In the week leading up to the Le Mans Test Day, Porsche announced their new liveries for the 24-hour race on 15-16 June. In response to this announcement, we ask you, the reader, what your favourite Porsche Le Mans livery is. It might be the current crop of cars, or it might be one from the ‘70s, it doesn’t matter, just let us know which is your favourite.
In the early years, Porsche race cars were mostly bare aluminium (silver), this was done to reduce manufacturing time and also weight (no paint). This trend continued with Porsche right up until 1966 when the 906s (many were white) began to wear a coloured panel in the front with matching rocker panels, to help with vehicle identification when they came into the pits. The 907s the following year were given green, purple, blue yellow or red front panels, and this colour trend continued through 1968 and 1969 with the 908s and 917s.
Then in 1970, something happened! More colours and crazy, psychedelic patterns burst onto the scene, and the racing world has not been the same since. Although sponsorships had been a part of motor racing for many years, the 1970s saw an explosion of advertising on race cars, some just in the form of stickers but some cars took on a total expression of colour that had not been seen before. Take for example the well-known ‘Hippie’ Martini Porsche 917 of 1970, this car is still spoken about today and referred to in innumerable books and magazine articles.
This colourful development is the subject of our feature today where we are asking what your favourite Porsche Le Mans livery is. Referring again to the ‘Hippie’ Porsche 917 from 1970, the fact that we are still talking about this car and so many other memorable colour schemes almost five decades on, speaks for itself. Similarly, we can talk about the Martini Porsche 935 ‘Moby Dick’ which also carried one of Porsche’s most loved liveries. With this in mind, do you think you will remember the corporate colours of the current 911 RSR in a few years’ time, and talk about these cars in the same way that you talk about the 1971 Porsche 917 ‘Sau’, or the Martini 911 Carrera RSR Turbo from 1974, or the Boss 956, Marlboro 956, Hawaiian Tropic 956, the Shell/Dunlop 962, Leyton House, and Kenwood? More recently, the Flying Lizard 911 GT3 RSR comes to mind as one of the more creative liveries…and so the list goes on.
Porsche followers will recall how last year at Le Mans, the Stuttgart manufacturer revived two of its older but still very familiar liveries for two of the 911 RSRs, the pink ‘Sau’ livery from the 1971 Porsche 917/20 and the Rothmans Racing livery from the Group C days. In the USA the famous white, red and blue livery of the Brumos Racing team, has adorned the 911s currently racing in the IMSA series. This year, two of the 911s racing at Le Mans will be decked out in the same Brumos colours. You could ask the question, “Why” is Porsche (and now Ford too) leveraging the liveries of old, when the technology exists to create millions of colours on computers? Possibly, the answer lies somewhere in between the emotions of familiarity and appeal.
With the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hour race just around the corner, we have compiled a gallery of some of the more memorable Porsche liveries to compete in this great race, in the hope that you will be inspired to recall some of your favourites. We would to ask that you simply post your response where it says “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of this page. We hope that you enjoy our selection:
This selection of images serves just to spark your imagination as to which your favourite Porsche Le Mans liveries are. You may not like any of the above, but that is not the point of this feature, just let us know which are your favourites in a comment below. Thanks and enjoy!!
Written by: Glen Smale
Images by: Virtual Motorpix/Glen Smale & Porsche Werkfoto