Tanner Talks Iconic Liveries

/Motorsports, Team Yokohama
Tanner Foust is a lot of things. Many know him as a professional driver with a legendary X Games career, stunt driver for movies like The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift and Ford V. Ferrari, or automotive TV host for shows like Top Gear.


But according to Tanner, he’s a “car enthusiast who somehow managed to make a living holding a steering wheel.” Well, we got a chance to sit down with this car enthusiast and pick his brain on some legendary racing liveries.

Race car design plays an invaluable role in automotive history. A color scheme is a time machine, with the power to bring decades of track domination to mind in an instant. According to Tanner, liveries accomplish a couple key goals—

“One: it pays the bills by showcasing the partners that make the racing possible. Two: it brands the team and sets the tone when you have well-organized livery and apparel – everything the team contacts is somehow meaningful. It lets people know you have your [stuff] together.” From there, everything from winning legacy to iconic drivers help cement certain liveries as legendary.

We picked out five of our favorite liveries and asked Tanner to rate them according to aesthetic value, body and form, and the cult following that’s resulted over the years. Without further ado, let’s hit the gas!

OUR TOP LIVERIES

GULF OIL

Gulf Oil Livery
It’s sort of the adopted poster child livery of an amazing era in motorsports.

That’s right – you can’t have a racing livery list and omit the iconic orange stripe running through light blue, made infamous by Ford’s mastery at Le Mans during the late 60’s through the mid 70’s. For over 50 years this livery has made a statement, making its way on custom builds and model replicas all over the world.

Foust remarks that the Gulf Oil livery “definitely harkens car enthusiasts back to that era. It’s timeless. It’s a look. You see the colors even on a modern Ford GT and you know exactly what they’re going for. They’re reminding you of their 60’s Le Mans domination.”

There’s no denying this livery’s place in history – and in Hollywood. From the 1971 film Le Mans to 2019’s Ford V. Ferrari, this livery will live on forever within cinema, carrying with it the height of Ford’s Le Mans legacy.

Favorite Car in Gulf Livery: “The GT40.”

TANNER’S SCORES

Aesthetic Value: 7

Body & Form: 5

Cult Following: 10

Average: 7.3

MARLBORO

Malboro
It was a bold move on a lot of fronts, not just the way it looks, but everything about the car.
You know you’ve built a lasting livery when your logo gets replaced with a barcode and everyone still knows exactly who the sponsor is. Adding to the Marlboro livery legacy, the first F1 carbon fibre car ever raced sported the iconic red and white paint job. Tanner recalls, “everyone said it wouldn’t work… then they just dominated with it until everyone was running carbon fibre.”

For Foust, this livery strikes a more personal chord because he races McLaren in their Extreme E series: “I’ve been lucky enough to go in the vault and see every [Marlboro-livery McLaren] shell in existence, including the first carbon fibre shell ever made.”

From form to function, this livery forever carries a strong heritage of performance and design, even if the brand name gets banned from racing.

Favorite Car in Marlboro Livery: “The 96 version.”

TANNER’S SCORES

Aesthetic Value: 6

Body & Form: 7

Cult Following: 9


Average: 7.3

ADVAN

ADVAN Livery
Seeing the red and black with the stripe separating them connects me to some great experiences.

So far as a Team Yokohama member, Foust has made history on GEOLANDAR as the first ever to complete NORRA 1000 in an electric vehicle, competed fearlessly at Nitro Rallycross on ADVAN slicks and raced to the top of Pikes Peak on the race-ready ADVAN A052.

The ADVAN livery in specific holds a special place for Foust: “When I see the red and black it reminds me of Pikes Peak. It’s one of my favorite races because it’s basically a car, driver and team versus gravity... Certainly at Pikes Peak, [the ADVAN livery] has a winning legacy.”

The way the design complements vehicle bodies also made this livery stand out: “There are so many adaptations it’s crazy… When it’s been adopted on different cars they’ve made small changes to fit the individual cars, whether it’s a Porsche or a Nissan or a Supra.”

Keep an eye out for Tanner sporting the ADVAN livery in the future!

Favorite Car in ADVAN Livery: “My Porsche GT4.”

TANNER’S SCORES

Aesthetic Value: 8

Body & Form: 8

Cult Following: 8


Average: 8

JOHN PLAYER SPECIAL

JOHN PLAYER SPECIAL
Classic and classy.

In the racing realm, black and gold is synonymous with the John Player Special brand. Tanner commented: “It’s rare where you literally can just say the name of the sponsor and everybody knows the color, the series, the car shape – just from the name of the sponsor. That’s probably the main goal when you’re coming up with a livery.”

In a lot of ways, the John Player Special livery took Formula 1 race car design to a more sophisticated level. According to Tanner, the artists paid special attention to F1 form: “It did a lot more to tailor to the shape of the Formula 1 car’s form than most liveries did.”

Not to mention, this livery made its way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Foust had the pleasure of catching a John Player Special up close and personal on set: “I drove alongside a John Player Formula 1 car in the shooting of Iron Man 2. It was pretty cool to look out the left side of the car and see a John Player racing next to me.”

Favorite Car in JPS Livery: “Old 70’s Formula 1.”

TANNER’S SCORES

Aesthetic Value: 9

Body & Form: 8

Cult Following: 8


Average: 8.3

PINK PIG

PINK PIG
Hilariously great… This one certainly falls under the category of disruptive.
To cap off the list, we’re bringin’ home the bacon. The infamous Pink Pig takes a unique position within history. As the only livery on our list to see the track once in its lifetime, it says a lot that it’s still remembered as an all-time great. Foust said that it was “probably an instant icon before the car ever hit the track… It’s amazing that it’s so recognizable and iconic with such a short on-track history. Shows the value of disruption for marketing.”

Even for its completely unique – and pink – design, it still had a fierceness to it: “Black wheels still made it look badass. The fact that it’s on a 917 – which is one of the craziest, gnarliest race cars on the planet – and it’s pink is just such a contrast. I think it’s pretty universally loved.” Not to mention it was the fastest qualifying in 1971. Performance definitely backed up the design.

Joking about the concept, Foust threw out that “whenever you come across a livery design, you really are dividing the car up. This sponsor gets 60%, this sponsor gets 22%, this sponsor gets 30%... In the German humor they felt like it was dividing up a pig, poking fun at giving sponsors their various cuts. That’s just the way I see it, but I’d love to know the inside story.”

This livery did a lot for art in racing. It was a statement that broke necks, saying “sometimes you gotta respect form over function... You can still have fun with art.”

Favorite Car in Pink Pig: “The 917/20.”

TANNER’S SCORES

Aesthetic Value: 9

Body & Form: 5

Cult Following: 9

Average: 7.7


LEGENDARY LIVERIES DRIVE FAR BEYOND THE TRACK

Racing Liveries


Of course there are so many racing liveries out there, each with a signature look and stories that live on for years to come. Style and performance can definitely coexist, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you to keep your whip planted with the street- and track-ready ADVAN Apex – a tire that emphasizes both form and function.

Thanks for making it to the end of our list. As always, keep an eye out for one of our favorite drivers, Tanner Foust, as he continues to do what he does best on the track.





CategoriesMotorsportsTeam Yokohama
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