Coke is it!
That familiar slogan adorned the sides of IMSA legend Bob Akin’s Porsche race cars from 1980 through 1987, along with unmistakable Coca-Cola red paint scheme and the white Coke “wave.” It’s one of the most iconic liveries in IMSA history – and it’s making a comeback.
The pair of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class-leading Porsche 911 RSRs race cars will wear the livery for Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Oct. 9-12. The 10-hour race serves as the season finale for both the WeatherTech Championship and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.
It also closes the curtain on the IMSA 50th Anniversary Celebration in spectacular fashion.
“I can’t think of a better way for fans to celebrate the final race of IMSA’s 50th Anniversary season by seeing two of the most iconic brands in the world – Porsche and Coca-Cola – bring back an unforgettable livery,” said Jim France, NASCAR chairman and IMSA chairman, who attended Tuesday’s unveiling of the livery at Coca-Cola’s world headquarters in downtown Atlanta alongside IMSA CEO Ed Bennett and President Scott Atherton.
“Bob Akin was one of a kind, much like Porsche and Coca-Cola, and to see this livery at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for this year’s Motul Petit Le Mans will certainly be exciting for everyone.”
Atlanta was the common thread that brought the opportunity together and made it fit like a glove. In addition to being the home of Coca-Cola HQ, Atlanta also is home to Porsche Cars North America. Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is in Braselton, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb.
“As one last tribute to honor IMSA on their Golden Anniversary, we are bringing back yet another memorable livery – a local favorite: Coca-Cola,” said Pedro Mota, vice president of marketing for Porsche Cars North America. “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.”
Both the No. 911 Porsche GT Team entry shared by Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki and the No. 912 RSR co-driven by Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet will carry the Coke livery, as will their firesuits.
The livery will match the one used by the Bob Akin Racing No. 5 Porsche 962 at the 1986 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, which Akin co-drove to victory alongside Hans-Joachim Stuck and Jo Gartner. Akin’s cars carried Coca-Cola colors beginning with the 1980 Rolex 24 At Daytona and continued through the IMSA race at Road America in 1987.
“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,” said Fritz Enzinger, Porsche’s vice president, motorsport. “I’m very curious to see how the fans will respond to our two Porsche 911 RSRs in Coca-Cola colors.”
Bamber and Vanthoor currently lead the WeatherTech Championship GTLM standings by 12 points, 304-292, over Tandy and Pilet. Roles are reversed in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings, where Tandy and Pilet have a six-point advantage, 31-25, over Bamber and Vanthoor, who are tied for second with No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GT co-drivers Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe.
Recent historic liveries have served No. 911 co-drivers Tandy, Pilet and Makowiecki particularly well. They won last year’s Motul Petit Le Mans carrying the famed Mobil 1 livery that competed in the inaugural Motul Petit Le Mans in 1998.
Earlier this year, the same trio also took the victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in March. The livery for that race was the well-known red, white and blue colors used by Brumos Racing for decades of IMSA competition.
Yet another historic livery, the “Pink Pig” scheme, was carried to the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class victory by Vanthoor and co-drivers Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.
“The special vehicle liveries of the past few months have yielded us numerous successes,” Enzinger said. “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.”
Live television coverage of Motul Petit Le Mans begins Saturday, Oct. 12 at 12 p.m. ET on the NBC network, with continuing coverage on NBCSN, the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com. IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout the race week on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with a live race broadcast also airing on SiriusXM Radio.