In a recent contest which paired the Envision Virgin Formula E team with award-winning illustrator Rob Biddulph and National Geographic Kids, children 13 and under were given the opportunity to draw a climate change-influenced Formula E livery. And the winner would get their livery on a real Formula E car. The contest has been run, and the car you see here is the winner.
A young artist named Kitty Thwaite, 11, developed this design featuring an orca, a sea turtle, a panda, and a koala. An earth motif is featured on the rollover bar in the shape of a heart against a field of lovely pink. And it wouldn’t be a great racing car livery without some stonking great flames, now would it?
'Land, air or sea, all animals are precious to me'… ????
— Envision Virgin Racing (@EnvisionVirgin) July 1, 2020
I’ve been harsh about racing teams delivering boring liveries in the past, and honestly this glorious livery is a godsend. Why does racing have to be so serious and corporate and homogenized? Racers are people who go fast around in circles for a while on the weekend to entertain us normal Joes. Life doesn’t have to be in black and white and red. It can be glorious pink and flames over an ocean with some cute animals along for the ride.
For those not familiar, Draw With Rob is a great twice-weekly YouTube show in which the titular Rob teaches kids how to draw, usually an animal. If this had been around when I was a kid, I’d have loved it. As cool as Bob Ross was, landscapes weren’t really my jam when I was ten. I wanted to draw alligators with big sharp teeth.
It is really cool of the Envision team to not only dedicate their car to a cause fighting against climate change — a perfect fit for the only major electric racing series, honestly — but to nurture a child’s artistic tendencies in the process is totally laudable.
Peter Johnson from Nat Geo was equally impressed with Kitty’s design: “Kitty has managed to – in a very small space – really get across the race we are in to stop a climate catastrophe and reminded us all that we should love our earth. Through this design Kitty has taken us on a journey across two different environments, both crucial to our existence and used flames to represent the rising temperatures which pose such great threats to the habits, people and wildlife that inhabit them. It’s a brilliant design and certainly worthy of winning. Well done Kitty!”
For winning, Kitty will get tickets to a Formula E race in 2021 — when the series hopes to be able to host guests again — as well as a personalised message from team driver Sam Bird, and a sub to Nat Geo Kids magazine. [Money, guys, you should have given her some money. Pay artists for their art.] The livery will appear on the Envision team cars next year, but the team doesn’t say yet which races will see the livery. I hope it’s all of them! I’d love to see Bird and Robin Frijns driving around the world showing off this glorious display.
Teams, take note. If you don’t want me to say your livery is boring, hire a pre-teen artist to design it. Hooray for child labour! Wait…