T he story of Martini Racing begins in 1968. As soon as the ban on advertising for racing cars was lifted, the first Porsche with the distinctive logo is on the road at the Hockenheimring. The wages for advertising were low at the beginning. A couple of racing jackets for the drivers had to be enough.
However, until the beginning of the seventies, motorsport sponsorship was increasingly professional. With the purchase of two Porsche 917s, the Martini Racing Team officially competed in European endurance races for the first time in 1969. At the end of the year, eight cars were already supported.
Martini Racing with high recognition value
At the beginning of the seventies, the well-known Martini Racing color scheme became more and more apparent. Four light blue and one red stripes were drawn on a dark blue background, mostly on the flanks of the sheet metal dress. The basic color of the racing cars varied depending on the model, but in the early years it was mostly white or silver.
In 1972 Martini switched from endurance racing to Formula 1. With the Italian racing team Tecno, the spirits manufacturer wanted to be big in enter the premier class. However, the project turned out to be a flop. Tecno turned out to be unsuitable for Formula 1 and Martini retired back to the sports car class in 1974. With the famous Carrera RS Turbo, the track record looked much better here. The Martini Porsches became famous all over the world.
F1 Team Martini Racing
Despite the successes with the sports car manufacturer from Zuffenhausen, Martini returned to Formula 1 in 1975 Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team found a much more competitive partner than at the first attempt. The Argentine Carlos Reutemann took a respectable third place in the world championship with the distinctive BT44B.
Martini stayed with the Brabham team until 1977. With the change from Ford to Alfa Romeo engines in 1976, the basic color of the cars changed from white to red. After a year break, Martini dared one last attempt in Formula 1 in 1979. After he left John Player Special, the outer skin of the famous Lotus cars was free again. The unusual color combination of the Martini stripes on British Racing Green was only seen for a relatively unsuccessful year.
Martini program: Le Mans, rally, Formula 1
Parallel toFormula 1, Martini continued to expand its motorsport program. Sports cars, Le Mans prototypes, rallies or power boat races - whenever racing was on offer somewhere in the world, the bolides with the distinctive logo were not far.
A long and successful collaboration with Lancia. On the circuit as well as on the rally slopes, the Martini racers collected victories and titles on the assembly line. In 1983 a certain Walter Röhrl also drove a Martini Racing Lancia 037. The blond from Bavaria helped the Italian carmaker to win the Constructors' Cup with victories in Monte Carlo, the Acropolis and New Zealand. By the time Lancia withdrew from the World Rally Championship in 1991, the Martini cars had collected seven manufacturers 'titles and four drivers' championships.
Last Martini appearances with Alfa in the DTM and with Ford in the WRC
In 1995 Martini tried to rekindle the old love for Alfa Romeo in the DTM. However, Alessandro Nannini won no more than third place overall in 1996. Then the DTM disbanded. Martini found better luck on the rally slopes. In 2000, Ford started a new relationship with the Italians. Famous drivers like Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz or Francois Delecour competed for victories and titles with the famous color scheme.
In recent years, however, the legendary motorsport sponsor has become a little quieter. Racing teams are no longer sponsored as prominently on the big stages as they were in the glorious times. More than a few billboards at the Monaco GP or an appearance by the Martini Girls in Monza is no longer possible in times of austerity and the financial crisis. That's why we remind you of the heyday of Martini Racing in our big photo show.