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How British Racing Green Became The Most Legendary Color In Motorsports
By DANIEL FEININGER
British racing green is an iconic color for car enthusiasts worldwide. While red racers belong to the Italians, white to the Germans, and blue to the French, this deep shade of green is a source of pride for Britons competing in racing of all types, even though the decision to shade the racers green was born of necessity rather than a clear choice.
British racers were effectively barred from competition in the early 1900s due to the 12 miles per hour national speed limit on all British roads, per Auto Week. This restriction meant racing talent couldn’t practice their sport at home, and in order to compete, racers from the UK had to travel to mainland Europe, a continent without this significant speed hindrance.
Around this time in Europe, the Association International des Automobiles Clubs Reconnus pioneered the concept of a standard color to correspond with drivers’ nationality. Italy had laid claim to red, while Germany and France used white and blue, respectively; the three colors of the British flag were taken. So how did the English choose green?
While Brits struggled to decide on a color to represent them, British driver Selwyn Edge won the 1902 Gordon Bennett Cup, ensuring his home turf would host the 1903 race (Into Kildare). Due to the British speed restriction, the race was hosted near Dublin, and in deference to their Irish cousins and home race hosts, British racers donned a dark shade of emerald green, cementing this iconic color in history.