The other detail that pushes it over the line? Those green headlights ...
3. Boost Mobile Racing: Richie Stanaway, James Golding
The last livery to be revealed was the Garry Rogers Motorsport Commodore pairing for Kiwi Richie Stanaway and James Golding.
Shown off for the first time, it features the familiar colours and shapes from Boost Mobile's opening liveries on their Walkinshaw Andretti United machines last year. The addition of black wheels is an improvement that gives each car a tough, rugged appearance.
There is one slight problem, however.
This is Fabian Coulthard's Walkinshaw Holden Commodore from 2011.
From the colours, to the way the lines flow inoffensively, the way the stripes encase the headlights and frame the roof, to the sponsor that even shares the same first letter — the similarities between both cars are ... uncanny. At best.
4. Kelly Racing, Castrol: Rick Kelly
Speaking of cars that look a lot like other cars, here's Rick Kelly's Castrol Nissan Altima.
This was my favourite livery from 2018, and for 2019 there have thankfully been minimal changes. Although admittedly the few bits that are different have made it worse.
Those changes are namely all the references to BP Ultimate. Those with OCD have long had to wince and shudder at the inclusion of bright yellow/green BP signage; often clashing with greens, blues, and seemingly any other colour it's paired against. Its effects are no different here, but still don't manage to spoil a car that once again proves how good green, red, and white work together.
5. Brad Jones Racing, Team CoolDrive: Macauley Jones
Along with Jacobson, Jones is another rookie for the 2019 Supercars Championship season. The son of team-owner Brad, Macauley enters with experience as a wildcard driver as well as numerous seasons competing in the Dunlop Super2.
He takes over the seat left vacant by Tim Blanchard, with CoolDrive returning as a primary sponsor. This is a car that's always looked handsome under CoolDrive, and there's more of that again this year.
Dipping the rear end in white and introducing more light blue against the dark blue are the key visual changes. It was the best looking car in BJR's line-up last year, and that looks set to continue in 2019.
6. Matt Stone Racing: Todd Hazelwood
The caveat to this livery is that MSR and promising youngster Todd Hazelwood are yet to secure a big-name sponsor for their newly purchased ex-Triple 8 Holden ZB Commodore.
In the absence of a dedicated livery, the team went with this silver and black jobbie — which provides a sound background for any late-coming potential sponsors to have their names slapped on the side with minimal fuss. But in a way, I almost hope it remains as is.
In this spartan light, Hazelwood's car is a classy looker. Silver and black have always been good lookers in Supercars folklore; a testament underlined by the Green Eyed Monster, and (to much, much, much less of an extent) the WPS Falcons of the mid-'00s.
7. Shell V-Power Racing, DJR Team Penske: Scott McLaughlin, Fabian Coulthard
Our defending series champions once again beat their arch rivals Red Bull, although this time it's in the livery stakes.
There's a certain guilt in placing liveries that appear unchanged from the previous year so high, but — like the aforementioned Waters Monster Mustang mentioned earlier — this one earns its place by the way it manages to flatter the Mustang's unique curves.
One solid colour at the front meansless confusion on the eye and a greater emphasis on the Mustang's features, while the yellow striping up the sides follows two of its main contours.
It's a clean and simple look, but one we might have to get used to from DJR Team Penske over the next few years as their dominance grows.
8. Red Bull Holden Racing Team: Shane van Gisbergen, Jamie Whincup
Red Bull have come under scrutiny all over the world for their homogeneous, corporate motorsport warpaint. But, that's just how they've always been with the management of their brand (save for outliers like 'Mad Mike' Whiddett and his off-the-wall drift liveries).
Their Supercars team has followed similar lines, with the majority of their liveries following clean crisp lines with limited risks taken. And this year's car is no exception.
The blue is darker in this year's car compared to last year's car, which means it's less likely to stand out in the line-up. On the flipside, an injection of white up front brings more contrast to its nose. A balanced, inoffensive livery that will age well as the season goes on.
9. Plus Fitness Racing: Andre Heimgartner
For his second season with Nissan, New Zealander Andre Heimgartner sports a similar Plus Fitness livery to what he ran last year.
The main difference is that now, it's based around the exact same design as Rick Kelly's Castrol car. All the sharp triangles and accents follow the same lines, which will ensure that the pair will look uniform when spotted together on track.
Kelly's car is marred by the poisonous bright green of BP Ultimate — Heimgartner's isn't. But the colour combination doesn't quite have the zing of Castrol's unmistakable strip.
10. Mobil 1 MEGA Racing: James Courtney, Scott Pye
Now, two of the biggest visual departures on the grid. The first; Walkinshaw Andretti United's MEGA (we're meant to write it out in all-capitals like that) Holden Commodores.
While the big Mobil 1 and SP Tools logos that used to make Walkinshaw cars instantly recognisable are almost entirely gone, you can still sort of tell that this is an 'HRT' Walkinshaw machine.
This is namely through the way the black 'frames' the bonnet and the side-skirts. A lot of the stacked coloured stripe detailing within the black is also vintage Walkinshaw.
The mixture of colours — gold, blue, and purple — remains a weird one, however.
11. Irwin Racing: Mark Winterbottom
One of the other big visual departures on the grid is that of Team18 — now known as Irwin Racing.
Gone is the prickly, layered, complicated Preston Hire liveries the team used to run ... instead this year we get a clean-cut blue and yellow scheme.
It looks nice enough, and arguably comes together nicer than the Irwin liveries that used to regularly appear in Supercars with Stone Brothers Racing. But I can't help but miss the visually challenging, interesting Preston cars of old.
As Gordon Ramsay would say; "Bland. Dry. What a shame."
12. Kelly Racing, Harvey Norman: Simona De Silvestro
The danger of running a car that's predominantly black and white is that you run the risk of looking like you couldn't splurge the extra few bob for vinyl with colours on it.
Yes, I'm aware this is an ironic point given a plain black car sits second.
Still, it's the main reason why 'Swiss Miss' Simona De Silvestro's Nissan sits down here. The livery is otherwise pleasant enough, and close enough visually to the rest of the Kelly Racing line-up. Just ... needed more red.
13. Penrite Racing, Erebus Motorsport: David Reynolds, Anton de Pasquale
Erebus Motorsport's Commodores largely avoid the Harvey Norman Nissan problem thanks to the amount of gold and yellow present.
Instead, the main issue is simply how straightforward and plain they look. They'll look good on track and on camera, but isolated in galleries like these its a livery that doesn't look particularly special.
It's a shame, given the chrome gold and chrome red Erebus cars that ran at the end of last year were some of the best of the year. If they ran those liveries again, they'd top this list.
14. Milwaukee Racing, 23 Red: Will Davison
Here's where things take a slight turn with the Mustang liveries.
There's nothing offensively wrong with Davison's Milwaukee wrap to begin with. It's much like the one they ran last year, complete with Milwaukee logos that are awkwardly small (I assume because the brand only want them to appear a certain size and on a certain angle. Fair enough).
But, in both images and on video, this livery magnifies all the bad bits of the Mustang's form. All the jags at the rear in particular draw attention to the signficant amount of paneling back there, while the way the white patch at the front ends before the A-pillar emphasises how short and under-scaled the front overhang is. Not ideal.
15. Brad Jones Racing, Freightliner: Tim Slade
BJR's Frieghtliner entries for Fabian Coulthard used to look so good. Hell, I didn't mind Slade's car last year either. But this year's car is a bit of a simpleton in comparison.
I get that the barage of black looks a bit bad-ass, but among other things, it could be argued that the Frieghtliner logos down the sides get lost in all the dark tones. There's barely any yellow featured, and what's there doesn't feel like it's adding anything apart from a light surface with which the team can place companies that have black logos.
Bonus points though for the yellow headlights. Those things are cool.
16. Brad Jones Racing, National Pharmacies: Nick Percat
At best, Nick Percat's National Pharmacies car looks maybe a bit safe and conservative. At worst, it looks like an average rendition of a retro livery from the '90s (Google 'Phil Ward ATCC' for a good look at what I mean).
At least though we can take some solace from the fact that Percat's Commodore has always sported numerous liveries across the year. And, it's unlikely that this 'blue and green should never be seen' ensemble will last beyond Adelaide.
17. Bottle-O Racing: Lee Holdsworth
As is tradition, two of Tickford's Supercars entries share the same livery pattern but with different colours. As isn't tradition, however, each looks a bit hideous.
The car of Supercars refugee come Bottle-O replacement Lee Holdsworth is the first to appear here. While the bright green will never not be aesthetically pleasing in isolation, almost every line and curve in the livery itself wrestles with the Mustang's contortions.
I get that the black base is probably intended to help 'slim' the Mustang silhouette a touch, and perhaps the elements at the base of the A-pillar are meant to make it look longer like its road-car cousin. But none of it works. It's not a pretty car at all.
18. Tekno Autosports: Jack LeBrocq
The small Tekno squad's Truck Assist Commodore is one of those cars that simply looks like the car of a backmarker. And that's a shame, given LeBrocq's immense talent and his position as the best-finishing rookie from last season.
It's the lack of a third predominant colour that does it, I'm sure. Splash some extra white around the place, and integrate the rear end better with a design that doesn't look partially unfinished, and there's a decent looking livery waiting to be realised.
On the plus side at least, the grill looks like a moustache.
19. Supercheap Auto Racing: Chaz Mostert
If you draw a one-foot circle around either headlight of Chaz Mostert's 2019 Mustang, you will find five different colours with little real chemistry with each other. If you draw a similar circle on either of the rear quarters, it'll be filled with red, with some black and white text if you're lucky.
My point is; this year's Supercheap livery is completely unbalanced, before you get to the inevitable arguments about how it doesn't flatter the Mustang shape at all.
Mostert's Falcons were always targets for finnicky sponsor clients, and this is no different. Castrol has swooped in requiring a bold green background for its bonnet logo, while similarly Century Batteries have set a requirement for a blue background for its already garish yellow logo.
Supercheap cars have always been divisive lookers, all the way back to the purple Falcon ELs and AUs that they ran in the late '90s. But this year's Mustang, sadly, is the worst looker of all. Hopefully for Mostert and the brand's sake, it can make up for it by being a rocketship.