As the 50th Anniversary of the International Motor Sports Association comes to a close at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Porsche Cars North America brings an Atlanta neighbor back to the track to commemorate the sports car racing series’ Golden Anniversary.
The twin Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR race cars will carry a familiar red and white livery in the 22nd running of the Motul Petit Le Mans that will immediately invoke fond memories of IMSA’s first heyday of the 1980s.
The annual 10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta will see the ‘works’ Porsche race cars wear the hometown jersey of Coca-Cola.
Beginning in 1980, Bob Akin Motor Racing-prepared Porsche race cars carried Coca-Cola themed liveries for seven years and for the 50th anniversary, Porsche and honors its successful programs of the past.
“Last fall, we kicked off the IMSA 50th Anniversary celebration with the fan-favorite Mobil 1 livery at Petit Le Mans. We began the 2019 season by highlighting still another longstanding and successful relationship with the famous red, white and blue ‘sweeps’ of Brumos Racing and Hurley Haywood,” Pedro Mota, Vice President of Marketing for Porsche Cars North America, said.
“Now, as one last tribute to honor IMSA on their Golden Anniversary, we are bringing back yet another memorable livery — a local favorite: Coca-Cola. As an added benefit, we get to fondly recall Bob Akin, the gentleman who first brought Coca-Cola and Porsche together with the customer 935 and 962 race cars he successfully campaigned.”
The livery for the factory Porsche 911 RSR GTLM class entries at this year’s IMSA finale centers on the legendary Coca-Cola 962 that took the Akin-led team to its most famous win at Sebring in 1986.
Both Porsche 911 RSR’s will wear the Coke “wave”, also known as the “Dynamic Ribbon”, on the hood, flanks and rear bumper. The only differences will be the number plate and windshield banners.
The Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR shared by 2015 overall Petit Le Mans winners Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) as well Frédéric Makowiecki (France) will carry a white windshield banner on the No. 911. The No. 912 of Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) will have the black banner on their windshield.
Each car will have the familiar and era appropriate “Coca-Cola” on the hood and “Coke Is It!” on the rear quarter panel. Like the popular 962 of the time, both cars will feature white BBS wheels.
With PCNA headquartered in Atlanta, and Coca-Cola’s entire corporate history spent in the Georgia capital, it is a natural fit for the pair to come together again.
The similarities of the two hallmark companies do not begin or end in Atlanta either. Each enjoys a shape so uniquely tied to its brand they are internationally trademarked and instantly recognizable. The silhouette of the 911 has carried true since 1963.
Coca-Cola’s “contour” bottle enjoys the same immediately identifiable traits as the Porsche. Designed and developed in 1916, the Coke bottle shape remains forever linked to the soft drink. Today, both flowing shapes are visual and tactile representations of their companies.
Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta opened in 1970 in part due to the financing of Arthur Montgomery, Jr., then president of the Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
Always a “Coke track”, the recently replaced tower and media center facility carried the familiar Coca-Cola branding high on its sides for decades.
Porsche moved its North American headquarters to the Peach State in 1998 and opened its Experience Center adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in 2015.
Coca-Cola began in 1886 and has grown from a small soda fountain in downtown Atlanta to one of the world’s most recognizable brands in the ensuing 133 years.
“We are keen to add to the celebrations of IMSA’s 50th anniversary at the final round of the season in a very special way. I’m very curious to see how the fans will respond to our two Porsche 911 RSR in Coca-Cola colors,” Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Motorsport, said. “The special vehicle liveries of the past few months have yielded us numerous successes. We won at Road Atlanta last year, we won Le Mans in 2018 and we won at Sebring this year. We would be happy for things to continue like this.”