New Liveries to Tease the New IndyCar Season

Some might file this under “Not too much to talk about today”. I could have discussed the NASCAR race at Bristol on dirt that got postponed until Monday. There seem to be a lot of opinions floating around about that, but I didn’t get to see any of it live because I was at work. I just saw a few dusty highlights. Then again, that was a NASCAR event. This site focuses on IndyCar.

I might have written about the Formula One season-opener at Bahrain. I did watch that race from start to finish. It was a compelling battle at the end, but the result was a familiar tale – Lewis Hamilton won again for Mercedes. Then again, that was a Formula One event. This site focuses on IndyCar.

While both of those series are now up and running, we are still two and a half weeks from the NTT IndyCar Series kicking off their season with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. There was testing at Texas yesterday and today, but I worked yesterday and had no idea of what happened until I listened to Trackside last night (seven cars were on-track Tuesday, there will be seventeen today). Needing to come up with something to write for today, I settled on the boring topic of a couple of new liveries that were revealed earlier this week. Boring? Maybe to some, but not to others.

On Monday, Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) unveiled a facelift for Rinus VeeKay’s Sonax car. What is Sonax? They are a German-based car-care company that makes products similar to Mothers or Meguiar’s. Their livery last year was sort of the reverse of the old Newman/Haas livery of the early nineties – mostly black and white. Like the Newman/Haas livery in 1995 – the Sonax car has added a lot of red. In fact, they have added a lot more red than the car Michael Andretti drove in 1995, to the extent where red may be considered the main color of the car this season. I think this car pops and will be an eye-catcher throughout the season. (Photo: Ed Carpenter Racing)


Michael 1995

On Tuesday, ECR revealed what Conor Daly’s USAF-sponsored car will look like. It is supposed to conjure up images of the B-2 stealth bomber. While I think the scheme with silver, blue and black silhouettes is good-looking; it doesn’t really remind me of a stealth bomber. That may be a good thing. While I am always in awe when the stealth bomber flies over the front-straightaway on race morning, I’ve never really thought it was a thing of beauty. Most know how I feel about matte finishes. While that is crucial for a plane avoiding radar, I’ve never thought it was a good look on a race car. (Photo: Ed Carpenter Racing)


Conor 2

Fortunately, ECR did not apply the matte finish to Daly’s car. I think this is the best looking of all of the USAF cars that Daly has driven. I liked the one that Daly initially drove for Thom Burns Racing in 2018 for the Indianapolis 500 that resembled the paint scheme for the Thunderbirds. (Photo: Thom Burns Racing)

Daly 2018

Unlike most, I wasn’t that crazy about the shark-teeth look that was reminiscent of the WWII P-40 Flying Tigers. It looked good for about one race, but the novelty wore off quickly for me.

Conor 20

Still, the Flying Tigers look was better looking than the special solid orange livery that was run in last year’s Indianapolis 500 to honor the Bell X-1; the first aircraft to break the sound barrier. While I understand the historic significance of the aircraft – it didn’t translate into a good-looking race car. (Photo: Ed Carpenter Racing)


It was time for a facelift for the USAF car, and the new stealth bomber version turned out nicely.

ECR is not the only team releasing new liveries this week. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing revealed a two-race sponsor for Graham Rahal to run at the double-header at Texas – Fleet Cost and Care, a company involved in fleet management software. (Photo: Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)


As a fan of the Tennessee Titans, I like the color combination, but I might have added some light blue on the nose of the car – maybe a reverse slanted forward version of something similar to the iconic Marlboro chevrons. I like balance and symmetry with race car liveries and this looks like two schemes put together. Maybe this is by design, because it is very reminiscent of the blue and white Miller Lite liveries that Bobby Rahal drove at the end of his career in the mid-nineties.

Rahal 1990s

So with very little IndyCar information coming out of Texas, and not devoting a post to NASCAR or Formula One; this is what you get – a post devoted to liveries. Some people pay no attention to a car’s livery. They might be able to tell you if a car is yellow or blue, but they are oblivious to the sponsor or any specific details.

That’s not me. For whatever reason, I am obsessed with the details of a livery. I can tell when a stripe was removed or widened for whatever reason. I can also tell you when a color is a shade off. For example, Tony Kanaan’s 7-Eleven car at Texas last season carried a darker green than the familiar car he drove for so many years in the 2000s. I was surprised when no one else seemed to pick up on that.

This is just a sampling of the liveries that were revealed this week. Other new schemes include a tweak of all of the Andretti Autosport cars, the Carvana livery for Jimmie Johnson and a refreshed PPG livery for Scott McLaughlin, to name just a few.

We have two more non-IndyCar race weekends to go before the seasons starts at Barber on April 18. These photos should whet your appetite just a little to last until then.

George Phillips

2 Responses to “New Liveries to Tease the New IndyCar Season”

  1. billytheskink Says:

    I didn’t pick up on the Rahal paint scheme matching the striping on the old Miller Lite scheme, but it makes sense. Rahal is going to run tribute schemes to his father throughout the year, with the United Rentals car also being painted like the Miller Lite car (complete with a more appropriate deep blue) and a Total-sponsored car that is solid red like Bobby’s 1986 Indy winner.

    Personally, I liked Daly’s Bell X-1 paint scheme the best of his USAF cars, though I would not deny the appeal of that Thunderbirds scheme.

  2. The best part of your column- noting that Barber is just two and a half weeks away.

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