The most iconic racing-car liveries of all time
Sponsoring a race team can be a way to throw lots of money into a bottomless pit where no-one pays any attention to you (who sponsors McLaren this year again?). Or if you are very lucky, it can be a way to sear your brand's image into the minds of millions of motorsport fans around the world for generations to come.
Most don't work out that way. But here we take a look at five that did - the most iconic motorsport liveries of all time.
Probably the most famous livery ever to be splashed across a racing car, the iconic blue and orange colour scheme has featured on some of the greatest racers of all time, including Porsches, Fords, Aston Martins and McLarens. It never fails to look absolutely amazing.
Gulf Oil was involved in motorsport as far back as the 1930s, but didn't settle on the blue and orange colour scheme until the mid-to-late 1960s. The company itself collapsed in the USA in the mid-1980s, but the name and colours lived on, mainly thanks to Gulf Oil International (a separate company) controlling the rights outside the US.
Leave it to an Italian distillery to (perhaps somewhat inappropriately these days) come up with a livery that always just seems perfect when spread across an Italian car. More specifically, a Lancia rally car. While the iconic orange, blue and white colour scheme and distinctive Martini logo has appeared on all sorts of cars and in all sorts of racing categories, it is best known for just how damn right it looked on a ferocious Group B Lancia going sideways and making a lot of noise. It also doesn't look half bad on a Porsche sports car.
Martini & Rossi first got involved in motorsport in 1968 using the "Martini Racing" name and is currently the title sponsor of the Williams F1 team.
Smoking is bad, okay? But we'll be damned if they don't have some of the coolest colour combinations on racing cars. The coolest of which is almost certainly the John Player Special black and gold livery that is so evocative of the glory days of Lotus in Formula 1. The JPS/Lotus association first started in New Zealand in 1968 when the Lotus 49s driven by Jim Clark and Graham Hill in the Tasman Series sported the John Player Gold Leaf livery, before changing to the famous black and Gold JPS livery in 1972.
Of course, the JPS livery has added local appeal by featuring on the formidable BMWs driven by Jim Richards in the Australian Touring Car Championship between 1981 and 1987.
Originally launched by tobacco giant Phillip Morris as a "women's cigarette" in 1924, Marlboro gained its iconic red and white packaging in the 1950s when the brand was repositioned as a cigarette for men who were concerned about lung cancer. Seriously. The red and white chevron would make its way on to a racing car in 1972 when Marlboro sponsored BRM. In 1974 the brand teamed up with McLaren for a partnership that would see them utterly dominate the last half of the 1980s.
In 1997 Marlboro became the title sponsor of the Ferrari F1 team, a deal that continues to this day - despite the ban on tobacco advertising in the sport, thanks to some controversial and sneaky subliminal branding.
The red and blue livery of the #43 car that NASCAR legend Richard Petty raced for many years actually came about as a the result of a compromise between STP and the man himself. When the sponsorship deal was proposed in 1972, STP CEO Andy Granatelli was insistent that the car be painted in the company's traditional bright red colour. However, Richard Petty was equally insistent that he would only run in his iconic Petty Blue. Neither party would budge, so a two-tone compromise was reached and an utterly legendary racing livery was born!
The partnership lasted from 1972 to 2000 (making it the second longest sponsorship deal in automotive racing history), even lasting beyond Petty's retirement from the sport in 1992.