If we've said it once, we've said it a hundred times – but we'll gladly say it again: there are few racing liveries as iconic as Martini. And while those stripes have adorned countless Lancia and Ford rally cars, grand prix racers (like the latest Williams) and even speedboats, they remain inexorably tied to Porsche. Fortunately that point is not lost on Porsche itself, which has lately put them on its own 918 Spyder, race-spec 911 and all manner of merchandise. And this is the latest.
As a car culture, we throw the word "iconic" too much, but if there's anything it has ever applied to – when it comes to racing liveries especially – surely it's the legendary stripes of Martini Racing. The Italian vermouth brand has sponsored everything from Porsche endurance racers to Lancia rally cars. It's followed Ford into the WRC and Alfa Romeo into DTM. It's even sponsored offshore racing powerboats. But when it comes to Formula One, it's come and gone over the years.
One of the most iconic names in racing is returning to the sport's pinnacle series. Martini and its distinctive livery will be teaming with the Williams Formula One team for the 2014 season, marking its return to the sport after an all-to-brief stint with Ferrari from 2006 to 2008. Even in those three short seasons, Martini wasn't a named sponsor, occupying a small place on the Scuderia's cars.
Or at least the world revolves underneath the Porsche Cayman, in the latest video showing off Stuttgart's mid-engine coupe. Porsche put an Easter egg in the world that spins triple-time, a "famous relative" of the Cayman hidden somewhere on the marble planet, and gave a Porsche Martini bag to one of the first 50 people who could point it out.
Porsche has amassed quite an impressive trophy case in just about every racing series it has ever entered, and one of its most dominant machines has to be the 911 RSR from the 1970s. Taking part in various GT-class competitions, the 911 RSR managed to take home three international and seven German victories in 1973, its very first year of competition.
As much as Gulf Racing livery may be synonymous with the Porsche 917, Martini racing is an equally famous Porsche sponsor of years gone by. The livery has adorned both 911 and 917, and now, its graced upon the all-new 918 hybrid supercar.
We've got to hand it to Porsche – the company certainly knows how to pull our heart strings. As if we weren't already been smitten with the 918 Spyder, the automaker has the audacity to wrap one up in its historic Martini livery before sending it out to the Nürburgring for testing. Up above you can see it lifting a wheel at the Little Carousel.
There have been a number of iconic racing liveries over the course of history – JPS and Gulf spring immediately to mind – and every historic racing fan has his or her favorite. But few are as downright awesome as Martini. The Italian vermouth label has sponsored everything from Lancias to Fords, but many of its very awesomest have been Porsches. Like this bitchin' 917/LH.
It must be hard for most companies to justify multi-million-dollar sponsorship deals in times like these, but when the chips are down, you'd figure alcohol companies would still be doing just fine, if not better. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Martini, a name with a rich heritage in motorsport sponsorship, has pulled back out of racing again.