Gallery: Is Rothmans the most iconic Porsche livery?
Liveries.Arguably it’s one of the first things people notice and recall when it comes to motorsport. Before car models, years, perhaps even drivers pop into your mind, the instantaneous recognition must surely be triggered by racing liveries.
From your first scalextric to the poster on your wall, many of our first racing loves are associated to a particular design, colourway, or brand and, at the 2018 Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, Porsche got us in a nostalgic mood with a group of retro Rothmans.
From 1982 until the end of the group B rallying days in 1987 Rothmans (we know, it’s naughty to advertise cigarettes, but we hope you excuse us for this article) supported the factory Porsche sportscar racing endeavours. It was a successful partnership and one that created some of the most iconic Porsche designs of all-time. Luckily, we had several of them on display and running up the hill this year as part of the 70th birthday celebrations, including the head-turning Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'.
In addition, all lined up together in the paddocks was a 1984 heavily modified 911, the mad-looking Paris-Dakar 953, a 1986 961 GT car and then not one, but two fabulous 1987 962cs, all dressed up in their original Rothman colours.
The 962C is fondly remembered, and celebrated this weekend as a Le Mans legend. The #17 car, driven by Goodwood stalwart Derek Bell, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Al Holbert ran largely uncontested to the finish that year, completing Porsche’s record seventh consecutive victory at the race and securing the last of Bell’s five Le Mans victories.
So iconic was the Rothman’s Porsche colours, for the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours the #91 Porsche GTE Pro class car ran with the blue-red-and-gold stripes of the original livery, alongside the race winning retro-inspired ‘Pink Pig’ Porsche.
Let’s hope the trend of bringing back the good old days of beautiful and memorable graphic design continues, and we see more eye-catching decals at future motorsport events and competitions.
Photography by Tom Shaxson, James Lynch, Adam Beresford and Nigel Harniman.