Marlboro liveries (2/2): The rugged 308 GTB and 911, the ultra-fast F1 GTR and more.

This article will cover some of the lesser known or one-off times when the Marlboro liveries decorated race cars. Tobacco liveries in general are becoming a rare sight these days due to advertising regulations in motorsports. And although it’s a step in the right direction to make the sports more conscious of current times, without the red chevron we would be missing out on an important part of the history of motorsports.

McLaren F1 GTR

Marlboro liveries (2/2): The rugged 308 GTB and 911, the ultra-fast F1 GTR and more.
BPR Series round 11 in Zhuhai 1996

The McLaren F1 GTR is a racing trim of the legendary F1 and is powered by a BMW V12.

For the final round of BPR International Endurance GT Series in the Zhuhai 4 hours the McLaren F1 GTRs numbered 2 and 6 raced decorated with the big red chevron. They finished 3rd and 4th behind a Porsche 911 GT1 and a Ferrari F40 GTE. The 3rd place car was driven by Bellm, Weaver and Lehto and the 4th place car by Raphanel and Brabham.

The 1996 season was won by Bellm and Weaver and the McLaren F1 GTR. The series was ended the same year and in 1997 became the FIA GT series.

Ferrari 308 GTB in Baja Montesblancos

Ferrari 308 GTB in Marlboro livery
Ferrari 308 GTB in Marlboro livery

The Ferrari 308 GTB Rally car is a bit bizarre. Rocks and dust aren’t the first elements we think of when we see a Ferrari but this one was made to combat just that. It took part of the Baja Montesblancos raid rally in Spain which was gruesome. The conditions were hot and sadly the 308 didn’t finish because of heat caused problems. The inside of the car was about 50 degrees celsius which is almost unbearable in itself.

Racing inside the car were Antonio Zanini and his co-driver Carmelo Ezpeleta.

The rally spec 308 which took part of the infamous Group B wasn’t made by Ferrari themselves but in partnership with Michelotto which is an Italian company specialised in building race cars. The first event it took part of was the 1978 Targa Florio and the last even was the 1986 San marino rally. From ’78 to ’86 the Ferrari had 99 starts in 66 events but was plagued with reliability issues retiring 40% of the time. Notably it did achieve 7 victories and 18 podiums with the first victory being in the 1981 Targa Florio.

Marlboro liveries and Porsche

Marlboro liveries (2/2): The rugged 308 GTB and 911, the ultra-fast F1 GTR and more.
Rally Tierra San Vicente 1991

The Marlboro Porsche 911 proto 4×4 took part of events like Rally Tierra San Vicente and Baja Montesblancos. It is one of the funniest Marlboro’d machines and also had perhaps the biggest front logo of any Porsche ever. Driven again by Zanini It is one of those rare examples where a clash of 2 different worlds produces something very exciting, serious and lighthearted at the same time.

Old Porsches have always aged fabulously and kept their relevancy and the rally Porsches have been very exciting, winning events like the Paris-Dakar with R. Metge in 1984. In ’84 the 4×4 911 was also the first four-wheel drive Porsche since the system from the 959 was installed on it.

porsche 911 4x4 marlboro
Marlboro Porsche

Toyota Supra GT LM

Toyota Supra in Marlboro livery from Zhuhai 1995
Toyota Supra in Marlboro livery from Zhuhai 1995

BPR Global GT Endurance Stage 3 Hours Zhuhai, 1995. The race took place on a rough street track and the Supra was slower than expected. It was driven by former F1 drivers JJ Lehto and Yannick Dalmas (DNF) and the second car was driven by Phillipe Alliot and Henri Raphanel (11th). It competed in the GT1 group, all the podium places of the race went to the McLaren F1 GTR.


There are still multiple other times when a Marlboro livery has been present on a car, it’s impossible to cover them all in shirt articles, there’s enough stories for a book. For example the Mitsubishi WRC car, then other F1 teams or GP racing with bikes.

Extra reading: Marlboro Liveries 1/2, James Hunt

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    Karl Aleksander Kivimägi
    I like learning about the history of motorsports, watching F1 and occasionally WRC. My favourite cars are old, red and Italian. By trade I'm a designer but my passion is writing.