Red things just seem to go faster. In fiction, make something vermilion and you can almost guarantee it'll move quicker, as if the color itself reduces drag, lowers inertia and increases forward momentum. A visual shorthand for getting the point across that an object is zippy.
Truth in Television: Red apparently promotes adrenaline release and feelings of excitement or intensity, which can certainly give the appearance that a red object is moving faster, as well as possibly encourage the drivers of red vehicles to push the envelope more. Also, the Doppler Effect makes things red-shifted if they're moving away from you at a high speed (read: significant fraction of the speed of light). Don't expect there to be any evolutionary basis for this, however, as it's unlikely any human would ever get to see it with the naked eye.
- "Red goes faster" is the car salesman's mantra. Followed closely by "The red one costs about 5000 more, but it's worth it! Just look at that sheen~"
- Played with in Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!!, Retsu's red Sonic cars are definitely one of the faster, but at cornering instead of max speed. The speedy cars his brother own, meanwhile, has red as a secondary color.
- While there are earlier examples, the Gundam series not only become enamored with this trope, but also act as a Trope Codifier in Japan. In the original Gundam, the only way one could tell apart Char Aznable, the Red Comet's mobile suit from any other was because it was painted red and was three times faster than other suitsnote (which would otherwise be identical in appearance). This, coupled with Char's magnetic personality and sheer popularity, has managed to immortalize red suits as belonging to Rivals in other Gundam series. See Law of Chromatic Superiority and Char Clone for further details.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 revisits this concept with the Trans-Am mode, which turns the suit red and three times faster.
- In Heartcatch Pretty Cure, if the Cures douse themselves with red perfume made from Heart Seeds, they get a red aura and a speed boost.
- In Lyrical Nanoha, speed-based fighter Fate Testarossa-Harlaown typically wears Barrier Jackets with red belts crisscrossed all over it, while her adopted son and fellow speedster Erio Mondial primarily wears red for his Barrier Jackets and has red hair. And most importly, her beautiful, sad eyes are red.
- The redheaded Nove is faster than her sister Subaru because her Jet Edge is lighter than Subaru's Mach Caliber.
- Deed, who has red eyes and red magic color, is also one of the fastest Numbers.
- Chantez Arpinion has red Knight Clothing and her skill is translated either as "Super Speed", "Agile Speed", "Dreadful Speed" or etc.
- Vita, the red Knight of the Iron Hammer, subverts this. She's not particularly slow, but is a Mighty Glacier.
- The Outlaw Star is said to be the fastest ship in the galaxy. When asked about the color, Gene had 'em paint it red.
- The main antagonists Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened are a group of Genesect. Their leader, a Shiny Genesect, knows Extreme Speed.
- In the Ranma ½ anime, Ranma gets a huge increase in speed in his female form, who has red hair instead of black. For female martial artists, red wunz go fasta.
- Speed Racer's car has red features.
- One episode of Voltron had Zarkon recruit an elite pilot to defeat the Voltron Force, who demanded a ship customized to his exact specifications for the job. The specifications were about high-speed performance and painting it red.
- Cars: Lightning McQueen is red and, as seen in the page image, he's very fast.
- Lilo & Stitch: When Experiment 626 steals a police cruiser to escape, of course he takes the red one. Lampshaded by his (now former) captors. The supplementary material explicitly states that it is the fastest of the police cruisers.
- In Star Wars: A New Hope, the Battle of Yavin consists of two squadrons of Rebel fighters and bombers attacking the Achilles' Heel of the Galactic Empire's battle station, the planet-destroying Death Star. There's Gold Squadron, which is made of slow Y-wing bombers, and Red Squadron, which is made of X-wing starfighters, which are much faster. Said X-wings are decorated with a red band.
- Subverted in TRON: Legacy - during the Light Cycle game, Sam Flynn ends up on the blue team, and one of his allies mentions their opponents' cycles are faster. It's not specifically because of the colour, though; it's because CLU is on the enemy team, and his army happens to be colour-coded red.
- Red Hare, Lü Bu's horse from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Said to be as quick as any rabbit and famed for being a horse among horses during the era of the Three Kingdoms, it is described in the novel as "uniform ashen red, with not a hair of another colour" and "capable of travelling 1,000 li (approximately 500 km) in a day". In the Dynasty Warriors series of games, it is also the fastest horse that one could get.
- In Space: Above and Beyond, there is an episode where the Chigs are shown to have specially modified fighters that can skip across the event horizon of a black hole. They look exactly like regular Chig fighters except that they are red.
- The power of the Red Ranger in Power Rangers Dino Thunder is super speed.
- Hiromu Sakurada/Red Buster of Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters also has super speed as his power.
- Kamen Rider Drive's Type Speed is his red base form that happens to be faster than his other two basic forms, as the name would suggest.
- In The Perishers, Marlon was convinced his soapbox cart was faster once Wellington painted a red stripe on it.
Wellington: Well, if it makes you happy to think so.(Marlon leaves)Wellington: What's in this paint?
- Warhammer 40,000 is the Trope Namer:
- Ork vehicles go faster when they're red because Orks think they do (technically Orks are a little bit psychic, but don't know it, and the mass belief causes a small alteration in the engine's reality. One assumes if enough colour-blind orks formed an army, then GREEN ones would go faster...). This is reflected in-game; for a small extra deployment cost, you can give any Ork model with a red paintjob a bonus to its move radius. Orks believe really, really good. In previous editions this was the only upgrade that actually mandated you to use a specific color (It's no longer a requirement by a strict reading of the rules, but if you can successfully convince someone that your not-red car is really red, it would be a feat worthy of an Ork).
- The Blood Angels Space Marines are noted for wearing red armor. Their vehicles are able to be outfitted with extra strong engines that give them additional movement distances each turn. They are also able to field a specific jump pack equipped unit that receives extra movement compared to other Space Marine jump pack troops.
- Saim-Hann, the Eldar craftworld that makes most use of jetbikes and fast skimmers, also uses red as their primary colour.
- Averted by Tau commander Farsight's custom red battlesuit, which is not in fact three times faster than a regular one (it's considerably better in combat, though).
- Inverted in Iron Kingdoms in the case of Khador, whose Warjacks are painted red, and are among the slowest in the game.
- Red creatures in Magic: The Gathering are likely to have speed abilities such as haste and first strike. Red decks are also the most likely to rely on a quick start and burning through their hand to kill their opponent before the enemy deck can bring out its powerful abilities.
- The Red Oni, Blue Oni duo defines the "Red Oni" character as quicker to jump into something than the more relaxed "Blue Oni".
- Pac-Man has Blinky, the red ghost. While he's no faster than the other ghosts at first, after a certain amount of dots have been eaten, he speeds up to be faster than the other ghosts. After a few more, he speeds up even more to the point where he's faster than Pac-Man himself. Considering that he's also programmed to be The Determinator, this generally makes the final stretch of each level much more difficult as it takes much more effort to shake him off your tail.
- Dawn of War: The Orcs vehicle speed upgrade is called "Da Red Wunz go Fasta."
- Link's Loftwing in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is said to be the fastest in all of Skyloft. It's known as the Crimson Loftwing. Guess what color it is?
- Before, in Ocarina of Time, Epona is the fastest horse on Lon Lon Ranch. How can you tell? Because she's red. Her Breath of the Wild incarnation has some of the best stats of all the potential mounts, though only if you use amiibo.
- And before even then, in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, your Boomerang can be upgraded so that it flies farther and faster. Not only does it turn red, it trails sparkles behind it.
- The Simpsons Game has this as one of the many collectible Video Game Cliches.
- In Mario Kart 7, one of the customizable tire sets that can be used on a kart is the Red Monster wheels, which have a slightly higher acceleration than the normal Monster Wheels, which are blue.
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 has two temporary examples: the Dash Pepper turns Yoshi red and gives him enough speed to run up walls and on water, and the Rainbow Star increases Mario or Luigi's speed and turns them red as opposed to the flashing multicolored version from the first game though still leaves multicolored duplicates to emphasize their speed.
- World of Warcraft has an achievement named after this: "Why? Because it's red." It refers to the rarest of the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj mounts - the red one. (It doesn't actually go faster though.)
- Inverted in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. While Knuckles is colored red, and he is quite fast, he pales in comparison to other characters like Sonic and Tails. However Sonic's trademark choice of red footwear is very much this trope played straight.
- Played mostly straight with the springs in the early 16-bit games in the series. The yellow-colored springs provide a slight speed and height boost when bounced upon, and the red ones make Sonic jump much higher and move much faster. Knuckles Chaotix added blue springs in certain stages, which were even more powerful than the red ones.
- In both Tomba! games, Tomba can equip different colored pants to increase his speed. Both times, the pants that give the greatest speed boost are red.
- While there are plenty of other red robots from Mega Man that aren't considered very fast, the red Quick Man was built to be the fastest robot in the series. Also, Mega Man X's and Mega Man Zero's Zero is quite the Lightning Bruiser.
- In Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters, the red Mecha-Mooks act like the ordinary white ones, except that they move considerably faster.
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Foxy the Pirate Fox has a red suit, and he's able to run from his cove to your office in mere seconds.
- A secret Easter Egg camouflage in MechWarrior Living Legends for the Uziel paints the entire battlemech a dark red, with yellow eyes and teeth. The Uziel is one of the most agile Medium mechs, as it is usually paired with either a Jump Jet Pack or MASC. The Sparrowhawk aerospace fighter - an extremely agile scout plane — has a gunmetal gray fuselage with red stripes and shark teeth.
- Driver M.Rossi in the Forza Motorsport series. He's not necessarily faster, but he is a much more aggressive driver than the other AIs. And unless the car he's driving has an ad-festooned livery, it will be painted rosso corsa.
- In the X-Universe series, Split Dynasty ships are painted a rusty red and are with only a few exceptions the fastest and least shielded ship in their class. Pirate ships are modified with sweet flame Nose Art and are, for most the part, faster than the original Argon, Teladi, and Split ships they are based on.
- In LEGO Island Nubby will sometimes ask the player if red cars are faster than blue cars. He then asks if it's the colors that make the car run faster. Very strange coming from him since he's supposed to be a mechanic.
- One of the Adornments in Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a red chocobo chick that says the trope title word for word.
- Given a Lampshade Hanging in this The Order of the Stick strip when Tarquin describes his fastest Flying Carpet.
Tarquin: This is my fastest Flying Carpet, Elan. You'll note both its red color as well as its racing stripes.
- Space Blood inverts this with Zalda Len's Space Destroyer and Space Fighter, Which are Purple and move three times faster than the mass produced red versions as mention here.
- In the Futurama episode "The Route Of All Evil", Cubert and Dwight take over Planet Express, rename it Awesome Express and repaint the ship red and give it flame decals for this very reason.
Cubert: Leela, help me put these decals I got in my cereal on the ship. They'll make it go faster.
Leela: Really? What's your scientific reasoning for that?
Cubert: I'm twelve.
- Although there are multiple colors represented, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Rainbow Dash, wielder of the red Mineral MacGuffin, and red is the predominant color when she is doing one of her super speed stunts.
- In Sym-Bionic Titan, Chan's road racer is painted red.
- In South Park, Randy argues that painting a pinewood derby car red was the main reason it went faster-than-light. Of course, the real reason is because he stole a magnet from the Large Hadron Collider and put it in the car.
- In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Alura specifies to Keith the the Red Lion is a little faster than the other four.
- Storyboards of a deleted episode of Plasmo has Brucho painting the rocket car he and Plasmo are using bright red. Plasmo thinks Brucho did it in honor of himself, though Brucho points out it's only because "the red ones are faster".
- Red cars are often more likely to be cited for speeding tickets than other colors. This is probably due to the tendency of people in red cars to go faster than anything directly caused by the color.
- Also, red tends to be a lot more visible on the road, meaning they're more likely to be spotted by cops.
- Red is an incredibly popular color for supercars, to the point that non-red ones actually depreciate (price-wise) at a quicker rate. Enforced Trope?
- The Midland Railway and its successor, the LMS Railway, painted passenger engines red, such as No. 1000◊ and the Duchess of Hamilton.◊
- The most successful Formula One racing team is Scuderia Ferrari, 16 titles with their trademark red cars. McLaren also won most of its titles using a white and red scheme inspired by sponsor Marlboro.
- McLaren used to have a different color scheme, until they averted the trope by removing paint from the car which made it faster.
- The 1971 Spa 24 Hours ended up as if an Ork racing team had gone rampant. The Mercedes-Benz tuner AMG took the biggest luxury sedan below the Rolls-Royce league in those days, the Mercedes 300 SEL and turned it into a monster nicknamed "Red Sow." The already humongous 6.3-liter V8 was rebored to 6.8 liters and 420hp, the interior was left as-is except for the rollcage, and the entire ride was painted red. Despite its weight and frequent pit-stops, it was fasta than everything else except one BMW 2800CS. It was heavy, cumbersome, ugly, not to mention built from wreckage before the Spa race, it consumed insane amounts of gas and tires, but it was RED and FAST.
- Some studies suggest that signals from red cones in the eyes — photoreceptors that detect the red/orange end of the spectrum — are processed more quickly by the brain's visual cortex than signals from green or blue cones. Thus, seeing red literally happens faster than seeing other colors.
- Early in the twentieth century, silver cars were widely thought to go faster, mainly because silver paint was incredibly uncommon so the colour generally meant that the car wasn't painted, which both reduced weight and indicated that the car was a dedicated racer.
- Buses of the Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid, the company that operates almost all the public bus lines of the city of Madrid, Spain, were painted red with white stripes◊ until the late 2000s when they changed it for blue◊ instead, on the grounds the latter is a more relaxing color than red as explained much above.note They still are as fast as a public transit bus can be despite the color change.
- Red light travels faster than other colours of light in substances, due to red light having a larger wavelength than other colours of light. When light enters a denser substance than the one it was previously in, its wavelength decreases, and therefore its speed decreases (since its frequency remains the same). The decrease in wavelength depends on the wavelength of the light beforehand: the lower the original wavelength, the greater the decrease, and the greater the decrease in speed. This means that red light experiences a smaller decrease in speed when it enters a substance than other colours of light. Since all wavelengths of light travel at the same speed in a vacuum, this means that red light travels faster than other colours of light in any substance (including air, but the difference is very small since air's refractive index is only just over 1).