Wrapping it’s what all the cool race cars are wearing.

by Fred

credit Ganassi Racing JPM and car wrappedNASCAR, yeah, yeah, I know, low tech rollers that bash about between two walls turning left. Well believe it or not, there is some real technology, and its only skin deep!

Racing cars have always had great looks, no matter the formula. However, I felt like a complete moron (not a new feeling for me, so indulge me) when I read this bit by David Newton at ESPN.COM.

The NASCAR teams, face serious time limits for detailing and showing their many logos and paint schemes. With sponsor changes, special themes, honorees, and driver adjustments, paint shops would be overworked to say the least.

Newton notes that there are really two teams that always paint their cars, they are of course Junebug (Dale Earnheart Jr.) and Jeff Gordon. Gordon’s team of course is sponsored by Dupont the paint company, and well, they like to paint. On the flip side, everyone’s favorite Columbian Juan Pablo Montoya (ex-Mclaren F1 driver) drives for Chip Ganassi in NASCAR and his entire team runs wrapped cars every week at every race (for his NASCAR teams). Note: the car is wrapped,,, not J.P.M.!

The vinyl wraps, (its a specialty pressure sensitive adhesive backed vinyl made by 3M) can be installed over any level of trim on a vehicle (as long as it’s smooth). From a fully painted and decaled car, to simple primer, a new complete wrap can be installed in under 6 hours with all graphics complete. There is no need to add additional decals, numbering, or other accents. An entire car wrap can be printed out in about 90 minutes.

Not just for cars of course, you’ve likely seen vehicle wraps in your home town, and just never thought much about it. There are a bunch of places to get this done on your own vehicle, to advertise your business, pledge your love for your hometown team, or just to keep from having to wash your car,,, (I see you thinking about it).

The masters of this technique are Motorsports Designs in High Point North Carolina (that’s in the United States). They do the bulk of the NASCAR teams, as well as haulers, trailers, and a bunch of other graphics applications as well (thermal die cuts).

You may be asking, “What about F1? Fred, you’re an avowed F1 nut!” Well, I’m glad you asked, but F1 and similar formulas aren’t wholly compatible with vinyl wraps. The heat generated by the motors can be so great that only epoxy based paints designed for high temperature applications are rugged enough to survive and maintain the aesthetics required. In other words, melty cars look yucky!

Here’s a few places you can get wraps done, here, here, and here.

Another article on wraps from NASCAR.COM

Here’s David Newton’s original article at ESPN.COM

5 reviews or comments

Neagle Says: May 19, 2007 at 4:42 pm

I have seen wraps used on everything from trains to buses and they are very cool until they wear out, UV damage ect. As long as somebody has the smarts to remove the wrap before it looks like Cr^p.

Fred Says: May 19, 2007 at 4:47 pm

True UV damage is a problem. 3M does have a UV resistant wrap material as well, (I don’t know the overall use length on it, but its supposed to be a tad better over time).

David Says: November 24, 2007 at 9:38 am

Another good thing about a vehicle wrap vs. a paint job is that sections of the vehicle graphic can be changed in the computer design and only that has to be printed and replaced on the vehicle. When painting there is the problem with blending the new paint into the old paint to achieve the same even look. Computer printed graphics can be adjusted by printing strips of the graphics and making modification to the output color before printing the entire panel needing to be replaced. With a well thought out design, on your first vehicle wrap, changing out logos and ad messages is as simple as replacing the strategically designed panel.

As for fading due to uv damage, 3M has products that are designed to last as long if not longer than vehicle paint.


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