If you had a race car, put a number on it and painted it white, it would still be a race car, Maybe a very fast race car. It just would not be very interesting to look at. Now imagine every other car in the race were painted exactly the same, things would be kinda of dull. In the past most cars were painted one color. This was usually the color that represented its manufacturer (with maybe a stripe or two). Through the following years, cars began to become more colorful. Later still graphics and liveries began to be more multi color, and more complex graphic designs began to appear.
Today with the advent of vinyl wraps, you can adorn race cars with just about anything you can imagine. This could be anything from a sponsor, to the team itself, or even a cause or charity. However sometimes you are locked into whatever your sponsors logo dictates. If you are lucky you can find a way to incorporate it into something artistic and tasteful. If not you could end up with a very ugly haphazard looking design. Some teams have what have become iconic liveries, and sponsors have to tailor their logo to fit them.
Here are some examples of what I feel are well done liveries. Some are lucky enough to not have to worry about a sponsors design, and are able to do their own thing. I often tell people the photographers dirty little secret is that it is not always the fastest car on track that gets the most pictures, it’s the best looking.
Once again we revisit one of my favorite subjects, Motorsports in black and white. His time we will look at subject matter. Which of the photos you have taken will look compelling in black and white. When you look at black and white photos of the past, shot by some of the greatest photographers such as Ansel Adams, Gordon Parks, and Walker Evans, you can’t help but think that the subject matter seems to have been made for the medium in which it was shot. After all color film had been around for some time, and these photographers could well have afforded to use it if they were so inclined.
Landscape, portrait, and street photography are some mediums that benefit most from black and white. Motorsports is quite a different matter. Just any old shot shot from anywhere trackside will not translate well into black and white.
When I go through shots from an event, I look for certain criteria to determine if I can produce a compelling black and white image with it. The first, and most important is how many, or few distracting elements are in the foreground, but mostly in the background. Second, is it a dynamic shot that will draw peoples attention. Or will it just look like a car on a track. Third is the color, and livery on the car or bike. Wild multicolor liveries will just turn into a mess leaving the viewers eye wandering looking for a focal point which they will likely not find. So I tend to avoid these. Every so often I will look at a shot on the the cameras screen and know right away that I will convert it to black and white.
As with most things about photography, it’s all up to the eye, and taste of the person who presses the shutter. I can only offer my own personal views and options.