Many high-tech racing teams still rely on traditional paint and stickers to display important corporate branding and sponsor messages. As liveries become increasingly complex, and with less time to approve and implement the designs, leading teams such as Crescent Suzuki are turning to wrapping with high-quality vinyl. Livery and sponsor logos can be printed, and the wrap applied as a one-piece film, bypassing time-consuming paint shop processes.
After finalising team sponsorships, and designing and approving the livery for the 2012 season, Crescent Suzuki had a very short timeframe in which to prepare its GSXR 1000 race bikes for the first meeting in Philip Island, Australia.
"A race bike presents extreme challenges for all aspects of vehicle wrapping, from design to application," explained Tobin Jenkins, Managing Director of Oxford (UK) based vehicle graphics specialist Sign Language. "The result we achieved with items like the precision one-piece bellypan wrap, which displays sponsor logos on both sides of the bike, highlight the skills and experience of our design, production and application teams, as well as the high performance of the vinyl."
Controltac Graphic Film Series IJ380 from 3M was chosen for the project. Graphics are applied to the film by screen or inkjet printing, and the film has a dedicated overlaminate that provides a protective gloss finish, Scotchcal Overlaminate 8580 from 3M. Controltac Graphic Film IJ380's advanced adhesive allows for accurate graphic positioning before being activated by applying pressure. No base colours, or raw carbon fibre texture of the Crescent Suzuki racing panels, show through the film after application.
Vinyl wrapping is the ideal solution for allowing graphics to keep up with modifications such as the aerodynamic front cowling used at Monza, the fastest circuit on the World Superbike calendar. "The quick turnaround effectively releases extra time for our aero engineers to perfect the shape of the cowling. Ultimately, Sign Language will have around one day to apply the colours and graphics before we leave for Monza, which would be impossible with conventional paint and stickers. There is also a small weight saving by avoiding the primer-filler and base coat usually applied during painting," said Crescent Suzuki's Managing Director, Paul Denning.
Sign Language and 3M will present high-performance vinyl films and perform live demonstrations with Crescent Suzuki at selected events during the year, showcasing the advantages of wrapping in numerous applications, including all types of race vehicles, as well as commercial fleets, vans, and custom cars and bikes.