TOP FIVE: HOTTEST SUPERCARS TESTING LIVERIES

HRT's Car of the Future prototype undergoing its first shakedown in 2012. Pic: Supplied

SUPERCARS livery launch season is well underway as teams unveil their colours ahead of the 2021 season opener at Bathurst in late February.

While most will immediately reveal the paint schemes they’ll carry into the season, Erebus Motorsport bucked the trend with an eye-catching, testing-only look.

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Dedicated testing liveries are relatively rare; many teams not ready to show a race livery simply sport plain colours or camouflage that do its cars little justice.

But there have been some cracking testing liveries over the years too, including a couple of forgotten gems featured in our Top Five countdown…

5) Red Bull ZB Commodore, 2017

The Red Bull ZB broke cover during a shakedown at Norwell. Pic: Supplied

Despite the best efforts of designers, Red Bull’s corporate colours and requirements dictate that its Supercars tend to look fairly similar year-on-year.

That makes this testing scheme that featured on the first look at a ZB Commodore Supercar in September 2017 stand out.

Clearly inspired by earlier efforts from the Red Bull Formula 1 team, this livery was used for Triple Eight’s ZB development test running through the 2017/18 off-season.

4) V8 Supercars FG and VE, 2011

Garth Tander, Rick Kelly, Shane van Gisbergen and Steven Johnson with the COTF prototypes in Sydney. Pic: Supplied

After initial tests in black-and-white camouflage, V8 Supercars gave its two Car of the Future prototypes striking looks for their official unveil at the 2011 Sydney 500.

These liveries were used for the launch and retained for future test and promotional duties, including once the Commodore was upgraded to a VF.

3) Ford BA Falcon, 2002

The BA prototype during shakedown running prior to Bathurst in 2002. Pic: Supplied

Ford produced a succession of factory liveries for its test cars over the years; the BA, FG, Car of the Future FG, FG X and Mustang all debuted with dedicated Blue Oval schemes.

But this original BA is our favourite as it set a new standard for revealing V8 race cars: it rolled out on the Sunday morning of the 2002 Bathurst 1000 with Dick Johnson at the wheel.

2) Nissan Altima, 2012

The first Nissan V8 Supercar, pictured during shakedown running at Calder in 2012. Pic: Supplied

Nissan revealed its Altima V8 Supercar to the world in October 2012 wearing these factory colours, before the Jack Daniel’s and Norton liveries were applied for racing.

Although the team did field a factory Nissan Nismo liveries in later seasons, we reckon this original, corporate Nissan effort was the best Altima livery of all!

1) Holden Racing Team, 2012

HRT’s first COTF Commodore during testing at Winton. Pic: Supplied

A month after Triple Eight became the first team to reveal a Car of the Future Commodore in camouflage colours, the Holden Racing Team unveiled this beauty for its initial test program.

The combination of carbon and gold was a big hit with fans and a major departure from the team’s regular red. It ran only briefly before the car was parked for upgrading to VF specifications.

HRT produced another slick black-based testing livery for pre-season running in 2015, but this ’12 effort gets our nod.