Panther chooses Wheldon livery for 2012

It might not look that different from what you've seen on previous entries from Panther Racing, but the IndyCar team's new National Guard livery draws its inspiration from one of the most popular liveries used by Dan Wheldon during his two-year stint with the team.

It might not look that different from what you've seen on previous entries from Panther Racing, but the IndyCar team's new National Guard livery draws its inspiration from one of the most popular liveries used by Dan Wheldon during his two-year stint with the team.

Crafted in concert with Peters Motorsports Designs, the team detailed the origins of the livery that JR Hildebrand will use in competition this season.

"Our biggest goal at the outset was to maintain the integrity of the National Guard livery we ran last season with JR Hildebrand, which was a design we originally debuted in a one-off capacity with Dan Wheldon at Indianapolis in 2010," said Mike Kitchel, Panther's head of PR.

"We've been fortunate over the years in that the Guard has allowed us to be very creative with our car designs, but due to the popularity of the ACU camo-black-red design, it's been our goal to build up the equity in that livery as we transition to the Dallara DW12 chassis."

Rather than copy Wheldon's Indy 2010 livery directly, Kitchel says team owner John Barnes asked for a few subtle changes to fit the new-look car.

Wheldon was killed in the opening laps at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16 last year when his car flew into the air after colliding with another vehicle in the pileup at the IndyCar 2011 Series finale.

The crash was triggered by the front of the field, leaving no room or opportunity for anyone to avoid it as the cars slammed into one another at more than 220mph (350kph).