Have You Ever Wondered Why Most Sports Cars Are Red?

I don't know about you, but when I think of a sports car, the very first one that comes to my mind is a perfectly red Ferrari, wrapped in that red that seems to resonate with the blood in my veins. Not by coincidence, but by nature, this color has played an important role throughout human existence and certainly that's where the answer to our question lies.
Ferrari Group Test 6 photos
Photo: Top Gear
Short chronology of red - Primates - Ancient Egypt - RenaissanceStreet photography(1907) Itala Grand PrixMan in red convertibleFerrari LaFerrari V12 12 Rosso Corsa in Marbella, Spain
What could strengthen our beliefs better than science, followed by history? In chromatics, red is a primary color, and so are our instincts. Red skin - caused by blood pumping near the surface of the skin - is an important sign of dominance for many primates. It exudes a strong and powerful masculine energy, as nonhuman male primates, such as baboons and chimpanzees, are known to be attracted to females displaying red. It’s warm and positive, generally associated with our most physical needs and our will to survive.

As we travel through time, the connotations of this powerful color take on new shades. In ancient Egypt, people would color themselves with red ochre during celebrations, as red was associated with life, health, and victory. In their art, it was often used to distinguish gender, as men’s skin was often painted red, which brings us closer to the correlation with masculinity.

In the Renaissance period, red colors were supposed to draw the viewer’s attention to the most influential figures in a painting. Monarchs, wives of presidential candidates and other celebrities often wear red to be visible from a distance in a crowd - just like you can't ignore a car in red. The 19th century was the first period when the color red was used to create specific emotions in art and not just for imitating nature.

Nowadays, in China, red carries a largely positive connotation, being associated with courage, loyalty, honor, success, fortune, fertility, happiness, passion, and summer. In Japan, red is a traditional color for a heroic figure.

On an emotional level - such an important spectrum in human behavior, this color has had a huge impact in the way we feel and act, making it a sensual choice or a dangerous one, sometimes both. According to the londonimageinstitue, "red attracts the most attention and is associated with strong emotions, such as love, passion, and anger." Also, through five psychological experiments, Andrew Elliot, professor of psychology, and Daniela Niesta, post-doctoral researcher, demonstrated in 2007 that the color red makes men feel more amorous toward women. It's the universal color to signify strength, power, courage, and danger. Red is vibrant, stimulating and exciting with a strong link to sexuality and increased appetites.

Color choice is subject to fluctuation and fashion, and in terms of cars, historical trends shifted from dark neutral colors of early cars, through more vivid colors of the 1950s and 1960s, back toward today's grayscale colors.

The first red car registred in history as making a difference was an Itala Mod. Back in 1907, a Paris newspaper challenged car manufacturers to race from Peking (now Beijing) - China to Paris - France. Only five cars showed up to undertake the grueling 9,000+ mile race. The Italians entered the race with this Itala Mod, covered in – you guessed it – red paint, which made a massive 45 horsepower. Sixty-one days (and a trip to Moscow) later, the Italian team crossed the finish line. To honor its brave drivers’ achievement, Italy made rosso corsa (“racing red”) its national motorsports color, uninterruptedly by Italian manufacturers Ferrari and Alfa Romeo.

Because everything in this world happens for a reason, there is a precise one in the fact that Formula One Ferraris are red: tradition. Beginning in 1903, when international automotive competition was in its infancy, each country was assigned a national color for their entrants. Italy did not adopt its famous ‘Racing Red’ until a red Fiat won the Grand Prix race in 1907.

Closer to modern times, a 2013 survey in the United States found that men were 12% more likely to prefer a red car, while women were 9% more likely to prefer silver. The research suggested this may indicate that women are more likely to prefer practical cars, while men may be more likely to prefer less practical, but more fast and fun cars - not in vain among the protagonists of "Fast and Furious."

Red is energizing and exciting, motivating us to act. It can also give us confidence and power, as several studies confirmed. In 2004, two psychologists - Russel Hill and Robert Barton at the University of Durham - discovered within the Olympic games that boxers dressed in red are slightly more likely to win, while those dressed in blue were less motivated.

More than obvious and as history has shown so far, the color of a car is an extension of the driver's personality, leaving space for mysterious ambivalent interpretations. Whether you feel strong and sexy, dangerous and confident or on the contrary, you are the exact opposite of all this, the red color will come out of your DNA, ready to satisfy all your primary instincts from which you are built, ready to pop-out all that adrenaline flowing through your veins.

P.S.: nearly 80% of all Ferraris sold are preferred in red, Rosso Corsa Red.
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