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Gearing Up for the World of Racing

(November 2011) posted on Tue Nov 08, 2011

Tackling the challenges of race-car graphics.

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By Jared Smith

When bluemedia first entered the digital-printing arena about a decade ago, I dreamed of landing projects for huge brands like Microsoft or Sony, acquiring a job for a professional sports team, or even creating a masterpiece for the NFL’s Super Bowl.

At the top of my bucket list, though, were racing vehicles. I wanted to join the elite group of companies whose portfolios included off-road vehicles for the Score Baja 1000, a monster truck for Monster Jam, a top fuel dragster for the National Hot Rod Association, a NASCAR ride, or even a Formula One car. With this goal in mind, so began my quest to tackle all of these fast racers. And, I’m happy to say, we’ve been able to check off everything from that list.

These projects turned out to be far cooler than I could have ever imagined, but they were also more difficult to complete. The trick in taking on these challenging high-speed jobs, we’ve found, is that if you’re willing to buckle up and commit to do whatever it takes, the pay off is totally worth the effort.

Paying your dues
For the most part, the materials and inks needed for racecar wraps are the same that you would need for the average van wrap for your local plumber. But, the similarities between the vehicle- and racecar-wrap processes stop right about there. Some of the differences are obvious, but others are much less apparent.

For instance, you might think all vehicle-graphic projects begin with the estimating process, right? Not so fast – this game is different. Long before you earn the opportunity to quote anything to anyone in the top of the racing world, you better have a ridiculously impressive portfolio. Your past work must communicate that your print quality is amazing, your installers are top notch, and most importantly, that you have previously wrapped race vehicles.

So, you ask, “How are you ever going to get a shot in the racing arena if race experience is required beforehand?” Good question. We’ve given away graphics, bailed out someone in a jam – some nearby guy who races on the weekends – and began by first conquering the local race scene. At times, our only pay was in the form of putting our logo on the car or trailer. This, my friends, is called paying your dues.