Gulf Sport Edition 11 Page

'TIS THE SEASON...

The calendar year is winding towards its end, but the business of sport continues unabated for Gulf, as many of its partnerships are either still “in play” or our partners are hard at work preparing for track action in 2018.

2017 has marked the 50th anniversary of Gulf’s iconic blue and orange racing colours and of Gulf’s first World Sportscar Championship race win, as well as the brand’s first participation at Le Mans – all of which are certainly significant.

2018, however, marks 50 years since Gulf took outright victory in the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time and the recent Gulf conference saw the launch of Gulf’s specially designed 50 Year Le Mans Win logo, which will be an intrinsic part of what will be a major celebration for the brand - centered, naturally, around Le Mans itself. The Gulf Oil International Marketing Team is currently urgently looking for Gulf businesses to commit to their numbers and promotional programmes for Le Mans and for the other events on offer.

November saw the final rounds of both World Superbikes and the World Endurance Championship, with the Gulf teams putting in some of their best performances of the year and in this Gulf Sport we will report on these races and round up the season, as well as covering World Superbike testing, which is already underway ahead of the 2018 SBK season.

There are some interesting developments for Gulf in two wheeled motorsport – we will announce these in this Gulf Sport and we will also explain the dramatic changes in store for the World Endurance Championship from next year onwards….

In this Gulf Sport we will salute the fastest biker in the world, Ian King, who has called time on his top fuel motorbike drag racing career.

The football season, of course, continues apace and Manchester United’s league and cup campaigns have progressed well – with the team now having qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, while currently holding second position in the Premiership.

2018 promises to be a memorable year for Gulf and its sporting partnerships and the tool kits for the whole of the sports partnership platform are available to help activate them to the max in 2018.

With best wishes from GOI Marketing for a great Festive Season and a successful sporting season to follow…

IT'S GULF TEAM ALTHEA BMW RACING IN 2018

Gulf Oil International has extended its Superbike involvement for next season to become title sponsor of the Althea BMW Racing Team for 2018. This is the second season of Gulf’s partnership with the BMW manufacturer endorsed team that is based just outside Rome.

Althea, who finished fifth in the 2017 World Superbike series, will be fielding ex Grand Prix star Loris Baz on a BMW S1000RR in the World Superbike Championship, together with a further entry in the 2018 Superstock 1000 series for rising star, Alessandro Delbianco.

Althea Racing has a long and successful history in World Championship Motorcycle Racing and won the World Superbike Championship in 2011 with Carlos Checa as rider. They have also won two Superstock titles and won races in the series in 2017.

The 2018 Althea bike will be revealed in its new season livery early in the new year and the World Superbike Championship commences at Phillip Island Australia over the weekend of the 24-25th February.

Briefly behind the scenes with Althea team owner (and Manchester United fan) Genesio Bevilacqua

Q – How is the testing and development of the 2018 bike going?

GB It's going very well. The Gulf Althea BMW Racing team and its new rider Loris Baz have concluded in November a two-day collective test session in Jerez with positive results. The Team also made private tests in Cartagena. These tests have given us our first opportunity to prepare for the 2018 Superbike World Championship - giving more confidence to the rider. His approach was surprising and his speed on the bike even more so - and this leads us to hope that we will have a very important 2018 season!

Q – Can you tell us a little about the Althea World Superbike Rider for this coming season?

GB Loris Baz’s goal will be to be in the Top 5. His experience both in Superbike and MotoGP gives him the basis for being a fighter ready for any challenge!

Q – What are your aims for Althea Racing for this season and for yourself in Motorsport?

GB My aim is to have good results, to achieve many podiums and fight for the World title!

Q – What is programme between now and the start of the season?

GB We will do tests in Jerez on the 24th-25th of January and in Portimao on the 28th-29th of January, then there will be other official commitments established by Dorna.

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

GB I remember while my classmates at school preferred afternoon football games I would spend my afternoons at the workshop closest to my home.

I wanted to become a motorcycle racer but unfortunately my family did not have the means to help me fuel my passion. In 1983 I opened my first company and with this I was now able to earn what I needed to race. One day a man came to our bike club in Sassacci - 1975 World Championship winner Paolo Pileri. He came to my company – which had now become Althea - and looked at the bikes I had.

He had the best advice and with a person like him by my side I was able to achieve my dream objective – to talk easily with technicians and with those in the profession, aware that at the “University of Paolo” it was possible to learn everything there was to know about bikes…

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

GB It involves me 100%... every day!

www.althearacing.com

GULF BMW TO TAKE ON THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BIKE RACE!

Gulf is set make its debut at the world’s most famous motorbike races in 2018 as Gulf BMW takes on the legendary Isle of Man TT races.

The team – an offshoot of the Shaun Muir Racing concern, who are of course Gulf’s partners in World Superbikes, as Aprilia’s factory race team under the Milwaukee Aprilia banner – will contest both the Superbike and Superstock category races at the Isle of Man TT as well as at the North West 200 later in the year.

The bike, which will run in full Gulf livery, is essentially a World Superbike Championship specification BMW S1000RR, similar to those the team ran in the 2016 World Superbike Championship.

The fearsome Isle of Man course covers 38 miles of public roads on the island and leaves precious little margin for error. The record lap sees the course run in 16 minutes 53.9 seconds – an average speed of an incredible 133.9 mph.

The racing takes place in the first week of June and a number of options are available for Gulf businesses who want to activate the Gulf Road Racing progamme, with full guest packages and VIP hospitality available.

To get a taste of this truly amazing event and see what your guests can experience - not only first hand, but behind-the-scenes with the Gulf BMW team - check out the official IOM TT taster video

Further details from Rachit Kapoor at Gulf Oil International marketing – rachit.kapoor@gulfoilltd.com.

https://www.iomtt.com

WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 IN REVIEW.
SO NEAR...

Gulf’s 2017 World Superbike Season has seen a major step forward over the previous year in terms of both results and of outright competitiveness.

Both the Althea BMW and Milwaukee Aprilia teams shone at various stages during the season and the true measure of how far the Gulf bikes had come was the fact that a top ten finish was expected at every race, with the next target – a top five result – being a realistic aim.

All of the Gulf bikes were involved in crashes at some stage of the penultimate race weekend in Spain. Eugene Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori managed 7th and 8th in the first race and Jordi Torres and Raffaele De Rosa 10th and 13th in the second in Jerez after both Aprilias had the misfortune of taking each other out.

In the run up to the final race, both of the Milwaukee Aprilia riders took time out to visit the Gulf 2017 Global Conference in Dubai and proved to be an immensely popular addition to the proceedings.

Qualifying had again shown the Aprilias to be fast in a single lap and in the final round in Qatar, Savadori lined up 4th and Laverty 6th in race one. The Althea BMWs have generally raced better than they qualified and Qatar race 1 saw Laverty and Savadori tantalizingly close to the podium in 4th an 5th, with Torres coming through to finish a strong 7th.

With the customary top 9 finishing order reshuffle, it meant that the Aprilias lined upon pole position and second for race 2 with Torres just behind on the second row. Hopes of a breakthrough podium were dashed, however, as Laverty was gradually overhauled to finish 7th, Savadori suffered early mechanical problems, Torres (pictured) ended what was to be his last race for Althea before moving to MV Agusta for 2018 with a huge accident, that he was fortunate to walk away from and De Rosa came home 11th.

Not perhaps the season climax everyone hoped for, but in the season overall, Gulf’s partner teams ended up 4th and 5th in the world championship with Milwaukee Aprilia just overhauling Althea BMW with their better finishes in the final round.

No sooner had the chequered flag dropped on the season, however, than the teams assembled in Jerez for the first official 2018 pre-season test.

The Aprilias showed well and Althea’s new recruit, Loris Baz, who comes back to World SBK from Moto GP, also impressed.

There will be more testing before the season starts in February and hopefully both the Gulf teams will be able to continue their march towards to that first Superbike podium in 2018.

A GOOD SEASON FINISHES BUT A SUPERSEASON BECKONS

Having taken their maiden WEC podium at the end of the Summer, in Mexico, Gulf Racing were looking to repeat the achievement again before the season closed.

This they were able to do – and in fine style – at the penultimate race of the 2017 World Endurance Championship in Shanghai. In front of a good crowd of Gulf Oil China Guests, the blue and orange Porsche, driven by Ben Barker, Nick Foster and, Khalid al Qubaisi – deputising for Team Owner Mike Wainwright, whose business commitments stopped him from being at the race – took an excellent Runners Up finish podium finish. The team ran almost faultlessly over the six hours and thoroughly deserved the result.

Hopes were high of another podium finish at the final race in Bahrain but the weekend proved to be one of the toughest yet for the team in WEC. A fire in Free Practice 3 meant that the team had to miss Qualifying to repair the car and, though allowed to start, had to do so from the pits a lap down.

The #86 car managed to haul itself up into fourth place in GTE Am in the day-into-night finale, before it was run into by the factory Porsche LMP1 car. The resultant damage, though not huge, effectively ended any chance the Gulf car had of a good finish.

The 2017 season, therefore, didn’t finish on the high that the team might have liked. There were, however, some excellent performances in the second half of the season and the coming campaign promises to be the most exciting yet for the Gulf Racing team.

Firstly, the team is one of the few that has secured the opportunity to race the current Porsche GTE 911 RSR that the factory team has been using this season. It is lower, wider and intrinsically faster than the car they have used for the last couple of seasons in the WEC, with the engine, for the first time, positioned in front of the rear axle in a 911 and they are genuinely excited by the prospect of racing the new car.

Secondly, the coming season is one of transition from an April to December race series, to an August to June championship, with the final race of the series being the famous Le Mans 24 Hours. The WEC has decided to run what they describe as a “Superseason” which will start in Spa, Belgium in May and will include two Le Mans 24 Hours - as well races in the UK, Japan, China, the USA and a further race in Spa.

Upcoming Gulf Sports will follow the lead up to the start of what should be one of the most fascinating WEC seasons yet – and of course, it will now see Gulf celebrating the 50th anniversary of both its first and second Le Mans wins. Given that both were achieved in the same car, what chance of history repeating itself?

MANCHESTER UNITED MOVE ONWARDS TOWARDS THE CHALLENGE OF THE NEW YEAR

As it nears the halfway stage, Manchester United’s 2017/18 season has seen the team make good progress both domestically and in Europe..

In the Premier League, United currently lie in second position, three points ahead of current champions, Chelsea and some 11 points off Manchester neighbours, City, who hold the top spot.

In the league, United have lost very few matches, the exceptions being away at Huddersfield and Chelsea and at home to Manchester City. There have been good wins against the likes of Spurs and Arsenal and it wasn’t until November 18th that any team actually managed to score a league goal at Old Trafford and in that case, United went on to beat Newcastle 4-1. United went on to win their next two home matches against Brighton and CSKA Moscow, making it 40 games unbeaten at home, surpassing Sir Alex Ferguson’s record of 38 unbeaten home games which held back in 2011.

United’s talisman of last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has now returned to United’s playing roster as has Paul Pogba, after a spell out through injury and Manager, Jose Mourinho has been able to pick from an almost full squad in recent weeks.

United’s form in Europe has been extremely good, with the team moving through to the Round of 16 in the Champions League as winners of their group. The Reds will face Spanish team, Sevilla, in February, in their bid to make it through to the quarter final stage of the competition.

Unfortunately United’s defence of its Carabao (Football League) Cup title came to an end in the quarter finals this week, as they lost to an injury time goal at Bristol City of the Championship after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had earlier equalised.

So it’s back to Premier League action again, with the busy Christmas period bringing matches against Leicester City, Burnley and Southampton and Everton before United begin their 2018 FA Cup campaign with a match at home to Championship team Derby County on January 5th.

The coming couple of months could well define United’s entire season, as they need to keep winning in the Premier League to maintain any realistic hope of challenging for the title - and, indeed, to ensure they remain in a Champions League qualifying position for next season – but of course, in the meanwhile there are also two cup competitions to contest, including, of course, the Champions League itself.

THE KING RIDES OFF INTO THE SUNSET...

He is arguably the greatest exponent of Motorcycle Drag racing ever to have come out of the British Isles. For the majority of Ian King’s ultra-successful career riding the world’s most powerful motorcycles, he has raced under the Gulf Dragracing banner and he has now brought down the curtain on a stellar career in Motorcycle Top Fuel Drag Racing.

The facts about Ian King

Ten-time European Top Fuel Motorcycle Drag Champion.

European Drag Record holder for both top speed and elapsed times over a quarter mile.

Motorcycle World Land Speed Record Holder over a quarter mile from standing start.

The Gulf Dragracing GPO team was the brainchild of Ian himself together with long time Gulf licensee, Dakota (GPO being their Grand Prix Originals clothing and accessories brand). Marco Ruf of Dakota pitched the idea to Gulf at the 2010 Global Conference in Argentina and, since then, Ian has failed only once to win the Top Fuel Championship.

The two wheeled blue and orange 1500 brake horsepower rocket was new for 2011 and, though it was quick from the outset, it has got consistently faster, culminating in an elapsed time of 5.81 seconds for a quarter mile run from a standing start. Indeed, in one incredible meeting in 2016 he posted no fewer than five of the twenty fastest runs of all time.

Check out the video of Ian’s record run here.

Ian himself is cool, quiet and considered – perhaps not what you might expect from someone who sits astride a machine that accelerates to 150kph in under one second – and to 400kph some four seconds later - most of the time with its front wheel off the ground. But, not only is Ian the pilot of this incredible machine, he is also the man who designs and builds its engine – and those of its main competitors around the world.

Ian’s Puma engine company powers most of the world’s leading Top Fuel bikes – and perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that this fire-breathing monster is lubricated by standard “off-the-shelf” Gulf road lubricants. There can be fewer practical demonstrations of the quality of Gulf products than their ability to deliver consistent performance in the sort of conditions that make the word “extreme” look extremely tame.

Ian – and the Gulf Dragracing bike will be appearing at various Gulf events in 2018 as part of a short farewell tour.

Further details: Alexandra.adeniya@gulfoilltd.com

AROUND THE WORLD OF GULF SPORT

 

PHILIPPINES

Basketball, as ever, is one of the most popular sports in the country and Gulf Oil Philippines continues to activate various initiatives around the sport.

Pictured here is the Gulf-supported “House of Hoops” programme where the Gulf team made it through to the 2017 Philippines basketball playoffs.

Gulf Oil Philippines also used the recent FIBA International Qualifier match between the Philippines and Taiwan to promote the brand, with a major court-side advertising programme on the electronic hoardings.

Motorbike Racing is also a big part of the Philippines’ marketing programme and Gulf Oil Philippines activated the sponsorship at a recent Bike Expo.

 

BRAZIL

Gulf also recently exhibited at a motorcycle expo in Brazil and Gulf promotions are obviously proving effective as the graffiti art on the side of a building illustrates!

 

 

ITALY

Gulf Oil Italy also had a prominent presence at November’s major motorcycle expo in Milan as part of their push into the busy Italian motorbike market.

 

NEPAL - GULF SLOW SCOOTER COMPETITION

As the number one lubricants business in Nepalese Market, Gulf is associated with various sports in Nepal and promotes this involvement wherever possible.

In November, Gulf organised the “Slow Scooter Competition” whose main objective was to create traffic awareness by focusing on slow and safe riding on the road. 25 riders featured in the competition itself but there were 600 participants overall in the seven-hour event.

 

BANGLADESH

Gulf Oil Bangladesh recently hosted its own Karting championship to help launch Gulf’s Customer Value Proposition programme to the local market. The branding was total and it included references to all of the various partnerships of the Gulf sporting platform.

As can be seen from the photo, the end result was extremely impressive.

ROFGO

ROFGO Racing – the motorsport arm of Roald Goethe’s amazing Gulf Car Collection - enjoyed another good result in the 24 Hour race at the Circuit of the Americas that forms part of the Creventic endurance race programme in which they are regular competitors.

The Gulf Mercedes finished 5th overall having looked odds on for a podium finish untll they had to change gearbox, which cost them ten laps.

The Mercedes is now available as an official Scalextric slot racing car.

ROFGO Racing also took part in the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi, this time in one of the rapid Renault GT3 racers. The car will be out again January at the Dubai 24 Hour race.

GOSEA

Gulf Oil South East Asia has entered into a partnership with the WIN Motorsport Team who are competing in the Asian Le Mans Series in this extremely pretty Ligier LMP3 car.

The team has had a tough couple of opening races, but have looked very quick, so if their luck holds over the coming rounds they should register some good results.

GOSEA also participated in a recent motorsport event in Singapore, with this superb looking Mazda racer.

JAPAN

Gulf Racing Japan continues to achieve good results – especially, of late, in their D1 drift racing programme.

The team is also entered in January’s Dubai 24 Hours, with their one of their Porsche 911 GT3 racers, where it will compete alongside the ROFGO entered Renault GT3.

CHINA

Gulf Oil China staged a very successful programme around the Shanghai WEC race in November. A distributor evening before the race was hosted together with Gulf Racing drivers Ben Barker and Nick Foster was very popular.

GOC’s media programme around the WEC event which was co-hosted by Felix, China’s foremost motorsport blogger, was both entertaining and informative for the media in attendance and included a half hour live webcast tour of the Gulf Racing Garage by GOI’s Press officer, Simon Maurice and the Gulf Racing team.

 

GULF OIL MARINE

Congratulations to the Gulf Oil Marine Ligier LMP3 crew of Richard Meins, Shaun Lynn and Jim McQuire who took an excellent LMP3 class victory in the recent Gulf 12 Hour Race in Abu Dhabi.

The car has always looked fantastic on track and now it has achieved the result to complement its good looks!

 

GULF SPORTING DIARY

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

English Premier League

Manchester United vs Leicester City - King Power Stadium - December 23rd

Manchester United vs Burnley - Old Trafford - December 26th

Manchester United vs Southampton - Old Trafford - December 30th

Manchester United vs Everton - Goodison Park - January 1st

Manchester United vs Stoke City - Old Trafford - January 15th

Manchester United vs Burnley - Turf Moor - January 20th

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur - Wembley Stadium - January 31st

FA Cup

Manchester United vs Derby County - Old Trafford - January 5th