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by David Zalstein

Porsche will partner with Martini Racing for the first time since 2008 this year as the German brand readies for the start of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup racing series and a cameo drive by rally ace Sebastien Loeb.

The revived relationship occurs in a year that sees Porsche celebrate 50 years of the 911 and Martini – a key partner of the 1976 and 1977 Le Mans winning Porsche 917 – mark its 150 years.

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup - Martini Racing 1

Wearing the distinctive Martini Racing livery of dark blue, light blue and red stripes – seen on the upcoming Porsche 918 supercar – will be the 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car of nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, when the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season begins on May 12 in Barcelona, at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Loeb will also contest round two of the one-make series at the Monaco street circuit in Monte Carlo on May 26, leaving an as-yet-unnamed driver to take the wheel for the third round at Monza in Italy.

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Martini Motorsports - 2013 - 1

The French rally driver isn’t the first WRC champion to compete in the racing series, with Bjorn Waldegard, Walter Rohrl, Ari Vatanen, Stig Blomqvist and Massimo Biasion all coming before him.

The Martini and Rossi distillery’s racing sponsorship program first began in 1968, with its partnered racecars often painted in white or silver to highlight the team’s classic livery.

Porsche 917 Martini Motorsports - 1971

Despite retiring from WRC competition at the end of the 2012 season – and winning nine manufacturer’s titles for Citroen – Loeb has competed in the X Games in a 407kW/800Nm Citroen DS3 XL, claimed his first race win behind the wheel of McLaren MP4-12C GT3 car, taken top spot at two rounds of this year’s World Rally Championship in a season that will see him only enter four events, and will drive for Peugeot at this year’s Pikes Peak Hillclimb in Colorado in a 652kW/875kg Peugeot 208 T16.