Black and gold: Penrite livery history

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 19/01/2021
  • By James Pavey

Iconic Australian oil company Penrite Oil continues on in 2021, with the brand again aligning with David Reynolds.

It was announced Saturday that Reynolds will drive a Penrite-backed Ford Mustang out of the Kelly Grove Racing garage in 2021.

Earlier this month, Penrite announced it had ended its five-year association with Erebus.

Reynolds began steering Penrite-backed Erebus Motorsport Commodores in 2016, but the brand's association - and long run of impressive liveries - began a year earlier.

Penrite made its debut with Erebus at the 2015 Bathurst 1000 with Davison brothers Will and Alex behind the wheel.

Penrite colours remained on the #9 Mercedes entry for the rest of the 2015 season, and became more prominent in 2016 when the team changed to Holden.

The Erebus-Penrite partnership established itself, and they combined for the retro event at Sandown to celebrate the company's 90th anniversary.

Penrite remained on Reynolds' car in 2017, with the #9 Holden featuring more pronounced graphics.

The successful 2016 retro livery was followed up by a special Peter Brock 1976 throwback scheme for the 2017 Sandown 500. The #9 entry was a standout on the grid in the red, white and blue livery, which was reminiscent of the paint-job on the Torana L34 which Brock and brother Phil drove to victory in the 1976 Sandown enduro.

The most famous Penrite livery to date is the Australian themed livery for the 2017 Bathurst 1000, which Reynolds and Luke Youlden won. Erebus opted to replace the gold hues with a Australian flag on the flanks and bonnet of the car.

In 2018, Erebus began to step it up with its Penrite designs on the new ZB Commodore. The grille was red, with the gold and red hues returning on a sleek black finish.

After offering two strong retro efforts in 2016 and 2017, Erebus took it to a new level in 2018 with a two-car Graeme Bailey-inspired effort. It included the #9 car being presented as the 1986 Bathurst winner.

A year after its Bathurst win, Erebus unveiled a limited edition livery for its two cars. Penrite stepped up to back both cars, and the regular satin finish was replaced with gloss black and paired with chrome highlights. Reynolds and Youlden loomed to win the race from pole before cramps for the former ruined their charge.

From 2019, the oil company stepped up its backing, with Erebus Motorsport running as Penrite Racing from 2019. The two cars ran with identical liveries, with red and gold hues running parallel between Penrite branding.

The team later unveiled a special Army-inspired camouflage livery for its two Holdens ahead of the Townsville event. As part of an association with the Royal Australian Artillery, the two Commodores ran a striking camouflage look.

Both cars ran a black and gold John Player Special scheme for the Sandown retro event, with the team paying tribute to the scheme Jim Richards ran on his BMW M3 Group A when he won the 1987 Australian Touring Car Championship.

The team ended 2019 with a brilliant scheme inspired by legendary rock and roll band Kiss. The famous American band locked in a deal allowing Erebus to use its imagery and logos on its cars ahead of its 'End of the Road' world tour.

For 2020, the Penrite Racing name returned, as did the Australian flag. The scheme, with oil-themed hues, celebrated Penrite's Australian ownership.

The final Penrite-Erebus livery was a special one, with the scheme featuring enhanced Australian imagery for the 2020 season-ending Bathurst 1000. The livery was designed with an eye on fans being motivated to support local businesses in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Penrite Racing moniker shifts to Kelly Grove Racing in 2021, with the brand backing Reynolds for a sixth straight season. The Australian flag returns, with the new #26 number paying tribute to the company's founding year of 1926, as well as the Australia Day date.

Fans can catch a glimpse of the Penrite Mustang's competitive debut at the Mt Panorama 500 across February 26-28.

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