11 most iconic racing liveries


May 12, 2015
Top Lists
Roy Wolfgang


  • BMW art cars

From the early days of motorsports, racing cars were painted in bright colors to make them more visible for the spectators on the track. Then there was also a trend of painting the cars in the national colors (Italy – red, France – blue, UK – green….etc.) so that audiences could identify which country’s cars were racing from a distance.

However, after the WWII, motorsport became a big business and national colors were replaced by sponsors’ logos and cars soon resembled billboards. This may sound like bad thing, but in fact, the colorful vehicles painted in crazy colors and schemes stayed in the memories of fans for a long time. In fact, some of them even became legendary, even when the cars weren’t as successful. Today, we revisit the 11 most iconic racing liveries and the cars that made them famous.

11. The Porsche 917 Pink Pig

The crazy pink color scheme on the 1971 Porsche 917 was the idea of Porsche designer Anatole Lapine who painted the car pink and drew the cuts of a pig on it after nobody wanted to sponsor it, basically because it was something totally new and edgy and, in many ways quite  ugly. The car did not win that year but became a crowd favorite and has been popular ever since.

Porsche 917 Pink Pig liveries time new year share list best comments won teams

Porsche 917 Pink Pig

10. McLaren MP 4/4

Simple but perfectly designed livery of one of the most successful cars in the history of Formula 1. Based on the Marlboro logo, it sat on the car like a duck to water, making it one of the most elegant and most recognizable in the history of motorsport.

McLaren MP 4/4 liveries time new year use share list best comments won teams

McLaren MP 4/4

9. Jeff Gordon’s Rainbow Warrior

The NASCAR cars always have interesting colors but Jeff Gordon’s color scheme is one of the most popular and recognizable one in the history of the series. Gordon used this livery many times in his career which has a DuPoint sponsorship.

Rainbow Warrior NASCAR time share livery new racing liveries teams won

Jeff Gordon’s Rainbow Warrior

8. BMW Art Cars

In the early ’70s, BMW’s ace driver Herve Poulain asked painter Alexander Calder to paint his BMW 3.0 CSL for the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, BMW periodically introduces “art cars” and every livery it puts out becomes an instant hit, without exception.

BMW Art Car time share livery new racing terms race liveries

BMW M3 GT2 Art Car-Le Mans

7. Rothmans blue, gold and white

The tobacco company’s colors became famous when their Porsches won 24 Hours of Le Mans and many other races in those days. The dark blue looked elegant while the cars were fast. However, the tragic death of Ayrton Senna was in a Rothmans sponsored Williams Formula One car.

Rothmans Porsche

Porsche in Rothmans colors

6. Jägermeister orange

Bright orange car with a logo of a dear (Jägermeister drink) have been victorious since the ’70s in various championships such as DTM, DRM, Formula One, Group C and the Porsches and BMWs . You must admit that this scheme is simply amazing!

Jagermeister Orange

DTM BMW E3 M30 in Jagermeister ornge

5. Alitalia colors

Another simple but effective and well recognized livery in the world of motorsport. Classic Italian design in the colors of the Italian flag used most notably by rally cars in the 1970s and 1980s.

Alitalia Lancia

Lancia in Alitalia livery

4. Alan Mann Racing red and gold

The Alan Man Racing red and gold Fords (Mustang, Anglia,Escorts) were a dominant force in the British and European touring car races in ’60s and they even had a Ford GT40 in their fleet. However, red and gold color scheme was so beautiful that it is still recognizable today.

Ford Alan Mann

Ford Escort in red and gold livery

3. John Player Special

The black and gold livery was very popular in the glory days of Formula One and still is one of the most elegant combinations; just a simple two-color set up which will always be modern and cool.

John Player Special Lotus

Ayrton Senna Lotus 97T F1 Turbo JPS

2. Martini Racing stripes

Martini racing stripes have been around since the 60s and they are still fresh and beautiful. Interestingly, to have a cool race car you only need white (silver or black) base paint and set of those blue stripes across the bodywork. It worked perfectly on everything from LeMans cars to rally Lancia Delta HF Integrale and various Porsche 911s .

Martini livery

Alfa Romeo V6 in Martini colors livery

1. Gulf colors

The most legendary color scheme is certainly the Gulf livery. The iconic blue and orange combination graced some of the most successful race cars of all times such as Ford GT40 or Porsche 917. However, if you paint the rock in that shade of blue and orange it will look fast while standing still.

Gulf Ford GT40

Gulf Ford GT40

Photo: guideautoweb.com mad4wheels.com humster3d.com change.org wikipedia.org pistonheads.com thedriverblog.com superstreetonline.com motorsportretro.com

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