Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, and Ayrton Senna had one thing in common. They all drove periods of their career in black and gold. Lotus’ racing team were in the seventies and eighties working with John Player Special as main sponsor. Cigarette Company JPS used the colors on their cigarette packages and it was transferred to the livery of Lotus’s racing cars.
Today it has become a classic, hardly any other color combination of racing cars had such great a graphical impact – it would perhaps be the orange and blue Gulf livery which Porsche 917’s and Ford GT 40 made immortal. The Lotus F-1 team today are again using the old black / gold colors on the current Lotus Formula 1 cars – but not linked to the now defunct John Player cigarette company. It’s definitely for nostalgic reasons, but it is a welcome revival.
JPS was also active in the sponsorship of touring cars and motorcycle racing. The black and gold color combination was so popular that a number of car and motorbike manufacturers offered colors as an option to their normal street versions – without cigarette advertising.