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
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


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 (a colour that was part of their flag at the time), Belgium was yellow, and the US was red.

When Great Britain joined the Gordon Bennett Cup in 1902, they couldn't pick red, white, or blue, as they were already taken. They chose to race in olive green - a colour commonly used in machinery at that time - and won. This gave them the right to host the 1903 edition, but racing on public roads was still illegal in Britain, so the race was held in Ireland instead. The British team, as a mark of respect, raced in "shamrock green", a shade of dark green. Dark green was thus established as Britain's racing colour, and over time, this evolved into the specific "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. This (presumably) prompted the USA to switch their own national colours from red to white-and-blue.

A full list of historic motor racing colours can be found here, but with the rise of sponsor liveries, most have not been used for decades. Aside from the ones listed above, the only other colours still in use today are those of 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. Commented Jul 8, 2020 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
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 7:11

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