Client: CJ Wilson Racing
CJ Wilson Racing have been an awesome client for a number of years as they progress up the racing ladder with the Mazda MX-5 Cup and the Continental Tires SportsCar Challenge.
Having won the ‘Street Tuner’ class Championship in 2015, it was time for CJ to move up to the next stage and the ‘Grand Sport’ (GS) class Championship within the IMSA Continental SportsCar Challenge with their new Porsche Cayman GT4 ClubSport.
CJWR were one of the first teams to order receive their Caymans and the first team to run the car in competition, netting a front row start in the process.
With the move up from Mazda to Porsche, we needed to design a new look for the team. Team owner, successful baseball player CJ Wilson is well known in both sports so retaining his identity was paramount.
Motor racing is unusual in sport sponsorship where the team identity is heavily driven by sponsors year on year unless you are at the top level (McLaren, Penske, BMW, Ferrari, Audi).
As with the Mazda, we decided his signature star logo would feature on the cars. With the move upmarket, we repositioned this graphic over the rear fender, keeping the rest of the car relatively clean for sponsor space.
The long term aim is for all the cars and liveries to carry this graphic regardless of color and sponsor. With this in mind, we needed to leave lots of canvas free of branding or graphics for sponsors. You can see this worked well on the Mazda. More details on the MX-5 livery process here.
In this scenario, its best to go with a clean design or it has the potential to clash with future partners.
This design should work for different cars in the coming years, giving a cohesive look.
A Black graphic runs along the bottom of the car, extending from the stock OEM front lip. This allows a clean location for the associate sponsors and helps to give the livery a clean high end look. This black area kicks up at the rear to give ‘MOM’ Motor Oil Matters and Safecraft extra branding space on the rear.
When the team announced their program, I created a render of the ‘base’ design. This was purely to announce the purchase of the two racecars and as such the CJW Star was a little larger than ultimately planned to maximize exposure, while the door deliberately had negative space to hint the team had sponsors to be announced, plus open space for any potential companies looking.
To make sure everything would fit right on the car, I took a print of the giant CJ Wilson Racing star to Porsche Centre Langley, which allowed me to tweak the star based on a real-life model and ensure that it would fit and look correctly on the car in different views. The actual art for this logo is skewed and distorted so it looks correct on the car.
As discussions progressed with One Capital Management, we explored the possibility of a darker hue to tie in with their Corporate Identity.
The CJW Star is picked out in a contrasting star with additional striping and arc’s which complement the form of the Cayman. This results a clean elegant approach.
The ONE sponsored car, now nicknamed ‘Darth Cayman’ made its competition debut at Daytona. Mixing gloss black with the satin hues of the 3M Charcoal Metallic and silver gave the car a high end look.
With most designs, I supply the final design (right) and a wrap file which includes bleeds, overlap graphic and annotation to make installation a little easier.
Jens Walther, President of Porsche Motorsport North America, gave his seal of approval and commented that we had created an iconic livery!
The second chassis was built up in the original White base with Blue accents which showed perfectly how the cars can work as a team collective
The White car, called ‘fin’, finally made its debut at Sebring with regular ABD Client Tyler McQuarrie and Till Bechtolsheimer driving.
For the third round of the series, Safecraft Safety Equipment signed up as title sponsor on the #35 car.
This gave me an opportunity to combine my Safecraft livery design from Tyler McQuarrie’s Truck and Drift programs with the CJ Wilson Racing identity.
As originally planned, we have been able to keep the lower black areas, the CJWR Star and the accent stripes. This is a great example of where a team identity can remain despite different liveries and coloration.
Forza skin creator, ‘SCSSkreamies’ replicated the livery, under embargo which I then updated to final livery and ‘GT4 Clubsport’ spec. This was a fun piece of Photoshop work to undertake and I will certainly be using Forza in the future. (You can download this and the other CJWR liveries for Forza).
Really pleased how this livery came out.
An additional livery was created in-house for the Road America round supporting the Chicago Blackhawks Charities. While I didn’t work on the small livery adjustment is proves the original concept of a clean team identity can be retained as new partners come on board.
As before, Forza skin creator, ‘SCSSkreamies’ replicated the livery, above, which I then updated to ‘GT4 Clubsport’ spec with new front bumper, rear wing, wheels, splitter and various branding changes below. This was set by the famous Road America sign which was subtly re positioned to work with the Hero Card.
In addition to the livery, I have also worked with the team on other forms of identity. I produced a sponsorship deck for the team which can be tailored for individual presentations.
This introduced a corporate identity which was repeated on the Hero cards I also produced for the #33 car. This incorporates the Black sponsor panel and the accent bar from the racer.
With a couple of days notice before Sebring, I also had to produce a Hero Card for the newly announced #35 car. I used a photo of the car from Daytona but needed a number of logos photoshopped in and others removed.
This image was then used to announce the car publicly in the lead up to Sebring.
Updated Hero Cards were designed for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta. Both using the Forza/Photoshop renders.
I also produced a standarised Twitter ‘Quote’ image which the team uses throughout the season
Finally, I assisted with the livery regulations of the TORA CJ Wilson Racing Cayman Cup, a virtual race series using Forza, sanctioned by TORA. Each car is created by an end user, but has to retain certain livery elements including the CJW star and Black bottom section., an example above.
I also created a Spotter Guide. A great example of how the livery works across multiple colors and brands.
It is always great to work with the guys at CJ Wilson, CJ himself is passionate and hands on and with Andris Laivins, Marc Miller and Declan Brennan, we always get a good round of brainstorming completed quickly and work together collaboratively, this is always the best way, providing any review ‘panel’ isn’t too big.
It was awesome to play a small part in the next step of the team.
Thanks to Porsche Centre Langley for giving me access to a Porsche Cayman GT4 over Christmas!
ABD CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5 Folio feature
CJ Wilson Racing
Most Action photos: Motorsport Media for CJ Wilson Racing