The 9 best Porsche racing liveries ever

12th January 2023
Ben Miles

Porsche has raced, consistently, for longer than most motoring manufacturers. But even then, its rate of incredible liveries to stinkers must be higher than most. Over the past few decades sponsorships from Rothmans, Martini, Gulf and more have resulted in some of the best motorsport liveries ever. We decided it was time to pick the best.



Possibly the most successful livery that Porsche has ever used? It’s quite hard to look back and celebrate such paint schemes, given the stigma that developed, rightly, around cigarettes. Thankfully this is the only cigarette brand that you’ll find in this list.

We’ve spoken about Rothmans before, in our article on the best racing liveries of all time, and therefore it has to make it onto this list as well. It’s almost impossible to separate Porsche’s Group C efforts from the blue, white, red and gold of Rothmans – the factory team’s 956 and 962s all raced the brand’s logos. But the relationship doesn’t stop at Le Mans. Porsche has competed in the deserts of the Dakar rally with Rothmans sponsorship and in GT racing. In fact, so iconic is the Rothmans colour-scheme that when Porsche decided to celebrate its motorsport heritage in 2018, one of its 911 RSRs was kitted out in those colours – it just had to pretend it wasn’t to do with cigarettes.



Martini’s racing liveries actually predate its sponsorship agreements. In fact Martini Racing was founded by the company’s founder and carried no decals of the company. Advertising on cars, that wasn’t specifically related to motorsport, wasn’t properly allowed until 1968, at which point Martini decals appeared on a Porsche 910 raced separately. And thus the relationship was born.

Through the successes of the 908 and eventually the 917 that Porsche/Martini relationship became the main one, with Martini branding the factory 917s as they raced at Le Mans and elsewhere. One of the best things about the livery was that it definitely never stood still. Not only did the psychedelic versions appear (more on that later) but there were several versions of the easily understandable Martini sponsorship – from white with just the Martini stripes on the front wings to silver with massive stripes down the side. Eventually the livery settled into the one we know today – white with Martini stripes down the side. That would adorn the 935, 936 and more through the 1970s to a series of wins at Le Mans. 



Yes, this is still technically a Martini livery. But it’s so radically different to everything that went before or since from the famous maker of vermouth that it deserves its own place in this pantheon of greats. 

It didn’t appear very often, and was only seen in period on on a couple of Porsche 917s, but this mixture of blue and green, with a number drawn as if it was 1969 all over again, caught the eye like no other. Yes, it’s absolutely a sponsorship for Martini, but you really wouldn’t know unless you looked very closely – the logo is just behind the number. But it will always be remembered, showing why brands should at times be a little more out there.


Pink Pig

Another livery that actually advertises nothing, but this time it really doesn’t advertise anything. The story goes that Martini, still the major partner of Porsche’s racing efforts, saw  the design of the latest version of the 917 – the 917/20 – and said it was too ugly for their sponsorship to be seen. In response Porsche’s designer Anatole Lapine coloured the car pink and covered it in details of the cuts a butcher would make to pork. 

The Martini bit may well be apocryphal, but the 917’s new pink livery was definitely real. The 917/20 raced at Le Mans in 1971 and, despite some promise, failed to finish. It never returned, but the legend remained. So much so that in 2018, celebrating the 70th anniversary of Porsche, the team brought the livery back. A 911 RSR, kitted in full Pink Pig livery not only raced, but won at Le Mans in 1971. 



Perhaps not as famous as others, but Porsche raced with Coca-Cola branding back in the 1980s, on two separate cars. This was very much a US-centric sponsorship, it first appeared in IMSA at Daytona when Bob Akin Motor Racing raced a 935 in the red and white, and continued when the team switched to racing 962s later in the decade. Its biggest success came in 1986 when a Coca-Cola liveried 962 won the Sebring 12 Hours.

Over thirty years later Porsche brought the livery back, and updated it, brightening the red and slapping it onto a 911 RSR. This time the tie up celebrated 50 years of IMSA and was used at Petit Le Mans, held just a few miles from Coca-Cola’s Headquarters in Atlanta. Did it look just as good? No. It looked better.


New Man 

My personal favourite here. Of all the liveries that Porsche’s iconic 956 and 962 Group C cars raced in through the 1980s, the New Man livery must be the finest of all. So fine that the person who owns the car now had it recreated for his roadgoing 911.

The iconic status is helped by the fact that the car won, and won with an independent team – after Porsche had pulled out of racing at Le Mans following an argument with the organisers, Joest Racing fielded the car at the 1985 Le Mans 24 Hours. 


Mobil 1

A livery reused several times by Porsche, but one absolutely best known for bedecking the 1998 Le Mans winning 911 GT1-98. It’s a white base with a series of black and coloured swirls all over, with bright fluorescent colours determining which car it was in the race. Of course the fact that the car won helps it look even better. We would normally spurn cars that are majority white, but this one just works.

And it’s another livery that Porsche brought back. Again at Petit Le Mans, again on the 911 RSR, this time in 2018 and on a pair of cars, just like it had been in 1998. It didn’t quite suit the RSR as well as the GT1, it still looked good.



A bit obvious this, but how do you do a list of Porsche liveries without talking about the 917 in blue and orange? Gulf liveries have looked good on many cars, but the 917 is the car with which it is most closely associated. That’s in a large part thanks to Steve McQueen and the low-on-script, high-on-cinematography Le Mans film, in which McQueen drove said Porsches. But for us it’s actually the idea of Pedro Rodriguez, smashing lap records in a Gulf liveried, short-tailed 917 that evokes the most.



Finally one you might not be quite so familiar with, but which deserves its place nonetheless. And it’s also one of the most delightfully simple liveries in history. One red stripe down the bonnet, one blue stripe down the bonnet. White everything else apart from two red and blue stripes down the haunches.

Again, it was resurfaced by Porsche for a celebration, also in 2019, also on the 911 RSR. These cars raced at Daytona, Sebring and even the Le Mans 24 Hours, and they looked absolutely spectacular. 

Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.

  • Porsche

  • 917

  • 956

  • 962

  • 935

  • 911

  • RSR

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