Martini Racing teams were sponsored by the Italian company Martini & Rossi, a distillery that produces Martini vermouth in Turin. Martini's sponsorship program began in 1968. The race cars are marked with the distinctive dark blue, light blue and red stripes on white, red or silver background body cars.

The Porsche 917 was designed by chief engineer Hans Mezger under the leadership of Ferdinand Piëch and Helmuth Bott. The car was built around a very light spaceframe chassis (42 kg (93 lb)) which was permanently pressurised with gas to detect cracks in the welded structure.

Power came from a new 4.5-litre air-cooled engine designed by Hans Mezger, which was a combination of 2 of Porsche's 2.25L Flat-6 engines used in previous racing cars.