To differentiate the country for which to team raced, a colour-coding was developed. The first usage of this came during Gordon Bennett Cup races in 1900-1905 which was a race between Nations and their automotive products. Germany was assigned white, Belgium yellow, USA red, United Kingdom green, and France blue.
As more and more countries got into racing, the colour palette grew, and some colours changed, most notably Germany to silver, Italy to red, and the USA to white with blue, but France maintained it’s traditional blue.
1971 Matra-Simca MS120B
Photo courtesy & © John Mackenzie
They were much simpler times, when racers drove for their nation, and not necessarily the highest bidder.
All images © Paul Chenard