How to design your own race car paint scheme

Updated April 17, 2017

If you want to paint your own race car, design your race car paint scheme before you begin spraying paint on your bodywork. You can create your design on paper or use a computer graphics program. Designing before you paint allows you to try different paint schemes and colours so you don't have to worry about painting your car only to step back and realise it's all wrong. Just remember that it isn't only about how your car looks on display. Your car should look good when it's going fast on the racetrack, too.

Trace a scaled-down template of the car's body panels on a piece of paper that should include the car's left side, right side, front, rear, bonnet and roof. You can use a computer graphics program to trace pictures of your car or draw the design on a piece of paper.

Place graphics that must be affixed to certain locations first. These can include sponsor logos or race numbers that have size and placement requirements.

Include your race car number on the left- and right-side doors. Many teams choose to put their number on the roof as well.

Draw your paint scheme, remembering to use contrasting colours so your decals, numbers and detail paint will stand out against the background colour. Consider how the design on each body panel will look at different angles.

Add any additional decals that you want to include in your design, such as sponsor logos.

Take a step back and look at your drawing from a distance. You need to ensure your colours and design will stand out when your race car is on the track at a distance from spectators and going fast. If the design needs work, repeat the above steps until you achieve your desired effect.


Make sure your car numbers and sponsor decals are affixed according to the rules of the series with which you race. Don't forget that your race car paint scheme should look good even when the car is at speed and some distance from spectators.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer graphics program
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About the Author

Elizabeth Dolgner is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. Dolgner now works in the motorsports industry, writing for "2Wheel Tuner," "Roadracing World," "Grassroots Motorsports," and other publications. She is also an author and has published two books. Dolgner holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Florida Atlantic University.