Gulf Sport Edition 10 Page

OCTOBER(SPORT)FEST

The coming few weeks mark some of the most important in the sporting calendar as a whole, but in Gulf’s sporting calendar in particular.

The new Premier League football season is going into its third month, but equally important the new Champions League campaign is now underway – and it has been a case of “so far, so good” in both for Gulf’s sporting partners, Manchester United.

Back on the world’s race tracks and Gulf vehicles will be competing on the majority of the world’s continental land masses. The World Endurance Championship has moved from Central America to Asia, while the World Superbike Championship started the month in Europe and will be moving to the Middle East by the month’s end. Shortly afterwards, Ian King will head to America for the final of the Manufacturers Cup Motorbike Drag Racing series. It’s hard to know where to look next!

So let’s look at Gulf’s sporting platform as a whole – as this edition of Gulf Sport will illustrate, it has been a busy and productive month for Gulf on the pitch and on track, but ultimately it is all about how these properties are used - and the business that Gulf entities are able to generate through them.

To that end, this month will see the launch of a new Gulf marketing toolkit for activating next year’s 50th Anniversary of the first Gulf Le Mans 24 Hours victory with a raft of ideas, designs, images and templates for both B2B and B2C as well as details of new merchandising partnerships with some great brand names. This will be a key event for Gulf and its use could make a big positive impact on Gulf businesses over the coming year. Everyone is urged therefore, to look it through thoroughly to be able to utilise all of the opportunities it has to offer to their fullest extent.

In the meanwhile, take note of all the diary dates in this Gulf Sport so you can follow our Gulf teams and cheer them on, hopefully, to further success over the coming weeks!

 

UNITED MAKING THEIR MARK AT HOME AND IN EUROPE

Manchester United’s early season form in both the English Premier League and in the Champions League has been outstanding.

In the Premier League, both Manchester Clubs have shown the rest of England the way home, so far. United drew their first match of September, a 2-2 draw away to Stoke City, but other than that, they have a 100% domestic win record – with a 4-0 win against Everton, a 4-1 victory (to start their title defence) in the Carabao English Football League Cup at home to Burton Albion, a 1-0 win away at Southampton and most recently a 4-0 win at Old Trafford against struggling Crystal Palace.

Currently United lie second in the Premier league, tied on points with Manchester City and with a single goal’s difference separating the two clubs.

In Europe, United’s performances have been equally strong. In the first Champions League match of the 2017/18 campaign, United bested Swiss side, FC Basel 3-0 at home. Two weeks later, away in Moscow, the reds again took victory by a three goal margin, beating CSKA Moscow 4-1 to comfortably head their group at this stage.

Summer signing Romelu Lukaku has looked an extremely wise buy. He is currently the Premier League’s top scorer with seven goals from seven games. He has also scored three goals in the two Champions League matches and so he is currently averaging more than a goal a game in his appearances for the club.

Jose Mourinho is pleased with the way that United have played thus far, “I am happy we start the season very strong, respecting the opponents but not giving them the chance to be stable in the game, so I am very happy with the points."

This weekend is one of the prime fixtures of the season as United face Liverpool away from home. On current form United may well start the game as favourites, but the rivalry with Liverpool is one of the most intense in English football and Liverpool will be aiming to raise their game in front of what will undoubtedly be a capacity crowd at Anfield.

GULF RACING STEPS UP IN MEXICO

Gulf Racing came to Mexico City for the fifth round of the WEC searching for a first podium in their 2017 World Endurance Championship campaign - and achieved the breakthrough result they wanted, in what was arguably the team’s best ever performance in a 6 Hour WEC race.

Mike Wainwright and Ben Barker qualified the car third in the GTE Am category and, from the off, the car ran strongly with team owner Mike Wainwright at the wheel, putting in one of the best stints of his WEC career followed by excellent drives from Barker and Nick Foster.

The blue and orange Porsche ran in the top three throughout the remaining five hours, swapping places amongst the leading cars, to eventually come home a strong third, less than a lap down on the GTE Am winner at the end of the six hours.

It was a clearly delighted crew who mounted the WEC podium for the first time in 2017 and, buoyed by their success, the team moved on to the next race, at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas two weeks later hopeful of another good result.

In the race, the Gulf Racing Porsche made rapid progress from its fifth place grid position after the start of the Austin race, again moving up to challenge for a podium place in the first three hours, before a brake problem brought a halt to their charge. Mike Wainwright suffered an off-track excursion as a result and incurred some damage to the rear, but not enough to prevent him getting back to the pits. The team got the car on track again after a long delay, but their race was run.

The WEC now moves to Asia, with the next round being at the picturesque Fuji track in Japan. Business commitments will prevent Mike Wainwright from competing at either Fuji or Shanghai, therefore his place at these races will be taken by Michael Hedlund and Khaled Al Qubaisi, respectively.

GULF BIKES MOVE THE BAR HIGHER STILL

The World Superbike Championship (SBK) returned to Europe and the Gulf teams have put in their best race performances and most rapid qualifying laps to date.

Portugal saw both Milwaukee Aprilias qualifying on the front row of the grid for the first time – Laverty 2nd and Savadori 3rd – a truly superb performance. Jordi Torres qualified on Row 2 and all in all, qualifying represented a benchmark of the progress made in terms of outright pace.

Tyre wear issues for the Aprilias in the first race meant that they started fast but struggled to maintain their pace and it was Torres on the Althea BMW who was the first Gulf bike home in 6th, followed directly by Laverty and Savadori. De Rosa finished 11th to make it four Gulf bikes in the top 12.

In Race 2 the Aprilias had largely overcome the tyre wear problem and Laverty, Torres and Savadori on their Gulf bikes finished 4th, 5th and 6th respectively – tantalisingly close to Gulf’s first podium of the season.

Hopes were high for Magny Cours but the weather threw an unwelcome variable into the mix with intermittent rain making life difficult for both Gulf teams. Three out of the four Gulf bikes crashed during qualifying and the BMWs started right at the back of the grid. In race one Laverty finished 6th – having dropped to 12th on the opening lap. Savadori came home 11th, De Rosa 13th and Torres 14th.

Race two was a case of, what might have been. Laverty crashed out at the beginning, amazingly remounting to finish 17th. Savadori ran in the top five for most of the race, before, agonisingly, his bike stopped with two corners of the race left to run. Both BMWs, however, came through from the rear of the field to finish in the top 10- Torres in 8th and De Rosa 10th.

Two SBK race meetings remain and battle is rejoined at Jerez in Spain in two weekends’ time.

KING YET TO HIT TOP FORM IN 2017

Ian King’s farewell season of Top Fuel Motorbike Drag Racing in America has shown promise but, thus far has frustratingly not allowed him to put in the performances that he knows he and the Gulf DragRacing bike are capable of.

With some of the early rounds of the Manufacturers Cup being weather affected, Ian was very much looking forward to the September meeting at the famous Rockingham motorsport facility – and, at the event, Ian was buoyed by a contingent from Gulf’s Canadian fuel licensees, XTR Energy making the journey to North Carolina to support the team.

The blue and orange machine qualified well – posting the third fastest time during the qualification runs – but Ian wasn't able to hook the bike up to his satisfaction once the elimination rounds started and, unfortunately, didn’t progress into the semi finals.

Ian is eagerly looking forward to the World Finals that take place at South Georgia Motorsports Park on November 16-19 as he makes his swansong in what has been an incredible career in Motorbike Drag Racing.

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MIKE WAINWRIGHT, DRIVER AND TEAM OWNER OF GULF RACING

This month we caught up with Mike Wainwright – Businessman, Race Team Owner, World Endurance Championship Driver and Gulf Enthusiast, to find out a little more about what drives him to drive… and how Gulf Racing fits into the rest of his busy life.


Q – When did you start to become interested in motorsport and what inspired the formation of Gulf Racing ?

MW I guess I have been interested in cars since my childhood, but I became more interested in my early 20s when I started to actively race go karts for fun. This lead to track days with cars and eventually to my first official race - at the Dubai 24hrs.

Gulf Racing was set up by Roald Goethe (ROFGO) and myself because, having raced as individual drivers in other teams, we felt we could do something more unique amongst ourselves. Rather than following someone else it would be our ideas and obviously the already existing relationship with Gulf Oil International allowed us to bring this together (although Roald is now completely with ROFGO and has no involvement with Gulf Racing).

Q – What does being part of Gulf’s Motorsport history mean to you and what is your favourite Gulf car of all time?

MW The Gulf livery is legendary in endurance motorsport and being able to drive under its colours is a privilege – even more so because the Porsche 991 RSR seems to suits the colours so well and makes it now one of the most photographed cars on the grid. I guess my most favourite car is either the Porsche 917 or 908

Q – Gulf Racing is now in its second full year in the WEC, how has the step up from the European Le Mans Series been?

MWGreat – the longer races help as it gives me more driving time and with that time brings experience – obviously the international races outside Europe bring prestige to the series overall.

Q – As team owner how involved are you in the day-to-day running of Gulf Racing?

MW To be honest I have little day-to-day involvement as Matt and the guys know what they are doing and there is no need for me to interfere.

Q – Unlike some of the other Gentlemen Drivers in GTE Am, who are full-time racers in all but name, you have a very active business career and a family. How do you manage to balance the demands of work, family life and world championship motorsport?

MW This is the hard part and, to be honest, puts me at a disadvantage compared to some of the other drivers-teams as I really don’t have enough time to do sufficient testing. However, moaning about it will not change much, so I just need to get on with it. Thankfully my family enjoy coming to some of the races and this helps balance the time away from home.

Q – What have been the high and low points in your Gulf Racing experiences so far?

MW I guess the high was coming 5th in class at Le Mans in 2016, though winning at Silverstone in 2015 was a nice achievement and obviously our most recent podium and first in the WEC at Mexico can’t be forgotten. Racing has its ups and downs and whilst it can be frustrating at times, I don’t remember the bad times as, in the end, I am there to enjoy it…….and that I do!

Q – What are your goals for Gulf Racing and for yourself in Motorsport?

MW I would like to continue to improve as a driver and put myself and the team in a position to challenge for podiums and eventually championships – I believe this year we have made a good step in the right direction and I hope this continues next year, with the new (next generation Porsche 911 GTE RSR) car making life a bit easier

Q – When you your not at work or at a race, what do you do to relax?

MW I spend time as much time as possible with the family

INDIA

GOLIL have launched the Gulf Fan Academy (GFA), which is aimed at the growing ranks of Gulf Manchester United fans in the country.

Looking at the excellent three minute launch video - which adopts a tongue-in-cheek approach and which features the Academy’s “Chief Fan Officer,” together with special guest, Gulf Ambassador (and Manchester United devotee) MS Dhoni, as well as United stars, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia – as well as the programme it has lined up, it is hard to imagine that the GFA won’t attract United fans in huge numbers.

On its launch, the GFA was trending throughout India on Twitter. Watch it for yourself - “It’s the fan thing to do”

 

ARGENTINA

Photographed here are examples of some excellent, innovative new packaging ideas from Gulf Oil Argentina, using Gulf’s Sporting platform and also the Steve McQueen Le Mans film as their inspiration.

 

BRAZIL

Pictured here is one of the latest ads from Gulf in Brazil, which features all of the sporting partnerships as well as their social media activation tools.

 

PHILIPPINES

Gulf Fuel Retail in the Philippines has joined Manila’s commercial basketball league with the objective of creating more brand awareness for Gulf throughout the country.

Basketball is a major sport in the Philippines and has captured the imagination of huge numbers of Filipinos. Many of the largest fuel brands in the country - Phoenix, Flying V, Petron and Shell - have been involved before and thanks to the joint efforts of JBY Petro Sales & Trading, Dmaya and GOPI, the Gulf Supreme Boosters are now in play…..

Check out the team in action.

 

INDIA

Gulf’s multiple Drag Racing champion, Ian King was the subject of a superb Gulf poster in the run up to his most recent US outing at Rockingham, North Carolina.

CHINA

The D1 Drift Series in which Gulf Racing Japan compete, with Tetsuya Hibino as their driver, came to China for the first time and it was a great night for Gulf Oil China, Gulf Racing Japan and Hibino himself.

The Japanese driver took victory at the event, continuing his fine run of form – this time in the team’s 3-Series BMW.

MEXICO

Gulf’s fuel licensees in Mexico have used the WEC race in the country – the 6 Hours of Mexico City – to both entertain customers and to engage the public with the brand.

Again this year they took a trade stand at the event and, as can be seen below, at one stage the marquee hosted the Gulf Racing drivers, who as usual proved to be a great draw for the public. Mexican Gulf fans were rewarded not only by autographs from the team but also with their first podium of the season…

 

GULF SPORTING DIARY

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

English Premier League

Manchester United vs Liverpool - Anfield - October 14th

Manchester United vs Huddersfield Town - Kirklees Stadium - October 21st

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur - Old Trafford - October 28th

Manchester United vs Chelsea - Stamford Bridge - November 5th

UEFA Champions League

Manchester United vs Benfica - Estádio da Luz - October 18th

Manchester United vs Benfica - Old Trafford - October 31st

Carabao Cup

Manchester United vs Swansea City - Liberty Stadium - October 24th


GULF RACING

World Endurance Championship

Round 7 - 6 Hours of Fuji - October 13th - 15th

Round 8 - 6 Hours of Shanghai - November 4th - 5th


MILWAUKEE APRILIA & ALTHEA BMW

World Superbike Championship

Round 12 - Jerez, Spain - October 20th - 22nd

Round 13 - Losail, Qatar - November 2nd - 4th