The Sad State of Racing Car Graphics
I don’t expect a lot from racing graphics in the modern era. Nascar’s rolling billboards and F1’s abandonment of the national racing colors is something I’ve long since come to terms with. I suppose it makes sense in an era when the needs have changed so radically. When, 30 years ago, a spectator sat in the balcony above the racing surface, or low resolution printing technology reproduced the photos in the racing news, you needed a bold color with a large number on the side to tell which car was which. The live spectator is a virtual irrelevance in the contemporary racing world, and the cars can be seen in near-perfect detail by the HD cameras throwing their images around the world. Now you can have imagery with fine details, so you can see the faux lighting effects on the M&Ms logo on the hood, or the crisp lines of the mobile phone logo on a front wing. That’s simply the reality of how the sport is presented today.
This though, really puzzles me. Ferrari has released images of it’s new 458 Challenge racing car. This is the car that will compete alongside the F430 in the Ferrari Challenge one-make racing series that continues to grow each year. The press release for the new machine boasts of it’s enormous Brembo brakes, the stiffer aluminum bushings on the suspension that allow for a 30mm lower stance than the street version, and the implementation of the F1 traction control platform. All heady technology that will no doubt drive the more well-heeled tifosi into the dealer’s doors. The Ferrari Challenge continues to grow each year, this year launching an Asia-Pacific division of the series.
But would you just look at that thing? The shape of the body is slippery and mean looking, and is quite lovely. The graphics though, look like your 6 year old nephew had some leftover decals from a model kit. Uninteresting choice of type for the numbers; the mix of various checker-meets-carbon-fiber patterns; the weird swoopy stripes.
The Scuderia sheild on the fender, the shell logo on the hip, these are traditional and proper logo placements, but even if you can look past the enormity of the Pirelli logos on three (probably four) sides of the car, and the odd placement of logos in front of the rear wheel. There’s nothing about the graphics of this car that I like. The checkers along the doorsill are particularly bad, not complementing but fighting the lines of the car. It’s heartbreakingly bad. Italy usually knows its design, and its such a shame that simplicity loses out to douchey patterny stripy nonsense yet again.