I often hear about the countries racing colors. Like UK was green, germany was white.

So is there a list of what country has what color? And also, why was that color taken by that country (Green doesn't scream UK to me, so why?)

  • I believe there's a list on Wikipedia, but I'll have to check when I have more time. Asking why every country chose their colours might make this too broad, I'm not sure. There's a lot of countries. – F1Krazy Jan 22 '20 at 7:07

The colours originated from the Gordon Bennett Cup, an international motor racing event in which each competitor represented their home country. To help distinguish which cars were representing which country, they were each assigned a colour: France was blue, Germany was white, Belgium was yellow, and the US was red.

When the UK joined the Gordon Bennett Cup in 1902, they couldn't pick red, white, or blue, as they were all already taken. They chose to race in olive green - a colour commonly used in machinery at that time - and won. The 1903 edition was thus held in Ireland, then part of the UK, and the UK team duly switched to a brighter "shamrock green". Green thus became the UK's racing colour, and over time this evolved into the darker "British racing green" still in use today.

Italy adopted their iconic "rosso corsa" red in 1907 in tribute to an aristocrat named Scipione Borghese, after he won a race from Beijing to Paris in a red Itala. I can't find a reference for when the USA switched from red to white-and-blue, but the emergence of Italy would have been the catalyst.

A full list of historic motor racing colours can be found here, but the only other one of note is Japan, who use white-and-red in accordance with their flag.

  • The question doesn't mention F1, but since your nickname is F1Krazy it's worth mentioning that the beautiful country-based colour scheme in F1 (with some differences) lasted until 1967, the last year without sponsors in the car's livery. – Gerardo Furtado Jul 8 '20 at 2:44
  • @GerardoFurtado It's never gone away completely, but yes, since Lotus introduced sponsorship in 1968, the vast majority of teams don't use racing colours anymore. – F1Krazy Jul 8 '20 at 7:11

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