As international racing became prominent in the early 1900’s the cars competing in these races were given a ‘country colour’ – green for Britain, blue for France, Red for Italy, white for Germany for example.
This way of determining colours continued up until the late 1960’s when team owners realised that motorsport was seen by a large number of spectators and in some cases on the television. Racing cars were perfect mobile advertising hoardings. From then on all manner of company colours and logos started to appear on the cars.
The first two or three decades of sponsorship were dominated by three major industries – oil, cigarettes and beverages. Who can forget the distinct liveries of Gulf, Gold Leaf, JPS and Marlboro? One drinks company, however, who started to put their logo on cars in 1968 still sponsor racing cars today, 50 years later. The Italian drinks company Martini has probably sponsored a wider array of cars and types of motorsport than any other company from the Porsche racing cars of the late 1960’s to the modern day 2018 Williams Formula 1 car. The Martini colours have been seen in sportscar racing, world rallies and Formula 1 both on the cars and around circuits. It is safe to say the Martini brand is synonymous with motorsport.
In his dramatic artwork “Flash Drive” John Ketchell has portrayed the fearsome Porsche 935 driven by Rolf Stommelen and Manfred Schurti during the 1976 Le Mans 24 Hours. The Martini liveried Porsche won Group 5 and placed 4th overall. The original artwork and luxury edition prints are still available.