Prior to this project I had worked with driver Adam Spence, from the Redback Racing Team, on some vehicle wrap projects and the design of his support vehicle through Vivant (where I am an interface & UX designer for mobile apps). Vivant also sponsored his car for the Jim Clark Rally in the UK.
A few of us from Vivant who have a history in automotive (myself spending many years working with West Coast Customs - a documentary about this work can be seen here) assisted Adam in a consultancy role with his aspirations to upgrade from their Renault Megane. Adam and co-driver Erin Kelly have been killing it in the Showroom Class of the Targa Rally's here in Australia and wanted to upgrade to a Nissan GTR to go for the outright win at Targa Tasmania, where winners are dominated by super cars.
We had started building new branding around the RBR Race Team through some of the sponsorship pitch materials and vehicle concepts, so when the opportunity arose to design something new for the GTR I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do. The majority of race vehicle wraps here in Australia are unimaginative, very flat/colour die cut so I wanted to create something bold, bad ass and most of all something that would define them compared to the competition.
Building on the partnership they already had with Carbon Revolution, who build insanely bad ass, crazy light and super expensive full carbon fiber rims with titanium bolts, as a starting point for the design. I wanted to extend the greyscale colour scheme of the carbon throughout the car, but without doing cheesy, horrid fake carbon fibre. I also wanted to use elements of the look/feel I had created with the conceptual and final clean design of the support vehicle in 2013 - see below.
The Redback racing logo needed some work, so I started building a new logo as something I could then work into the design. This ended up replacing their branding and is being used on all RBR merchandise, uniforms and race suits.
I built off the cars aggressive body lines with sharp angles. I took a bit of inspiration from the Japanese tuner scene with the highlight colours on the wing and contrast on the bonnet. I really wanted to break up the design on the bonnet with a repeat pattern as a different way to show sponsorship, as opposed to using one giant logo. This took quite a bit of debate to get across the line but I'm glad we did, as a giant V or the cycle Vivant logo would have been too bulky considering how technical the design was.
Those dang triangles
Orginally I was planning to print directly onto the Avery Gun Metal Grey material, but Adam from Oracle thought this was risky and may not print nicely, so after some testing I settled on just doing a matte print and adding a noise layer to emphasise the matte feel.
The production print of the triangles was quite tricky, due to the amount of gradients, and required a series of tests/failures. Printing in CMYK gradients will display really obvious banding when done purely from illustrator, as there's only so many 'steps' in a gradient. To work around this I had to copy/paste as a smart object into photoshop, which renders the gradients more smoothly, then by applying the monochrome noise effect on top, this further disguised the gradients.
Photographing the carbon rims
My man Thien, aka Coconut Lips, shot the rims for me. It was a bit makeshift at the office but we got the effect I wanted by putting the flash inside the rim and remote triggering to bounce the light from the inside out. This gave it a nice depth and a sweet wet look.
Photographing Adam & Erin
As part of the sponsorship pitch process and final cut promo reel we made, we had Adam and Erin shot professionally by Steven Popovich at his studio in Glebe.
Steven and the stylist did an amazing job. It really made the difference in the pitch materials.
The final rendering
All the elements came together, though there were actually 17 versions of this rendering as we went back and forth on certain elements and sponsor changes, until Vivant stepped up as primary sponsor.
Finished car - photos by Brendan Clarke
Watch out for the car at Targa Tasmania, Adam and Erin have everything in their favour to dominate.