Race Car Livery: The Best Vinyl Motorsport Decals

Right from the very early days of motorsports, racing teams have painted their cars in vivid colours with large decals and numbers. The purpose early on was to make the race cars easily visible and recognisable amongst the dust and smoke those older cars produced. As the world of motorsports advanced, the bigger nations started to decorate their cars in their own racing colours, so spectators could clearly see what country the winning car was from.

As motorsports developed and became increasingly popular the big businesses and sponsorship money started flooding into the sport and the world of race car liveries changed. There were no more single-colour paint jobs or minimalistic looks. Instead, those big companies wanted their logo all over the winning cars in high impact designs that made their brand a big part of the race car livery industry we know today.

Jump to:

Why is Race Car Livery So Important?
What Makes Good Race Car Livery?
What Is The Best Vinyl To Use For Race Car Decals?
How Long Do Vinyl Decals Last?
How To Protect Vinyl Decals
Can You Ceramic Coat Over Decals?

Why is Race Car Livery So Important?

Motorsport Graphics or Racing Livery as some people like to call it are decorative schemes that make race cars look distinctive and give sponsors exposure. But what makes them so important?

Motorsport attracts a wide spectrum of followers at track side, on TV and social media platforms. It is highly addictive and evokes speed, danger, emotions and glamour. Of course this comes at a high cost. It is therefore essential for teams and drivers to find sponsors willing to invest in their passion. So how do thefracingy do that? With race car livery.

Allowing a budget for quality motorsport graphics helps race teams find better sponsors, who in turn invest in the all-important research and development required to have the best possible resources for their team.

Sponsors in general are looking for maximum brand exposure in front of the right target audience which is displayed in the form of racing livery. The sponsor’s brand must be represented in a way that is consistent with their other corporate activities, and this is where high quality motorsport graphics deliver for sponsors.

High impact motorsport graphics and professional race car livery gives a vehicle:

  • A professionalism that not only attracts major sponsors but gives them exposure to their target audience.
  • Attention that generates high social media interest and high levels of regular organic exposure.


What Makes Good Race Car Livery?

Good race car livery not only needs to look great but it needs to please the race team, your sponsors and the crowds!

Here’s a few tips to creating great race car livery:

  • Collaboration – It is essential to understand racing teams and sponsors’ requirements before the design process begins.
  • Branding – Well-designed car graphics will allow for maximum brand exposure with clear positioning of tier 1, 2 and 3 sponsors.
  • Quality Products – Using high-quality vinyl will keep your car wrap looking fresh, ensuring your sponsor logos are kept in good condition for media exposure.
  • Experience – Clever designing will avoid costly graphics on high impact areas such as bumpers: save yourself money throughout the season with less accident repair graphics costs and quicker repair turnaround.
  • Design – An individual striking design will attract attention from the photographers and will increase your media exposure, therefore attracting better sponsors


What Is The Best Vinyl To Use For Race Car Decals?

Vinyl graphics are the essential cornerstone to race car livery as well as other forms of vehicle advertising and marketing. Vinyl is able to withstand the rigors of the road but also able to maintain a colourful print. This has continued to make vinyl the number one choice for vehicle graphics. Most full vehicle wraps are made out of vinyl and typically vehicle graphics of smaller sizes are as well. Any covering over a vehicle’s natural paint job and body helps with wear and tear on the road, many race cars, fleets and delivery businesses will use vinyl graphics in place of custom painting or lettering because of the additional protective layer.

When it comes to choosing the best vinyl for your race car livery, it is best to choose a professional like North Lakes Signs & Vinyl Wraps who only deals with the highest quality vinyl and who has the most up to date technology, experience and skills to deliver a finish that gives your race car that professional and competitive edge.


How Long Do Vinyl Decals Last?

Vinyl’s durability is the reason it is now used much more often than sign painting for race car livery. For years, the durability of vinyl has been tested against peeling and fading.

The longevity of vinyl decals will depend on the quality, application and environment but you can expect them to last between 4 and 7 years, even in outdoor conditions like rain and sun. They won’t expand or shrink in different weather so the surface won’t crack, nor will the colours fade, making them the perfect material to use on windscreens, windows, race cars and other vehicles.

Just keep in mind one really important thing – whatever you apply your vinyl decals to will need to be as free of any dirt as possible. This dirt may be dust, sand, soil, grease, salt or anything similar – whatever it is, it will either stop your decal from sticking straight away, or your racing livery may start to come away from the surface gradually, well before it should. Clean the surface well and the decal will serve you well.

If you’ve had a bad experience before with vinyl decals, then it’s most likely one of two things – as mentioned above, the surface wasn’t clean OR you were sold a decal made from cheap vinyl. For a professional finish and a longer lasting vinyl decal it is best to seek professional advice.


How To Protect Vinyl Decals

Your vinyl decals might be a little more delicate than regular vehicle paint so they require extra care to help your racing livery to keep looking fresh.

Follow these tips to help extend the life of your vinyl decals.

  1. Hand Wash Vehicle Only – If you have ever considered putting your race car through a drive-up car wash you may want to rethink this idea. Vinyl decals and car wraps are delicate and the amount of pressure the jets use in these types of car washes can actually lift decals and wraps from your race car destroying your race livery. These car washes also use harsh cleansers and brushes which can cause scratches to appear on your racing livery or even fade the colour and design. When washing your vehicle, it’s best to hand-wash your vehicle gently and often. When hand washing, you want to use soft cloths, gentle cleansers, and avoid any oil-based products and waxes.
  2. Remove Stains From Your Race Car Livery Quickly and Effectively – We recommend you wash your race car every 1-2 weeks for upkeep, but if you experience a harsh stain we recommend you take care of it right away. Heat and UV rays can bake a stain into the vinyl so if you experience something like a bird dropping or squashed insect you will want to get this removed as soon as possible.
  3. Keep Your Race Car In a Shady Spot – A big part of keeping your race car livery looking new is being able to be proactive rather than reactive. When you are driving around, racing or training it is nearly impossible to control the environment, but when it comes to parking we are able to have a little more control. It is best to ensure that your car is parked in the shade or undercover. This may be something you already do and will be extremely beneficial to the look of your race car livery.
  4. Use a Professional – With proper care, you can expect your race car livery to look great for years to come. But, the most important thing when it comes to keeping it looking new is getting a professional job done that looks good from the beginning.


Can You Ceramic Coat Over Decals?

A ceramic coating is a liquid polymer sealant that chemically bonds to your vehicles factory paint, creating a layer of protection. Ceramic coatings are made up of SiO2 Silicon Dioxide with a combination of some secret chemicals to make it last much longer and protect the paint from UV rays, chemical stains and etching.

Ceramic coatings make it much easier to clean the surface of the paint as it creates a super hydrophobic surface that repels water and dirt. On top of all the protection and ease of use, it also adds a beautiful deep gloss to your vehicle’s paint, enhancing the reflective properties of the clear coat.

Ceramic coatings have been used by professional detailers for years and it can be possible to use a ceramic coat over your vinyl decals but it is suggested that if you are unsure or uneasy about doing it to seek the advice directly from a professional who can assess your vehicle and the decals directly. Always double check with the manufacturer if you can apply it to your vehicle as some coatings will not work with vinyl, plastic and rubber.

You will also need to prep the paint very well before doing so. Any scratches, contaminants etc on the paint will be locked in and may not be possible to remove.

At North Lakes Signs & Vinyl Wraps, we have over 20 years experience within the motorsport graphics industry and we know just how to deliver race car livery that will please you, your sponsors and the crowds. Contact us to find our more.