Client: Electronic Arts, Papadakis Racing
Team Need for Speed had been a great success during its launch year. As 2010 came to a close, Mad Mikes Mazda RX8 was voted the best looking Drift car by Formula Drift at its end of season awards. The car also won in the Speedhunter Car of the Year as well.
If you followed Part 1, you will know that for 2010 we had three programmes, two drift vehicles in North America for the aforementioned Mad Mike Whidett and Matt Powers and a GT Programme for Patrick Soderlund and Edward Sandstrom.
Team Need for Speed also announced a programme with Chris Rado. While I didn’t technically design this livery, I was consultanted and as you can see it is close to the other Team Need for Speed liveries.
I was also involved in an extreme Toyota Corolla AE86 build with drifter Darren McNamara which appeared in NFS Shift before the final car did.
First event for 2011 was the Dubai 24Hours. Team Need for Speed had drafted in good friend Tommy Milner to join Augstus Farfus, Claudia Hurtgen and Edward Sandstrom. Looking back on it, it was a strong team.
On the video game front, Need for Speed was promoting NFS Shift, a racing game which was less arcadey than previous NFS titles. We wanted to connect the video game with the car, particuarly as Dubai and the Z4 was featured in the game.
I decided to develop some ideas using the Poly Mesh from the in-game model of the Z4. An in-game model is made up of thousands of triangular or rectangular shapes, like a 3d jigsaw. Ironically, the top Level of Detail was to dense to add to the car, so we went down a ‘LOD’ to a less detailed mesh, which worked well.
I like to explore different materials and finishes, so for this project, we decided to use reflective vinyl on the white areas of the car so under the track lighting or a camera flash, this would glow. It seemed to work in tests, but it was really a leap of faith. We would have to wait until the race itself.
I was fortunate to be invited to Dubai as part of the team, writing and photographing for Speedhunters. First night practice, and I’m on the pit lane bridge when the Z4 passes under neath. Camera and flash at the ready, success. It worked really well.
The week got better from there. The team, run by Schubert Motorsport took the lead early on and never looked back. Thanks to the livery and the win, the car got significant coverage and 2011 was seen as the year the Dubai 24Hours went on the map.
The racesuits shown above were based off the design I did for Mad Mike Whidett (see Part 1). All the Team NFS drivers would use a themed suit from 2011.
Team Need for Speed BMW Z4 continued in GT racing in 2011 and retained the wire mesh livery. Another trip back to Europe midway in 2011 saw me capture the Z4 racing around the Nurburgring. No win this time, but again, one of the most photographed car. Team NFS did win later in the year at Spa.
Elsewhere, Mike Whiddett had returned to New Zealand to campaign his Mazda RX-7 and RX-8 at home. Formula Drift Rookie, Fredric Aasbo was signed up by Team Need for Speed and late Deccember 2010 saw me designing a new livery for his Toyota Supra.
We liked to personalise the liveries for the drivers, so as Fredric was well known in the US for his Red Supra, we kept the corners in the Red.
No sooner had that been completed that Formula Drift team Papadakis Racing offerred Fredric Aasbo a ride in Formula Drift. Big boots to feel as he was replacing Tanner Foust who had made a late decision to retire. I now had to design a variant of the Supra livery to the boxey Scion tC.
I took the opportunity to specify Flourescent ‘Rocket Red’ vinyl for the car, but this was vetoed by the team, only for the Rocket Red to re-appear in 2012! I resisted the ‘Told You So’ comment. Despite this the car came out well and was a fan favourite.
2012 saw a much reduced programme with Team Need for Speed with a change of Marketing personnel and internal ‘ownership’ of the brand. Fredric contunied the Scion tc, but now with Speedhunters branding. Despite Speedhunters having their own base graphics (which had appeared on real and virtual race cars the previous year), the team decided to retain the original livery which I see as a great compliment. Biggest change was the introduction of the Rocket Red Vinyl!
Frederic continued in 2013 with the Papadakis Racing Scion tc. Now independent of EA, I was asked by the team to update the branding and also work with the new yet to be released front end. Speedhunters branding was reduced by the basic livery was retained, with an increase in support by Scion and Hankook.
It was a great project to work on and it was a shame the plug was partially pulled just as the second year neared completion. I still get comissions based off this work from the likes of Schubert Motorsport, Mattias Ekstrom and EA Games.