We bring to you one of the best posts at Speedhunters.com. Porsche has been in the racing business ever since there has been Porsche. Together with its legendary racing heritage there are also its famous liveries. Take the Gulf livery for example, it has turned out to be a fashion symbol as much as it was a Porsche racing symbol. Andy Blackmore of Speedhunters compiled the best of Porsche in their racing suits and here it is for your viewing:
Porsche & Martini Racing
The Martini & Rossi distillery were one of the first sponsors in motorsport at the end of the 60’s. Prior to that, cars ran in national colours. Silver for German, Green for Great Britain, Red for Italy etc.
Martini sponsorship begin in 1968 at an event in Germany, this lead to sponsorship of Porsche race cars on and off, from 1969 until the end of the 70’s. One of their most successful cars was the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans winner. As with most classic liveries, the Martini stripes flow over the car, working with the surfaces and shutlines.
There are countless Martini Porsche’s I could show, they all work well. Simple but well resolved. Martini-Porsche won Le Mans three times.
Porsche 917 ‘Hippie’
The Hippy livery was a special psychedelic livery which was raced by Martini Porsche in 1970. Porsche styling chief, Tony Laine designed the livery which was instantly called ‘The Hippy Car’. The car competed in the 1970 Le Mans as a semi-works effort where it finished second, five laps down in the hands of Gerard Larrousse and Willy Kauhsen.
At the time, Martini were also involved in sponsorship of the Techno, Brabham and then Lotus Formula 1 team. Since 1980, Martini have been involved in sponsorship of Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and Ferrari.
Porsche 917-20 ‘Pink Pig’
It may not be attractive, but its iconic!
The Porsche 917 is a beautiful car, even better in coupe trim. In 1971 Porsche commissioned an Aerodynamics company, SERA to analysis the 917 and develop a more efficient car. The organisation discovered that by making the car wider, the wheels would be inboard and create less turbulent air. The car made its debut at a test in plain white. The bulging bodywork with the inset wheels reminded journalists of a Pig with its relatively small feet and thus, the idea of the Pink Pig was born.
Porsche designed the Pink livery with the German names for various cuts of beef.
John Brooks tells me, “all the departments in Porsche were going to run a 917 in the 1971 race and a late budgetary issue meant that one of the two lost out………the loser got to choose the colour scheme and had their revenge.the livery was designed by one of the teams”.
Legend has it, sponsor Martini, were not impressed and their logo didn’t appear on the car.
The car raced once, at 1971 Le Mans, driven by Reinhold Joest and Willi Kauhsen. It ran as high as third in the race before retiring. The overall speed of the car was impressive, suggesting that SERA were on the right track. Joest later went on to win Le Mans as a team owner with Porsche and Audi.
If you are lucky enough to find a Minichamps model of this, make sure it comes with a box. The box has a little speaker which broadcasts ‘oink, oink’!
Porsche And Gulf
Gulf celebrate their 40th year since they first appeared at Le Mans this year. Gulf started out sponsoring JW Automotive’s Mirage, a development of the Ford GT40, back in 1967.
The pale blue and orange colours became synonymous with Ford, Porsche and Sports car racing. Interestingly the colour comes from a Wiltshire Fuel company which Gulf had purchased a while earlier.
Gulf became official sponsor to the works Porsche in 1970 and 1971. The classic colours worked very well on the 917, although the orange stripe along the side didn’t appear until later years. The Le Mans movie of the 1970 race, featuring Steve McQueen gave the ‘blue and orange’ extra publicity cementing the livery in the minds of many non-race car fans.
Gulf continued with Porsche into 1971 before Martini became more involved. Gulf wouldn’t be seen with Porsche again until 1993 when it sponsored a Porsche Kremer at Le Mans with Derek Bell at the wheel. The new darker blue brought the design up to date, but it was always a bone of contention.
I designed the Gulf livery for the 1995/6 McLaren F1 GTR and the colours were swapped around, different paint finishes and colours were used before the new Gulf company had the balls to go with what was really needed, a return to powder blue and orange.
Since then, Audi, Courage, Zytek and Aston Martin have all had official Gulf presence, while many other teams have copied the basic design and colouration.
It was reported that when Gulf sponsored Audi Sport UK in 2001 the actual sponsorship cost was minimal. The other sponsors realised a classic livery would get more photographic exposure, ensuring their logos would be seen more often.
British tobacco manufacture Rothmans first became involved with Porsche in 1982 when they supported the new works Sportscar team. The Porsche 956 made its debut in 1982 and won the 24 Hours of Le mans that year. Initially, the livery included striping that ran around the cockpit of the car, expanding in a similar method to Martini.
Although 1982 was seen as a development year, the 1-2-3 finish at the 1982 Le Mans race convinced many people to order customer cars.
From 1983, the striping was simplified with a simple Blue, Red and Gold strip over the top of the car. The 1983 season would see a manufactures crown and another win at Le Mans. The front face and side would remain blue, separated by a colour band. Some markets prohibited tobacco sponsorship, so Rothmans was replaced with Racing or on a rare occasion left blank. The Rothmans Porsche competed at Le Mans and in the World Sports Car Championship. It never appeared in a race in North America.
The 956 was superseded by the 962 in 1984. Although the car and livery looked similar, many changes were made under the skin including a new engine, wheelbase and aerodynamics. The 962 would continue the worldwide success of the 956.
In these images you can also see the White Speedline Wheel covers. These were popular on the 956 and 962
Rothmans asked Porsche to produce a rally car for the 1984 World Rally Championship. The 959 Group B car was in development, so the 911 SC RS was used for a while. Porsche provided the car, Rothmans funded it and the newly created Prodrive company developed and ran the rally team. Rothmans would later support Prodrive-Subaru’s first entry with Colin McRae
Rothmans then sponsored the works Porsche 961 (Racing version of the 959) at Le Mans and at the Paris-Dakar Rally.
Very similar livery with the blue being separated by the Gold and red band around the front bumper and along the side.
RLR Canon Porsche
Richard Lloyd was a successful team manager in the UK with success in Touring Cars. In 1981, he ran a Porsche 924 GTR in the world Sportscar championship, developed by his team, GTi Engineering. GTi morphed into ‘Richard Lloyd Racing’. Having seen the success of the new Porsche 956, Richard ordered one of the first customer cars. Canon continued their sponsorship and the 956 carried a simple but stunning livery designed by Peter Stevens, designer of the McLaren F1.
RLR were one of the more successful teams and like their counterparts, Daurer, Schuppan and Braun, developed the cars themselves so that later cars carried a RLR designation.
Richard went on to run Audi’s BTCC campaign, the Audi R8C and the Le Mans winning Bentley team.
Sadly, Richard was killed earlier this year in a helicopter crash which also took the lives of a Apex Employee and Scottish Race driver David Leslie. A very dark day for Motorsport.
1988 Porsche 962 Shell-Dunlop
This livery was only seen briefly but became popular as it was a rare asymmetric design. Dunlop and Shell had agreed to share different parts of the car, now that Rothmans had departed.
As you can, Shell appeared on the left hand sidepod, and Dunlop on the left hand rear wing end plate. These were reversed on the other side. A Satin black (a modern trends) completed the look.
Momo is a race equipment and design company in Italy, started by racer Gianpiero Moretti. Moretti was a relatively successful driver and achieved some success in the IMSA Series. One of the first Momo Porsches’ was a 935 Moby car which Moretti shared with Mauro Baldi. The strong yellow Momo branding on a plain red car.
Moretti progressed onto a Porsche 962 and the livery developed with arrows. A very simple, but very effective livery which was popular in North America. After Porsche, the livery was seen on the stunning Allard J2-X (concept) race car and on the Ferrari 333SP
New Man/Taka-Q Joest Porsche 956
Porsche works driver, Reinhold Joest set up his own team in 1978 and exclusively ran Porsche’s through to the 90’s. Joest Porsches ran many liveries, but the one most people will remember is the 1984 Le Mans Winner. Yellow front, black rear with white and yellow diagonal stripes.
Two car entry with a distinctive multi-sponsored car saw the No 7 car with Klaus Ludwig and Henri Pescarolo. The livery would return for 1985 and would once again, end up winning with the very same chassis. The 1986 car ran a simplified livery with new sponsorship from Taka-Q. Today, Joest assist Audi with their Le Mans campaigns.
A very iconic livery! Seen on the 935, this was also used on the 956/962 which saw Stefan Bellof make a name in the European Sportscar Championship. This car was run by Braun Motorsport.
Hard to see in this shot, but notice the wing on the nose, mounted between the headlamps. Braun and Richard Lloyd Racing used this aerodynamic aid for a while.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a massive fan of the this livery, however, you have to look at the bigger picture and for many in North America, this design with multi-coloured flashes is very well-known. It reminds me of the Benetton B187 Formula 1 car of Gerhard Berger and Alessandro Nannini
Champion Racing was one of the few teams to run a non-factory Porsche 911 GT1 in the late 90’s. The coloured flashes would also adorn the Champion Audi R8 a few years later. Champion then ran the offical works ‘Audi Sport North America’ team in the ALMS. Sadly, Champion Racing have just closed their doors, following the pull-out of Audi from the ALMS.
Flying Lizard Porsche
One of the most distinctive liveries in current racing is the Flying Lizard design by Troy Lee Designs. The car has a simple Silver and Red colouration, with a lizard graphic splitting up the colours. A similar graphic is located on the hood. It has become instantly recognisable in North America and is a fan favourite.
Troy Lee and Flying Lizard produced a special one-off livery for the 2007 Le Mans – seen below.
There are countless other liveries I could show, Sportscars were dominated by Porsche in the 70’s and 80’s and it wouldn’t be a surprise if your favourite isn’t on the list. Maybe it was the Miller car, or Leyton House or Kenwood.
Feel free to add to these in the comments.
Words By: Andy Blackmore of SpeedHunters