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Martini Racing

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For the constructor of lower formulae single-seaters, see Martini

Template:List of Martini Racing Models Martini Racing is the name under which various motor racing teams raced when sponsored by the Martini & Rossi distillery that produces Martini vermouth. Martini's sponship program began in 1968. The race cars are marked with the distinctive dark blue, light blue and red stripes on (most often) white or silver cars.

Sports car racing Edit

Martini's first sponsorship program happened in a minor event at the Hockenheimring in 1968. Martini Racing was then formed to enter two Porsche 907 in several sports car races in 1969.

During the 1970s, Martini became famous for sponsoring the works Porsche 917 that won the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans. After a one-year hiatus, Martini and Porsche renewed their ties in the 1973 season. The Martini Porsche cars won Le Mans once more in 1976 and 1977 with Porsche 936, as well as in many other events in the 1970s for the factory Porsche team, with the RSR Turbo, 935 and 936. In 1978, Martini only sponsored the works team in Le Mans, while in 1980 they were associated with Joest Racing, once more only at Le Mans.

In 1981, Martini Racing supported Lancia's effort in sports car racing with the Group 5 Lancia Monte Carlo, Group 6 Lancia LC1 and Group C Lancia LC2. The works Lancia Martini drivers lineup included several contemporary Formula One racers, including Michele Alboreto, Teo Fabi and Riccardo Patrese. The association lasted until the 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans, but by then, Lancia was more involved with rallying.

After that, Martini Racing made only brief one-off entries in sports car racing, including three seasons in the FIA Sportscar Championship with Gianni Giudici's Picchio.

Formula One Edit

Martini Racing's association with Formula 1 began in 1972 with the Italian team Tecno. However, the car was uncompetitive and Martini withdrew after at the end of the year.

Martini returned fulltime in 1975, sponsoring Bernie Ecclestone's Brabham team, on white cars with Cosworth engines in 1975 and on red cars powered by Alfa Romeo from 1976 to 1978. Drivers such as Carlos Reutemann, Carlos Pace, Hans-Joachim Stuck and John Watson all drove for the team during this time. The sponsorship money moved to Team Lotus in 1979, but in spite of having the championship winning Lotus 79 and Mario Andretti and Carlos Reutemann as drivers, the Martini Lotus association yielded poor results, and by the end of the year Martini withdrew from F1 once more.

After a long break from the category, the Italian company began sponsoring Scuderia Ferrari in 2006 with a minor presence.

Rallying Edit

Martini's first rally challenge was taken up by usual stalwart Porsche. In 1978, Porsche made a return to the World Rally Championship as a works team, running a 911 SC for Bjorn Waldegaard and Vic Preston Jr. in the Safari Rally. The project did not continue past this one-off entry, where Preston was 2nd and Waldegaard 4th.

In 1982, just as they had done one year previously with sports cars, Martini Racing signed with the works Lancia team, sponsoring the brand new Group B Lancia 037, with Attilio Bettega, Henri Toivonen and Markku Alen as drivers. The Lancia Martini partnership in the World Rally Championship was one of the company's longest, remaining until the end of the 1992 season, with several cars, including the Group B Delta S4 and Group A Delta Integrale winning several events, with names such as Juha Kankkunen, Bruno Saby, Massimo Biasion and Didier Auriol. The Martini Lancia cars won the WRC in 1987 and 1991 with Kankkunen, and 1988 and 1989 with Biasion.

In the following years, Martini returned with a smaller sponsorship program, restricted to the Italian Rally Championship, which the Martini Racing driver, Gianfranco Cunico, won from 1994 to 1996 with a Jolly Club Ford Escort Cosworth. Then, in 2000, Martini returned to the WRC fulltime with the works Ford Focus. Even with drivers such as Carlos Sainz, Colin McRae and Markko Martin, the Martini Fords won several rallies, but never the title. Martini Racing withdrew at the end of 2002.

Touring car racing Edit

It wouldn't be until 1992 that Martini Racing would by seriously involved with touring car racing. The Italian company sponsored the works Alfa Romeo 155 in the CIVT (the Italian Touring Car Championship), which the team dominated, with Nicola Larini taking the championship title.

This served as an appetizer to a bigger prize, most specifically the DTM, the German-based touring car series, although the Martini Alfa Romeo connection only materialized in 1995, and by then the Alfas, driven by Larini and Alessandro Nannini, both ex-F1 drivers, weren't as competitive.

Powerboats Edit

In 1975 and 1976, Martini Racing sponsored Carlo Bonomi and Cesare Fiorio's boats in the Powerboat World Championship, winning back-to-back championships. A return in 1980 saw the Martini squad take the European title with Guido Niccolai. In 1982, Renato Molinari missed the World Championship title by a single point.

External linksEdit

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