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GOING VIRAL: SHARPIE 370Z

The world of competitive motorsport sees that in the majority of instances form follows function. One exception to this is the matter of livery. Drivers want to stand out from the pack and make an impression on the crowd. Team Japspeed are no different.

After a meticulous rebuild over the winter months had left it with no screw unturned, Shane Lynch’s supercharged V8 370Z had returned with less weight, more power, and a fearsome appetite for destroying tyres. Stripped back to a single colour for Drift Matsuri, it was found to be driving even better than previous outings. The plain, almost inconspicuous, dark bodywork drew the focus back to the car itself and made everyone realise that with the modifications performed over the winter, as well as being rebuilt, the car had been reborn.

With a keen eye for detail and his finger on the pulse of the scene, Shane Lynch realised that a typical traditional livery design just would not cut it, regardless of colour. With a car as special as this, some thinking outside of the box was required.

With the livery completed only hours before the first round of the British Drift Championship it was the ideal time to show off the new look and what better way than revealing how it was done in a 3 minute timelapse film. This film soon went viral; appearing on sites such as DriveTribe, Car Throttle, Viral Thread, Fast Car Magazine and UK Car Scene receiving over 9 million views in the process. But just what led to this moment?

Drifting is one of the rare motorsports where spectators can see their favourite driver’s competing using the same cars the fans themselves own. This can immediately create a feeling of connectedness between fans and drivers. Few people can identify with driving an F1 car, but chances are that Nissan owning fans at a drift event will be cheering for the Nissan driving competitors. This sense is somewhat missing in a lot of modern motorsport, as technological advances further increase the gap between the cars we drive and the cars we see on track.

Fortunately drifting does not suffer from this inequality, in a similar manner to previous years of touring cars and the heyday of DTM in the 1970s and 80s. Another similarity being the easily-identifiable, bold graphics of DTM cars; featuring instantly recognisable cars draped in designs such as Jägermeister’s bright orange efforts, and the eye boggling green and white Tic-Tac cars to name two; this exercise culminated in the BMW Art Car project of the 1970s where renowned artists were invited to design a vehicle’s livery purely on artistic merit, with little regard to sponsor placement.

 

 

Whilst ideas flowed thick and fast it wasn’t long before realisation set in. In order to achieve a livery as unique and high quality as the build itself, the design would have to be just that: one of a kind. With a plan forming, Shane knew who would fit the bill. Prime Mural Arts have more than 20 years’ experience in graffiti art and mural painting and are no strangers to creating art with little margin for error.

With no time to spare, the 370z was shipped off to the team at Fat Fender to be perfectly re-painted in crisp white, and an extra-large box of Sharpie markers was ordered. With several draft designs completed and a building level of atmosphere, Prime Mural Arts descended upon Japspeed HQ and work began.

With a skilled team working around the clock, progress was quickly made. Extra care was needed as permanent markers are as unforgiving as their name suggests! Any mistakes would not be easily rectified.

First literally outlining the designs, and then moving the focus onto the finer details, of which there are many. The more eagle-eyed of you will have noticed several key design points. The livery is all based around Shane’s life, tattoos, and personal style. Featuring frequent references to No.8 - his racing number and his own tattoos, see if you can spot them! (Clue: Look at Shane’s ears, then at the car’s “ears”!)

Whilst the design initially progressed quickly, the finer points of the design required a much more considered and attentive approach, resulting in a total drawing-time nearing 50 hours! Almost a full working week for a lot of people! However this took place over only a few days, with late nights and few breaks.

 

   

When the finished design was unveiled, everyone involved knew that this was a game changer in the scene. Amongst a field of multi-coloured cars with dazzling branding and blinding designs, the impact that the monochrome monster has cannot be overstated. With its subtle “see if you can spot them” sponsor logo placement, understated wheel colouring and lack of a big wing or lairy bodykit, is the less-is-more approach something we’ll be seeing more of in drifting in seasons to come? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, there’s nothing else out there like Shane Lynch’s Team Japspeed 370z.

 

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