The Racing Poster dates back to the early 1900's when race organisers publicized their forthcoming events on large billboards. This was very popular in mainland Europe. The posters were often graphical masterpieces showing a stylized sense of speed in the form of an illustration.
German designer Erich Strenger was approached by Porsche at the beginning of 1950's to assist with producing brochures and posters. Porsche Marketing department commissioned Strenger to produce a number of race posters publishing their race victories. Legend has it that Strenger would be designing the poster as the race was taking place, ready to drop in the results once the flag had fallen. Sportscar racing in the 60's, 70's and 80's were dominated by Porsche products, often in multiple classes, so it was a safe bet! The majority of these posters were designed by Strenger's company.
One of the first Posters which Erich produced showed Briggs Cunningham winning at Palm Beach in 1951. Sebring was a big event for Porsche as they broke into America.
The Mille Migila was a legendary road racing event across Europe. Porsche were quick to announce their success to the world in 1953. Sebring was another big event for Porsche as they broke into American.
During the 60's photography was introduced into the posters. These two are great graphical pieces with original usage and placement of fonts.
But illustrations continued to be used. Porsche had extended into other forms of Motorsport by this time. These posters celebrate the success of the new 911 in hill climbing and rallying while the second poster shows the legendary Dan Gurney in action at the French Grand Prix.
These posters are typical of the 60's. Large vibrant fonts with graphics overlaid on a black and white image.
As we enter the 70's the imagery moves into full colour. Porsche had major success in the 70's with the Porsche 917 and 935 and it looks as if new posters were produced almost weekly. These posters celebrate wins at Le Mans and series World Champion in 1970.
The posters above show the 917 and 935 which we covered recently on Speedhunters.
As the 70's drew to a close, sponsorship was taking over. Note the Martini Racing banner at the bottom, along with Porsche's official suppliers.
The Porsche 956 and 962 Dominated Sportscar racing around the world in the 80's. One of my favourite cars of all-time. Hundreds of posters were released to announce forthcoming events or race victories. The Poster on the right brings back memories of the Golden era of Rothmans Porsche. The helmets of Derek Bell, Stefan Bellof, Jacky Ickx and Jochen Mass. All four were stunning drivers.
The 1000km Nurgburgring poster shows a great plan view of the 956. This was one of the widely available posters. I've seen this in many shops over the years.
Stefan Bellof was a fantastic racer for Porsche had a good future lined up in Formula 1 before his life was cut cruelly short in a Sportscar race in 1984. As the 80's drew to a close, magazine advertisements were used to communicate racing triumphs. However, it was good to see Porsche had released some ALMS posters recently. I found this one on ebay, celebrating Porsche's win in Utah last year.
- Andy Blackmore