Picture the race livery of a factory Porsche from the ’70s or 80’s and chances are you’ll either think of the blue and orange colours of Gulf Oil, or the red and blue stripes of Martini Racing. So it makes an evocative statement to see those Martini colours on Porsche’s 918 Spyder prototype, a road car which might just make an appearance in competition during the next few years.
Due to reach production in 2013, the 918 Spyder continues its development programme at the 12.9-mile Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit as Porsche works towards achieving a lap time in less than 7 minutes 22 seconds.
Martini was the official partner of the Porsche factory team between 1973 and 1978, but those famous Martini Racing stripes have also adorned endurance, rally and Formula 1 cars from Ferrari and Lancia.
But it was at events such as the Targa Florio, Sicily and 24 hours of Le Mans where the Martini Racing livery became inextricably connected with the short-tail Porsche 917. The livery went on to be used in the 908, 935, 936 and various 911 RS or RSR models, so it seems fitting that Porsche’s new plug-in hybrid supercar should evoke the memories of its most famous racing ancestors.
The 918 Spyder combines a high-performance 3.6-litre V8 engine producing 562bhp with electric motors on the rear and front axles to produce a total of 759bhp. Fuel consumption is forecast to be around 94.1mpg, equivalent to CO2 emissions of approximately 70 g/km, making for a fast but extremely efficient means of travel.
Performance figures are unlike any other plug-in hybrid, with a top speed greater than 203mph and 0 to 62mph achieved in less than 3.0 seconds. In pure EV mode, the 918 Spyder will reach 94mph and cover a range of just 16 miles (emission free).
The car is built on a carbon-fibre monocoque which reduces vehicle weight and delivers remarkable rigidity and dynamic precision. the 918 Spyder features fully variable aerodynamics, adaptive rear axle steering and a ‘top pipes’ exhaust system which routes the exhaust upwards at the rear of the car to improve airflow.
Porsche has now struck a formal agreement with Bacardi & Company, which should see the Martini Racing livery offered to customers as well as being used on the 918 Spyder Prototypes.
If there was ever a livery that says ‘fast’ then the Martini Racing stripes shout it loud and clear, so it’s great to see it back on a Porsche and perhaps eventually back on the track where it belongs.