Gulf Sport Edition 1
 
 

Hello and welcome to this, the very first edition of Gulf Sport - our new e-letter that will help you to make the most of Gulf's fantastic sporting programme.

It will be a mix of previews to upcoming events, reports on what has recently happened, behind-the-scenes "insider" features, opportunities to engage with the Gulf programme and examples of how the programme is being used in different parts of the world to offer ideas of how it can work better for you...

In this edition, we will be previewing the upcoming English Premier League football season as Manchester United seek further glory, looking at the season so far in WEC, looking ahead to the remaining rounds of the European Drag Racing Championship together with rider Ian King's upcoming World Land Speed record bid and looking at Gulf in World Superbikes as well as getting an insight of what it takes to host Gulf at a race weekend.

We are really looking for your feedback to help shape Gulf Sport, going forward - so that you can get the most out of it - please do not hesitate with your comments to editor, Simon Maurice sm@gulfoilltd.com

In the meanwhile, welcome to a summer of sport... Gulf Sport!

 
 
 
 

MANCHESTER UNITED
MAKING THE HEADLINES

Gulf's football partners, Manchester United have had probably the most eventful run-up to the 2016/17 season of any English Premier League (EPL) Club. The team finished last season with a flourish, winning a record-breaking twelfth FA Cup and within days United announced the appointment of one of the world's foremost football managers, Jose Mourinho as the man to take the club forward. He wasted little time in bringing to the club one of his era's most prolific marksmen, and arguably one of the greatest number 9s in living memory, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

United then embarked on Tour 2016 presented by Aon, which allowed Gulf to launch the partnership in China - with superb resultant media coverage. This was quickly followed by United ambassador Dwight Yorke working hard to celebrate the partnership in China, India and the Middle East.

In the meanwhile, the club was homing in on French star Paul Pogba, whose world record, €100 million transfer deal was concluded days after Manchester United had added to their trophy cabinet by winning the Community Shield, beating current Premier League champions Leicester City at Wembley, in the traditional curtain-raiser to the English season.

With Manchester City bringing in the equally successful Pep Guardiola as their new manager, the focus of the world's football media is very firmly on Manchester.

United's strengthened team has seen the odds on them winning the Premier League slashed dramatically, with many pundits tipping them to be champions. Opinions will always vary, but one thing is certain, interest in the England's top division has never been higher, and Gulf could not have picked a more exciting time to partner the World's number one football brand - or a better time for Gulf businesses to embrace the many opportunities the partnership brings with it.

The season kicked off this week with a good three-one victory away at Bournemouth - Mata, Rooney and Ibrahimovic all making the scoresheet.

Come on you Reds!

 
 
 
 

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

 

Manchester United vs Southampton - Old Trafford - August 19th

Manchester United vs Hull City - KCOM Stadium - August 27th

Manchester United vs Manchester City - Old Trafford - September 10th

Manchester United vs Watford - Vicarage Road - September 19th

Manchester United vs Leicester City - Old Trafford - September 24th

 
 

ONE TO WATCH

 

The season will be less than a month old when United entertain arch-rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford, in the first derby match of the season. Local derbies are notorious for being unpredictable. This one, despite being so early on, will undoubtedly be THE match of the season so far, as Jose Mourinho and the team square off against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City. Unmissable!!

 
 
 
 

WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
HALF TERM REPORT!

With the WEC currently in its mid-season break, it's a good opportunity to look back at the first half of Gulf Racing's 2016 campaign and Gulf's endurance racing programme.

Gulf Racing have been competing for four years - in a mixture of European Le Mans, Blancpain Endurance and the International Le Mans Series but this is the first time the team has taken on a full World Endurance Championship campaign.

A trip some 60 kms north of London, to the team headquarters in Milton Keynes, will instantly convince any visitor that Gulf Racing means business. Their race shop may be small but it is immaculate and their outlook is extremely professional.

When Gulf Oil International announced its increased support for the team, to help it to ease its way into the WEC, the reaction in all quarters was extremely positive. A Gulf-Porsche in the World Championship again with the famous blue and orange racing livery was enough to draw favourable comments from even the most hard-bitten members of the WEC press corps.

The way the team has gone about its business - quietly, efficiently, passionately and with a fine attention to detail has also done much to win them friends among the WEC paddock.

The team bounced back from the massive disappointment of being taken out of their home race at Silverstone after being hit by the race-leading factory Porsche LMP1 car, to quickly rebuild their damaged car and score a fighting fifth place in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

 
 

In the other 6 Hour race at the Nurburgring, the team again took fifth, scoring good championship points but their high point of the year, to date has been the Le Mans 24 Hours, where the team did not miss a beat - finishing the 24 Hours third of the WEC GTE Am entries. Driver Adam Carroll, a racer of huge experience, described the team's level of preparation as being outstanding, the car being among the very best-built race cars he has ever experienced - praise indeed from a former A1GP global champion.

 
 

Le Mans also proved to be an excellent event for the 40-strong party of Gulf VIP guests from all over the world who attended the race - proving to be an eye opener for many as to how strong the brand is at the world's number one endurance race. The opportunity for guests to get up close and personal with the team, during the 24 Hours added a new dimension to previous years at Le Mans - one that was enthusiastically taken up and extremely well received.

With a large number of guests to come at the upcoming Mexico round, as well as excellent numbers assembling for China, the 2016 motorsport programme has all the makings of being the best yet. Gulf Racing has proved it has the potential to run close to the front of the field, so it will be looking towards podium finishes over the remainder of the year.

 
 
 

WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Gulf Racing - Mexico City, Mexico - September 2nd - 3rd

Gulf Racing - Circuit of The Americas, US - September 17th - 18th

 
 

ONE TO WATCH

 

The World Endurance Championship makes its first ever foray to Mexico in an exciting addition to the racing calendar. A hugely enthusiastic crowd, which is set to have several hundred Gulf guests amongst it; the inevitable close racing that exemplifies the WEC; the fact that none of the teams have raced there before - all makes for more of a level playing field than other races. It should be a fascinating race to follow, whether on TV or, better still, in person.

 
 
 
 

KING GEARS UP

FOR THE NITRO-OLYMPICS
& AIMS TO BE THE FASTEST MOTORCYCLIST ON EARTH

Gulf's motorcycle drag racing star, Ian King, has an extremely busy month for him.

Currently leading the rankings in his quest for an amazing 10th European Top Fuel Drag Racing Championship, Ian is preparing for the final two rounds of the championship - with the next round, the Nitro-Olympics, taking place at Hockenheim in Germany over the weekend of the 20th-22nd August. This will be followed, three weekends later by the championship finale at the UK's Santa Pod race track over the 7th-10th September.

The 1500BHP blue and orange monster machine, has taken Ian King to some incredible runs this season - with new European record elapsed time and finish line speed figures both now proudly in his possession.

All being well, one week after the European Finals, Ian will set off on perhaps his most ambitious quest yet - to set a new World Land Speed Record for a motorbike for the standing quarter mile.

Although he has shown the bike has the potential to achieve a new record, the strict format and regulations of Land Speed Record attempts, which require two runs in opposite directions being made within a very short timeframe, present a massive challenge in many respects.

 
 

The format means that Ian will have to forsake the known parameters of the drag strip, in favour of an airport runway. A runway surface, he knows, will not let him deliver the same power and will also present him with a much bumpier ride. Although smooth to the eye, runways are not purpose-built for racing and the surface is much less even than the laser-prepared ¼ miles on which he normally races.

"We know we have the potential to set a new world record," but it is a real technical challenge," explains Ian King. "It is a question of how much of our power we can get down onto the track. It is going to be a real test of the bike, of the team and of the rider - but I can tell you, even now, I know the oil will be up to it!"

Despite this being the world's most powerful motorbike, Ian King uses standard Gulf road lubricants when he competes and will be using them when he attempts to break the World Land Speed Record at Elvington in Yorkshire, UK over the weekend of September 17-18.

 
 
 

TOP FUEL MOTORCYCLE DRAG RACING

 
 

FIM EUROPEAN DRAG RACING CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Ian King - Hockenheim, Germany - August 19th - 21st

Ian King - Santa Pod, UK - September 9th - 11th

 
 

WORLD LAND SPEED RECORD ATTEMPT

 

Ian King - Elvington, UK - September 17th - 18th

 
 

ONE TO WATCH

 

Can Ian King make it 10 European Championships at Santa Pod's European Finals? At the season opener there, Ian ran the most sub-6 second runs in drag racing history - five in total, including the new European record run - en route to establishing a championship lead that he still holds, with two rounds remaining. Last year the championship went right down to the wire with him winning the final run of the final meeting. Exciting though it was, hopefully we won't have to wait until the last moment to see him crowned as this year's champion.

 
 
 
 

BEHIND THE SCENES...

with Ola Batters-Brown of Team Milwaukee BMW

In every edition of Gulf Sport, we will go behind the scenes with some of the people who ensure that our Gulf Partnerships work at their optimum for all concerned.

In the first of the series Gulf Sport profiles Ola Batters-Brown, from Team Milwaukee BMW, someone who any of the Gulf guests at World Superbike Races is likely to have met up with…

Q What does your job involve?

A Before the race, I'll be liaising with our sponsor partners about their guest numbers and needs and then with the championship and race organisers - purchasing all of the tickets in advance, and for "fly-away" races making sure we have reserved the necessary hospitality places. Then I work with our partners sending out invitations.

My role also involves coordinating all of the team travel plans, making sure the team has the right flights booked, correct number of hire cars and the hotel reservations.

At the circuit I'm in charge of hospitality on site. I run the hospitality unit and I'm there to welcome our guests and then make sure they have everything they need to have a great experience.

I also have to look after all of the riders' requirements - which can be an interesting task…making sure they are where they have to be, when they have to be. It can sometimes be challenging - but it's all part of the fun!

In addition I work with the other people in our marketing team, co-ordinating our contributions to the paddock show that is at every race, or any additional appearances requested by the organisers or our sponsors.

 
 

Q How many people are there in the team that looks after our Gulf guests at race weekends?

A There are seven of us in total but most people are part-time - and two of our crew have other jobs as well, during race weekends - they are actually our tyre technicians for the race bikes. In fact, most of the crew have more than one role over a race weekend. People have the impression that everyone just has one task and they don't do anything else and are only called on when needed - but it's the norm in most racing teams, that everyone is "multi-role".

Q By now, many people will have been entertained in the Team's amazing hospitality enclosure. How long does it take to put up and take down?

A We generally arrive at the race track in the middle of the Tuesday of race week and the unit is set up by Thursday. We don't usually have guests until Saturday, so until that time, it is used just for the team. We start breaking down at the end of Sunday and by the end of Monday we are packed up and ready to leave.

 
 

Q What would people find surprising about what you do?

A I think it would probably be how many different jobs are bundled up into the role that I have including running the VIP Hospitality for the TT races at the Isle of Man.

Q What has been the best thing about being in World Superbikes this season for you?

A I think it's probably been all the people I've met over the course of the year. There are some really interesting people who are involved in racing, or who come along for the weekend. I met actor, Keanu Reeves at Laguna Seca and we quite often have the Eurosport TV commentators in our unit - but mostly it's the guests we have - I genuinely look forward to meeting the people we host.

As for a single highlight - for me it was when Josh Brookes was leading in Assen.

 
 

Q What is the nightmare scenario?

A The nightmare scenario would be if the races were completely cancelled, but guests still arrived...

Q How do you relax away from the pressures of a race weekend?

A For me it's Yoga. I'm training to be a Yoga teacher and I hope to work with riders using Yoga one day - so I that's how I relax. I bore my teammates to tears talking about it...!

I also enjoy travelling around as much as I can when we go away to a racing destination.

 
 
 

WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Team Milwaukee, BMW - Lausitzring, Germany - September 16th - 18th

Team Milwaukee, BMW - Magny Cours, France - September 30th - October 2nd

 
 

ONE TO WATCH

 

The World Superbike Championship returns to action after its summer break for BMW's home round at the Lausitzring, near Dresden. Their manufacturer-backed teams should therefore be guaranteed huge local support. Team Milwaukee BMW have been working hard during the downtime to further develop the bike with the aim of pushing higher up the field. The race is proving popular with Gulf businesses, so hopefully, the dozens of guests will have something to cheer on when the lights go green...

 
 
 

IF YOU CAN'T BE THERE IN PERSON...

 

Catch the English Premier League on TV just about everywhere. This season it is now being broadcast on China's CCTV channel - but check out the official website of the league: www.premierleague.com and of Manchester United: www.manutd.com

World Superbike action can be followed on the official World Superbike Championship Website: www.worldsbk.com (which also offers video coverage of the Superpole and both races, by subscription) and on Eurosport, either on the TV channel, where available, or through their Eurosport websites.

Fans of Gulf Racing can follow their progress in World Endurance Championship races LIVE on HD through the FIA WEC APP. Eurosport Player will show the full races live, as will LeTV in China, while on Fox Sports Go in North America, Canada and the Caribbean there will be full race coverage live. Full live commentary can be enjoyed through the excellent Radio Le Mans service: www.radiolemans.com

The drag racing action - at both Hockenheim's Nitrolypmics (Broadcast Times - Sat 9:00PM to Sun 4:00PM BST) and the European Finals (Broadcast Times - Fri 7:00PM to Sun 4:30PM BST) - is now available to watch live, in HD worldwide through UK track, Santa Pod's live website page: www.santapod.co.uk