National coloursIn the early 1900s spectators found it increasingly difficult to distinguish their team or driver from the others, so it... There's more... originated from the Gordon Bennett Cup, an international motor racing event in which each competitor represented their home country. To help fans 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 flagRace tracks have long used flags as a way for marshals to communicate with drivers. The colour and meaning of... There's more... 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 its own national colours from red to white and blue.
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