Porsche 911 GT3 gets stunning 956 Le Mans livery

09th November 2021
Ethan Jupp

It’s easy to be cynical about tribute liveries on road cars. The preserve of paint-to-sample speculators and collectors who see little more than a four-wheeled premium bond? Quite often, yes. This one might just be the exception. Yes, this GT3 wears a livery that pays tribute to the 1985 Le Mans-winning Porsche 962. The difference? This one was ordered by the man who won in the original car.


See, it was privateer Paolo Barilla at the wheel a La Sarthe in ‘85, of that distinctive staggered yellow, white and black machine. This 911 GT3 is a 60th birthday present to himself and the first project to be completed under the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur Sonderwunsch programme. 

"In the eighties, I had the chance to drive the wonderful Porsche 956, an iconic car in terms of performance and beauty," says Barilla. "The interpretation of some elements in a modern GT3 makes that memory exciting and vital – for me and for people who are close to me.”


One of the biggest challenges for designer Grant Larson was making the livery work on what is a vastly more curvaceous car than the slab-sided pallet that is the Porsche 956. 

"Geometrically these are very different cars," said Larson. "The layout couldn't be transferred 1:1." We’d say he’s succeeded.

"I originally wanted to move the race numbers on the doors further towards the centre of the white strip, but Paolo Barilla insisted that the "7" should be very close to the edge, like on his racing car.”


In addition to the livery itself, there are a couple of other more in-depth components that have been switched up for this one-off special. The gear-shifter is now a rounded lump of alloy, aping the stubby shifters found in Porsche’s Group C monsters. New too are the endplates for the wings, aping the swooping fin endplates on the 956, wind tunnel-tested and ready to go.

So what classic livery would you have recreated on a modern-day 911 GT3? We’d be very curious to see the psychedelic scheme from the 917, or perhaps the Blaupunkt livery from the 962, or the multi-coloured splattering of the Champion Racing 911 GT1. Oh, the possibilities are endless...

  • Porsche

  • 911 GT3

  • 956

  • porsche-911-gt3-r-rennsport-main.jpg


    Porsche 911 GT3 R rennsport is a 620PS track beast

  • porsche-911-gt3-touring.jpg


    Video: Porsche 911 GT3 Touring Review

  • porsche-911-gt3-rs-goodwood-cars-of-the-year-2023-main.jpg


    The Porsche 911 GT3 RS is the peak of track day performance | GRR Cars of the Year 2023