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The Design of Your Racing Apparel Matters

by Steve Welk
The Design of Your Racing Apparel Matters

McLaren, Penske, Mercedes AMG - these are some of the most successful racing teams to ever compete in motorsports.  When you think of these teams, you think of success.  When Mercedes is brought up, you think of their dominance of Formula 1 for the last decade.  Team Penske is virtually synonymous with winning the Indianapolis 500.  It is impossible to think of Indy 500 winners and not think of their cars crossing the yard of bricks in the hands of Mears, Unser and Castroneves.  When you think of McLaren, you think of Prost vs. Senna, Hunt, Lauda, and Häkkinen.  When I think of these teams, I think of all of this, but for me, I can’t help but think about how good all these teams looked… Iconic.

The Design of Your Racing Apparel Matters

Apparel doesn’t win races.  Mercedes didn’t win races because their apparel looked good, but it also didn’t hurt either.  Creating branded apparel and uniforms that are functional and look great give the entire team a unifying experience.  Great apparel promotes your brand, your sponsors’ brand(s), and creates a relationship with your fans.

From fan to crew to driver, good racing apparel is more than “just a logo on a shirt.”  Putting time and thought into your apparel, from material to color to style to fit, you can elevate your team.  In this article, we will share a few examples to consider:

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1. Motorsports are visual

James Hunt, former Formula 1 world champion, was an icon of 70’s style.  James’ Formula 1 career ended over 40 years ago, after just 6 years,  but we still talk about him.  His driving style and character off-track are the stuff of legend, but one thing has always been just as recognizable …his helmet design.  Simple, clean, and consistent, race fans worldwide can recognize a Hunt helmet graphic instantly.  This proves that you don’t need to be flashy to be recognizable.  Keeping your apparel simple can sometimes be one of the most effective ways to build a recognizable brand that you can take from year to year, series to series, championship to championship. 

2. Look Good, Feel Good

Having been on several race teams throughout my motorsports career, I can tell you that I have enjoyed working for the teams that invested in their apparel the most.  It says a few things about the team when their apparel is well thought out.

First, it shows that they have a lot of things under control.  When the apparel is a scramble and an afterthought, it makes one wonder what else the team forgot to do or scrambled to get done.

Second, when the apparel feels good and looks good, I feel good being a part of that team.  My teammates feel good about being a part of the team.  It is one of those little things that gives you just a bit more pride and motivation to go the extra mile for your team.   When you work with an apparel partner who understands what team members are looking for, it can help make every member of your team excited to put on their uniform.

3. Good design is not an easy thing to create

While dominant on track, the Mercedes F1 team has become revered for its clean and distinct design style OFF track.  Since its formation in 2010, the team’s racing apparel has been an extension of the Mercedes brand: clean, smart, and high-end.

Creating an apparel line that is an extension of your brand is not easy and takes a lot of discipline.  You have to understand all the aspects of your brand and what it stands for.  Then, you need to relay those key brand factors to your partners.   Working with an apparel partner who can understand your brand and how to translate that into your apparel line is an integral part of that process.

4. Material and quality matter

Racing apparel design that looks good can make you proud to be a member of your team.  Racing apparel that feels good can help your team physically perform better.  A soft, well-fitting shirt can help you feel good throughout a long day at the track.  A good rain jacket can keep you performing at your best when the conditions are at the worst.  How do you decide what you need?  A good apparel partner will understand the conditions your team faces and have the know-how to outfit them with the best for those conditions.  Having apparel that looks good but doesn’t perform well is in no one’s interest.

5. Racing apparel connects teams and their fans

Racing fans are some of the best fans in all of sports.  First and foremost, they really want the rest of the world to know they are race fans.  They can also be some of the most starved when it comes to finding apparel to support their favorite teams and drivers.  Developing a retail line allows you to connect with your fans in a meaningful way.  Walking around a race track and seeing fans in your team’s apparel instantly connects you to that fan.  Having a high-quality apparel line will make your team stand out from the rest and create strong links to your fans.  It will also help create new ones.  Your sponsors will love seeing a sea of race fans walking around in their logo.

Developing a retail component to support your team is not an easy feat.  When it is done well, it can help promote your team and your sponsors as well as generate revenue for your team.  An apparel partner who knows your sport is the best way to develop a unique and stylish retail line for your brand.

Investing in Eye-Catching Racing Apparel Design

Creating a cohesive motorsports apparel line is a long-term investment.  Having an apparel partner who understands your sport, your brand, and your fans can help you deliver a substantial return on that investment.  We love motorsports; it is what drives our business, and we take pride in developing apparel solutions that provide the best results.  It all starts with a well-thought-out plan.  Explore our system to learn more!


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