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(Hex #004225) (RGB: 0, 66, 37)
(Hex: #003300) (RGB: 0, 51, 0)
(Hex: #021C13) (RGB: 2, 28, 19)
(Hex: #0C1911) (RGB: 12, 25, 17)
(Hex: #01B43E) (RGB: 27, 77, 62)
Shades of British racing green
with their Hex triplet and RGB values
Napier Green


Hex: #2A8000
RGB: (42, 128, 0)

An approximation of the
original colour used by Napier
A Westfield Sportscars, Lotus 11 replica, resplendent in traditional British Racing Green

British racing green or BRG, a colour similar to Brunswick green, hunter green, forest green or moss green (RAL 6005), takes its name from the green international motor racing colour of Great Britain. Although there is still some debate as to an exact hue for BRG, currently the term is used to denote a spectrum of deep, rich greens. 'British racing green' in motorsport terms meant only the colour green in general - its application to a specific range of shades has developed outside the sport.

Contents

Origins of the association

In the days of the Gordon Bennett Cup, Count Eliot Zborowski, father of inter-war racing legend Louis Zborowski, suggested that each national entrant be allotted a different colour. Every component of a car had to be produced in the competing country, as well as the driver being of that nationality. The races were hosted in the country of the previous year's winner. Britain had to choose a different colour to its usual national colours, red, white and blue, because those colours had already been taken by Italy, Germany and France respectively.

When Selwyn Edge won the 1902 race for Britain in a Napier it was decided that the 1903 race would be held in Ireland, at that time a part of the United Kingdom, as motor racing at the time was illegal in Great Britain, and the opening of Brooklands still 4 years in the future. As a mark of respect for their Irish hosts[1] the British Napier cars were painted shamrock green. As Napier had already used olive green during the 1902 event, and had adopted the colour as its corporate livery,[2] they supported this choice wholeheartedly. Initially the colour distinction only applied to the grands épreuves, but was later codified in the Code Sportif International (CSI) of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).

In keeping with these Irish/Napier roots, many of the earliest greens used on British racing cars were of a lighter olive, moss or emerald green. Later, darker shades became more common.

International rise to prominence

A 1955 Jaguar D-Type (XKD), finished in a dark shade of British Racing Green.

In the 1920s Bentley cars were hugely successful at the Le Mans 24h races, all sporting a mid- to dark-green. The first recorded use of the darkest green shades was on the Bugatti of Briton William Grover-Williams, driving in the very first Monaco Grand Prix, in 1928. This colour became known as British Racing Green and was regarded as a semi-official shade, especially in the 1950s and 1960s when British teams such as Vanwall, Cooper, Lotus, and BRM were successful in Formula One, all in different shades of dark green. However, reflecting their long racing heritage, Napier and Aston Martin retained the lighter shades, and Scottish teams such as Ecurie Ecosse and the Rob Walker Racing team used a dark blue. The Brabham team also used a shade of BRG, despite not being British. As Australia was a member of the British Commonwealth the base shade was the same as Britain, but this was augmented with a gold (later yellow) stripe, gold and green being the national sporting colours of Australia.

Under pressure from a number of teams, most famously the Lotus team who wished to use the Gold Leaf livery on the Lotus 49, in 1968 sponsorship regulations were relaxed in F1. In 1970 the FIA formally gave Formula One an exemption from the national colours ruling and the previously common green colour soon disappeared, being replaced by various sponsor liveries. This exemption has since been extended to all race series, unless specific regulations require the adoption of national colours.

Modern usage

An Aston Martin DBR9, showing a modern metallic interpretation of a lighter shade of British Racing Green.

The history of the famous greens was revived in 2000 by Jaguar Racing in Formula One, but after this team was sold to Red Bull by Ford in 2004, the new Red Bull Racing team used their own colours. Other traditionally British manufacturers have since followed suit. Bentley returned briefly to the Le Mans circuit in 2002 and in 2003 with the winning Bentley Speed 8, painted in a very dark shade of BRG. In recent years Aston Martin has also returned to endurance racing, with their DBR9s painted in, a typically Aston, light BRG.

With the many successes of British racing teams through the years, British Racing Green became a popular paint choice for British sports and luxury cars, and a popular choice for the original Mini Cooper, the new MINI Cooper and the Mazda MX-5, whose styling was heavily based on the 1960s British Lotus Elan. British Racing Green was not traditionally a metallic paint, but tends to be such on new cars, as such a limited range of "solid" colours is offered by manufacturers.

References

  1. ^ "Leinster Leader, Saturday 11 April 1903". http://www.kildare.ie/heritage/Gordon-Bennett-Race/Leinster-Leader-11-04-1903-2.asp.  
  2. ^ "About Napier at Dennis David's Grand Prix History". http://www.ddavid.com/formula1/napier.htm.  

External links

See also

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Noun

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British racing green (plural British racing greens)

  1. Any of a range of dark green colours, originally associated with British racing cars

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