Le Mans is an amazing race and spectacle, that’s obvious. The speeds, technology and skill involved are truly incredible.
But, one of the other aspects of Le Mans we all enjoy is how cool the cars look and the liveries they race with. Many of them have become iconic, through on-track success or not.
Such a diverse range of cars have competed at Le Mans, but we’ve narrowed down our top 10 favourite liveries from the endurance race’s history.
The Mazda 787B is one of those all-time great racing cars, taking the 1991 Le Mans victory – the first and only time a Japanese manufacturer has won the 24-hour race. It, of course, featured the fascinating 4-rotor engine and the stunning orange and green livery. A winning colour combination if there ever was one.
Jaguar produced quite a few beautiful Le Mans prototypes but arguably the best livery is from the XJR-9, with the white, yellow and purple Silk Cut colour scheme. It was quite a simple design but that’s what we like about it the most. It’s classy, elegant and sophisticated. What you’d expect from Jaguar. It ended up winning the 1988 Le Mans race.
The classic Renault colours of yellow, black and white worked spectacularly well on a Le Mans prototype. The Renault Alpine A442B with the bubble canopy was a crazy-looking Le Mans car and the livery looked epic, so it definitely won the 1978 race in style. Renault pulled out of sportscars to focus on F1 after the victory, though.
Another livery that represents the brand, the Bentley Speed 8 was a monstrous-looking Le Mans prototype featuring a flattering racing green livery – sophisticated, simple and sleek. It debuted in 2001 at Le Mans but took until 2003 to take victory at the iconic event.
The Rothmans Williams F1 livery from the 90s is a firm favourite among motorsport fans, so it’s no surprise the Porsche 962C’s very similar colour scheme from a little earlier on also remains incredibly popular. The 962C was a stunningly elegant prototype with a similarly stylish livery. It really is one of the greatest looking Le Mans cars ever.
Any variation of the Peugeot 905 could go on this list. While it may have been a largely white livery, the colourful accents and black sections did look pretty cool and added a splash of French flair. We liked it, and it helped the car itself was pretty epic looking too. The 905B took victory at Le Mans in 1992.
The Gulf colours of the Ford GT40 MK1 that triumphed at Le Mans in 1968 and 1969 has become one of the best and most famous liveries in all of motorsport. It’s a colour scheme that’s been replicated on various cars since then as Gulf continues to back Le Mans teams, but we still think it looked best on the GT40.
Here’s another sleek Le Mans prototype that enjoyed a huge amount of success. The Porsche 936 won three times (1976, 1977 and 1981) and arguably looked at its best in Martini colours, which complimented the car’s design incredibly well. Martini has sponsored a lot of other racing cars over the years but few can beat the 936 in the looks department.
The BMW Art Car project has produced many awesome designs, and some of the cars have raced at Le Mans. One of the M3 GT2s entered by BMW for the 2010 race was very special indeed, as it was an Art Car designed by Jeff Koons. It’s undoubtedly one of the most colourful and crazy-looking liveries the 24-hour race has ever seen and we loved it.
Another Porsche, we know. But, it just proves how many cool liveries the German manufacturer has raced with at Le Mans – and there are so many more that just missed out on a spot. It’s another car that used the Gulf colours but we think it looked the best in 917L form, raced by Martini Racing in its ‘Psychedelic Porsche’ livery – dark blue, with green swirls – which finished second.
What are your thoughts? Let us know your favourites below.