Exclusive: TopGear gets up close with Martini racers

A great livery makes a car faster. This is a known fact. And since speed is good and more speed is better, it's no great leap of brain power to work out that the fastest cars also look the best. It's something to do with the engineering dictum that decrees that what looks right, is right. So there you go, an eye-smacking livery is a key component of any successful racing car.

God knows how the current crop of F1 teams is managing it. I mean the latest efforts of energy drinks, telecommunications, fuel and car companies to make their cars look good is, to be frank, mostly a dismal failure. But, boy, did they know how to do it properly back in the 70s and 80s. Booze and fags, that seemed to be the key.

And Martini arguably did it better than anyone. So, with the Italian drinks firm celebrating its 150th anniversary by taking a whole load of its historic racers down to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we did our best pleading and managed to gather a few together in our very own studio to take some beautiful pictures and tell you a bit about them.

A bit of cherry-picking from the (utterly delectable) long list means we have two heroes each from the worlds of rallying, endurance racing and F1. We present them for you here in date order. And no, you can't have the Porsche 935/78. That one's mine, all mine.