Gulf Sport Edition 2
 
 

After a relatively quiet August, while some of the series in which Gulf is involved took a summer break, the end of the month marked a full return to action on all fronts.

It has been a pretty fruitful September for our sporting partners, with some important milestones and some major success in the past couple of weeks.

Good results in both the World Superbikes and World Endurance Championships and some winning performances on the Football field have been eclipsed by a European Championship and a World Record, as well as the breaking news that Gulf will be partnering not one, but two manufacturers, in the 2017 World Superbike Championship.

Our sporting profile this month features (now) ten-time European Top Fuel Drag motorbike Racing Champion - and new Motorcycle World Speed Record holder -
Ian King.

Gulf's global motorsport season reaches a critical stage over the coming two months – with the final World Superbike Championship and World Endurance Championship rounds, so we will be previewing many of them, as well as reporting on the most recent.

This Gulf Sport will also feature some of the success being achieved by Gulf supported teams and individuals in local and regional markets.

We have had some welcome feedback on the first edition but would really value your thoughts on what you liked about the first two editions – or what we could do to improve it, going forwards.

Wishing Good Sport and Good Business in the coming month!

 
 
 

IN THIS EDITION

Expanded World Superbike Programme for 2017
Sporting round-up and previews for Gulf's SBK, WEC and Football programmes
The story of Ian King's tenth title and World Land Speed record weekend
Behind-the-scenes with Gulf's new world record holder, Ian King
Around the Gulf World of Sport

 
 
 
 

GULF EXPANDS ITS WORLD SUPERBIKE PROGRAMME FOR 2017

The rumours have been around for several weeks, but we can now officially announce that Gulf will be partnering with two World Superbike Teams, initially, until at least the end of 2018.

Team Milwaukee – run by Shaun Muir Racing – has been given the opportunity, by Aprilia, to run their factory race team in World Superbikes from 2017 onwards and the Gulf partnership will therefore move with them to run with the Italian manufacturer. The RSV4 motorbike has proved itself to be one of the quickest in the SBK field and for 2107 it will be ridden by rapid Italian, Lorenzo Savadori, who has been racing an Aprilia this season, as well as by Ireland's Eugene Laverty who has ridden with success for Aprilia in the past, and who joins the team after two seasons in Moto GP.

Aprilia is part of the Piaggio Group, which also includes Vespa and Moto Guzzi brands as well, of course, as Piaggio itself. With sales in excess of 600,000 motorbikes a year, it makes them the largest manufacturing group for motorcycles outside of Japan.

Gulf will also remain with BMW in World Superbikes, as we will be partnering with Althea BMW – the other BMW Manufacturer-backed team in the championship.

Althea has a strong pedigree in World Superbikes, which includes fielding both the World Champion rider – Carlos Checa - and claiming the World Team Superbike title in 2010.

Althea will go into its second year of fielding the BMW S1000RR. The team currently boasts two riders who regularly feature in the top ten runners – Spaniard Jordi Torres currently 7th overall in the championship and young German, Markus Reiterberger, who has already confirmed his place in the team for next year.

The new deals come into effect after the end of the season, which has its finale at Qatar on October 30th, but will give added spice to the remaining races – be sure to look out for the Aprilias and Althea BMWs over the final three races, with a view towards 2017...

 
 
 
 

WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

GERMANY

Team Milwaukee BMW heads for the French round of the World Superbike Championship on the back of its best finish of the season in Germany.

After problems in the Saturday race, the team changed various settings, which made a positive difference. This helped both bikes to come home in the points on Sunday, with Josh Brookes managing to stay out of trouble in a treacherously rain-affected race to take seventh place at the finish.

"We wanted to try a few things with the swingarm, gearing and wheelbase, and they really worked," Brookes explained. "The bike was a lot more nimble and didn't lose grip, and as a result we had a much better race. It was great to be in a proper battle again. I'm looking forward to racing at Magny-Cours, and I think if we can keep the bike in the performance margin we found this weekend then we can get some more strong results for sure."

 
 
 
 

WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

 

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

Team Milwaukee, BMW - Jerez, Spain - October 14th - 16th

Team Milwaukee, BMW - Losail, Qatar - October 28th - 30th

 
 

ONE TO WATCH

 

After the team's best result to date in Germany, it will be fascinating to see if Team Milwaukee BMW can continue to run inside the top ten. The Magny Cours circuit – long-time home of the French Formula 1 Grand Prix - where the World Superbike Championship visits this weekend, is a circuit that has everything from slow hairpins to long fast turns and it often produces great racing. Also, with Gulf's partnerships for 2017 now official, look out for the progress of the Althea BMW Team and the Aprilia of Lorenzo Savadori, all of whom will have Gulf support next season...

 
 
 
 

WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
MEXICO AND AUSTIN

With two finishes that have almost ended up with visits to the victory rostrum, over the past two WEC races, Gulf Racing has found more speed and consistency with its Porsche 911 RSR GTE.

The Blue and Orange endurance racer, driven by Ben Barker, Adam Carroll and team co-owner, Mike Wainwright has led the class on occasion, but because of the incredibly close nature of the racing in the GTE Am category, the outright consistency has not quite been there to take the podium finish that the team is fervently seeking.

In the 6 Hours of Mexico race there was a noticeable step up in qualifying performance as the team qualified on the front row of the GTE Am grid and, having led, in the early stages they were closing in on the third placed Corvette when they ran out of time.

In Austin Texas, they qualified fourth and came home in the same position. Gulf Racing are currently involved in a four-way battle for third place honors in the WEC with three races remaining.

 
 
 

WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Gulf Racing - Fuji, Japan - October 15th - 16th

Gulf Racing - Shanghai, China - November 5th - 6th

 
 

ONE TO WATCH

 

The next round of the World Endurance Championship brings the Gulf Racing team to Fuji, in Japan – a circuit that the team hasn't encountered before. The track runs in the shadow of Mount Fuji and the mountain and its surrounding countryside has its own microclimate. Often this means rain – and two years ago the race was run entirely behind the safety car, until it was eventually declared unsafe to race and the race was abandoned. That was an extreme case, but nonetheless, the track is tricky and conditions can play often create a very level playing field. Gulf Racing has come tantalisingly close to its first WEC podium finish in the last two races. Could Fuji be their time to shine?

 
 
 
 

MANCHESTER UNITED

After a 100% start to the new English Premier League season, Manchester United came into the Manchester derby with Manchester City knowing that a win would take either to the top of the table.

In the event it was City who emerged victorious, after a superb first half display, but there was enough in the second half for Manchester United to feel that they could have taken away more from the match. City left Old Trafford with a 1-2 victory, but fans won’t have to wait too long before the next Manchester derby; the two teams have been drawn against each other in the next round of the English Football League Cup.

Two further losses followed - a close run match away at Dutch team Feyenoord in the opening group game of the Europa League and then a 3-1 away defeat at Watford in the Premier League, a 12pm Sunday kick-off which came around quickly after trip to Holland.

Since then, however United's fortunes have turned around with a good 1-3 victory away at Northampton Town in the third round of the English Football League Cup – which set up the forthcoming tie with Manchester City – and then an excellent 4-1 victory over current Premier League Champions, Leicester City.

 
 

It was clearly a performance that pleased Manager, José Mourinho. "Today we had intensity, we had good movement, we were dynamic and we were strong defensively against a team that, I repeat, are easy to analyse but hard to cope with. To be back home and beat the champions is good.

"We were much more aggressive and pressed higher. The team was quicker to react when the ball was lost and we were very objective, we had lots of fast football. We played the way we wanted to play and played really well."

United now have a run of important games against tough opposition – both at home and in Europe - as they seek to go further in two cup competitions and head back towards the top of the Premier League.

 
 
 
 

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

 

Manchester United vs Stoke City - Old Trafford - October 2nd

Manchester United vs Liverpool - Anfield - October 17th

Manchester United vs Chelsea - Stamford Bridge - October 23rd

 
 

EUROPA LEAGUE

 

Manchester United vs Zorya Luhansk - Old Trafford - September 29th

Manchester United vs Fenerbache - Şükrü Saracoğlu - October 20th

 
 

ENGLISH FOOTBALL LEAGUE CUP

 

Manchester United vs Manchester City - Old Trafford - October 26th

 
 

ONE TO WATCH

 

Difficult to choose as there are so many mouth-watering games coming up! There were audible gasps in the audience at the English Football League Cup draw for the next round as United's name came out of the hat followed by Manchester City, however, if there is one game always guaranteed to bring the respective supporters to fever pitch, it is Liverpool. The rivalry between the two teams, if anything, is even more intense than between United and their near neighbors Manchester City. It is especially significant as United and Liverpool are currently only separated by a single point in the hunt for European football for next season.

 
 
 
 

IAN KING

THE WORLD'S FASTEST

In a matter of six days in September Ian King went from being a nine-time European Top Fuel Champion to a ten-time winner and the holder of a new FIM World Land Speed record.

The bare facts, however, simply don't do the story justice.

FIM TOP FUEL CHAMPIONSHIP – DOWN TO THE WIRE ONCE MORE!

It seemed easy on paper, all Ian had to do was qualify well and win the first round elimination contest, and he would be European Champion.

Day two of qualifying was a complete wash-out and then Ian, having qualified second, hit trouble in the first elimination round and lost out to the number 7 qualifier. This meant that either of Ian's two main rivals could take the title, were they to win the meeting. And all Ian could do was sit and wait it out.

Both men made the semi-final, but only Rikard Gustafsson, last year's runner up, made it through. Gustafsson looked set to take victory but he too hit problems in the middle of his final run and the championship went to Ian and the Gulf Oil/GPO Dragracing team, for a record 10th time, in a season where he had posted 5 of the fastest twenty motorbike runs in drag racing history.

 
 
 

WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT

"IF IT WAS THAT EASY
EVERYONE WOULD BE DOING IT..."

From forty thousand people at Santa Pod to one hundred and fifty people on a windswept airfield in Yorkshire, North England – the contrast could not have been much greater as he tried to set a new World Land Speed Record for a standing start quarter mile.

Ian was stepping into unknown territory. On a drag strip it would have been a certain bet, but because you have to run exactly the same course in both directions to establish a World Record it meant the drag strips on which Ian runs weren't usable, nor – because it is off the line power that counts – were sands or salt flats on which records are often established.

It was really a question of seeing how much power the runway would take. As it turned out, Ian spun the wheels and left a large rubber stripe on the runway, which the airfield owners objected to, forcing Ian to take to the concrete strip on the side of the runway if he wanted to continue. This was slippery and potentially extremely dangerous.

Ian completed one run almost as an experiment – which would count as a first run in a record attempt and then he was told he couldn't continue to make the necessary return run because of a noise complaint. After much negotiation it was agreed that he cold make one more run to try and set a new record.

He ran... and produced his fastest pass over the course, and a new world record came the way of the Gulf dragracing bike and its rider.

A short documentary of the World Record is in production, but you can already catch the video of this amazing weekend for Ian and for Gulf on YouTube:

 
 
 

BEHIND THE SCENES...

with Ian King, World Record holder

Gulf Sport talked with Ian to find out more about the man and what he does...

Q How do you rate this latest achievement?

A I've won ten European Championships, two British Championships and one Irish Championship – I'm British and European record holder but it's really cool to be a World Land Speed Record holder...

Q What's it actually like to ride your incredible motorcycle?

A It's very hard to actually describe what it's like to ride the Gulf Oil Dragracing bike. The nearest thing I can say is that it's like firing a gun and then riding the bullet!!

It accelerates faster than Thrust SSC – the first vehicle to break the sound barrier on land – and it's faster than any jet fighter...

 
 

Q What was the biggest issue you faced in trying to set a new world record?

A The problem we had was that it was so different on Elvington airfield to what we usually race on. Drag strips are specifically prepared for the sport. They are laser-leveled and have glue and rubber down on them to give us grip and help us liberate all of the power we have – in our case it's in excess of 1500 brake horsepower. On the airfield - and ultimately in our case, on the concrete surface to the side of the runway - the biggest problem was not spinning the tyre. We had to considerably de-tune the bike to be able to overcome the problem.

Q What do you feel that King Racing and Gulf have in common?

A The synergies between Gulf and what we do as a race team are fantastic. Gulf strives for excellence as we do – our bikes are the most powerful in the world and the lubricants that we use have to be of the highest quality for us to be able to achieve what we do.

And we're very passionate about what we do – Gulf and its people, with what they do, are also obviously very passionate about their work - and I surround myself with the very best people, who share the passion I have.

Q What do you think is the key to success in what you do?

A I'm motivated by excelling at the things I do and to succeed in motorsport I believe you have to be very accurate. You have to measure, you have to record - you have to be precise and you have to have the best components – and that's why we have been able to do what we do you.

Q What has been your scariest moment?

A We've had a few... but not too many. The one that sticks out in my memory was when we had an explosion on the bike engine because a fuel fitting failed. It resulted in the bike becoming a 200mph (320kph) fireball and I had to decide whether to try and save the bike – or jump off and save myself!

I compromised and rode it a little way further up the track to slow it down before I jumped off. Unfortunately it resulted in burns to my legs that meant I had to undergo surgery for the next year to repair the damage. Apart from that I've been fairly lucky, but I think that luck doesn't really come into it too much – it's really all about preparation.

Q What's next for you?

A A long period of rest and recuperation, I think!!

 
 
 

AROUND THE GULF WORLD OF SPORT

 

UK - LMP3

Look out for this beautiful machine if you are in Britain – Gulf Oil Marine is sponsoring this LMP3 car in the first race for the category that is set to run in a one-off this season before taking part in a new six round series for LMP3 cars in the UK and Belgium next year.

 
 
 

CANADA - SPORTSCARS

Congratulations to Mantella Autosport whose #8 Gulf liveried car – supported by Teklub, Gulf's Canadian Lubricant distributors - won round 14 of the Pirelli World Challenge at the Utah Motorsport Circuit. They have been running in Canada and the USA this year, the series being part of the United Sportscar package, which is the North American Continent's number one Endurance Racing championship. Catch them on video!

 
 
 

PHILIPPINES - MOTORBIKE RACING

More success for the Gulf sponsored motorcycle teams in the Philippines! Here is the Yamaha Factory Team, with their recent haul of trophies. Congratulations to all concerned.

 
 
 

MEXICO - WEC

Gulf's fuel licensees in Mexico – FF Vertical 2 - set up a "pop up fuel station" at the recent Mexico WEC round – it proved to be extremely popular and a great promotional activity over the course of the WEC weekend – which they also used entertain large numbers of clients and prospects.

 
 
 
 

GERMANY - BMW VISIT

The second visit to the amazing BMW Welt site in Munich formed a prelude to the World Superbike weekend for more than 20 Gulf VIP guests from various parts of the world.

 
 
 
 

MEXICO - DRAG RACING

While Ian King is flying the Gulf flag on the drag strips of Europe, JJ Lubricantes, Gulf's Mexican distributor, is sponsoring various dragsters, including these jet-powered monsters!

 
 
 

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 for details of Europa League and English Football League Cup games.

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