Gulf Sport Edition 6

The coming month is one of huge significance for Gulf in both the sporting and a wider arena.

What makes it so special?

Looking through what is to come in this edition of Gulf Sport, you will find a preview to the World Endurance Championship, which has its first race in the coming four weeks; World Superbikes return to Europe and our Gulf teams look to build on solid runs within the top half dozen bikes in the field; Manchester United aim to progress through to the semi finals of the Europa League and make the jump into the top four of the English Premier league for the final stages of the season; Drag Champion Ian King sets up for his farewell season; Rising Pune Supergiant faces its first innings of the 2017 Indian Premier League cricket campaign.

All extremely important to Gulf - but the coming month marks something of historical and global cultural importance for the Gulf brand, as it was 50 years ago in April that a Gulf car first made its race appearance in light blue and orange and the world's favourite racing livery was born.

Ask virtually any motoring enthusiast around the world about "Gulf Colours" and they will come back with "Blue and Orange" - such is the impact that Pantone reference 290C (the light blue) and 165C (Orange) have made.

For Gulf, in the minds of the public, Blue and Orange embodies some of the world's greatest cars, cool Hollywood film stars, success and speed. In an episode of Top Gear a couple of years ago, presenter Jeremy Clarkson had a limited budget with which to tune his Porsche to beat off the challenge of his cohorts. He spent it all on repainting the car in Gulf livery and, on getting out of the car remarked that the car was significantly quicker, simply because of its new colour scheme!

The cars - and, in some cases, bikes, boats, karts and even snowmobiles have contributed to the spread of the brand with their success - both globally and nationally - and the drivers who have raced under the colours range from future stars through to World Champions - many created behind the wheels of those same blue and orange vehicles.

Through them, over time, a mystique has evolved around the brand, one that has spawned a plethora of licensed products and an income stream Grady Davis, Vice President of Gulf at the time, would scarcely have imagined half a century ago.

The anniversary gives us a chance to both celebrate our unique brand and also to activate it new ways.

This logo has been designed specially for the upcoming season and it will be appearing in all sorts of places. We encourage you to use it wherever you can.

You will find more information on Blue and Orange in this edition and in other material that is to be published in the near future.

Here's to the next 50 years!

Vicki Kipling
Vice-President Marketing

For and on behalf of Gulf Oil International (UK) Ltd.



Gulf Racing Porsche renewed for WEC
Strong start to the 2017 Superbike season
Manchester United up for the cup!
Ian King's final fling
Rising Pune Supergiant in search of success
The story of one of the world's most famous liveries
Behind the scenes with Ted Higgins of the ROFGO Collection
Around the Gulf World of Sport





Gulf Oil International has renewed its partnership with Gulf Racing for both the 2017 and 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship Seasons.

The team's blue and orange Porsche 911 RSR GTE, will contest all nine rounds of this year's WEC, once again carrying the number 86 with which it raced in 2016.

Team owner, Mike Wainwright (left) teams up again with former Porsche Cup racer, Ben Barker. Barker moved up from Silver to Gold status in world driver rankings over the winter, which meant that the team has had to recruit a new silver level driver. Gulf Racing's choice for 2018 is Australian, Nick Foster, who has a wealth of Porsche racing experience in both the Australian and German Carrera Cups.

Both Foster and Ben Barker are well aware of the heritage of which they have become part. This year, as well as the 50th anniversary of the colours also marks a half-century of Gulf's participation at Le Mans. "Absolutely, and it is a real privilege to be a part of it, this year in particular," comments Ben Barker (right). "There should be a lot of buzz, a lot of interest, a really exciting time to be part of it. I know the whole team is looking to produce their very best to deliver a performance that plays well to those that will be following our progress.

"I'm really looking forward to playing my part. The biggest race in the world in a car that thousands will be willing to go well - No pressure!"

"I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to compete in the 2017 WEC and can't wait for it to kick off!," Nick Foster (right) explains. "I am very grateful to Gulf Racing and proud that they have chosen me to join their team. To compete in the WEC is a dream come true and in the famous Gulf Racing colours is an absolute honour."

The season prologue takes place at Monza this weekend, with the first race some two weeks later at Silverstone, which is very much Gulf Racing's Home Race" - being only a handful of miles from the team's base in Milton Keynes, about fifty miles north of London.

The 2016 WEC season was a case of "so near, so far" for the team, with a hat-full of fourth place finishes, but without the podium result their efforts so richly merited. Competition in the GTE Am category this season will come from Ferrari teams with the latest 488 GTE and the current champions Aston Martin Racing, who will be running one of last year's GTE Pro championship winning Vantages - so it will once again be intense, but the team is relishing the challenge of a second season in the WEC.



6 Hours of Silverstone, April 14th

6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - May 6th

24 Hours of Le Mans - June 17th-18th

6 Hours of Nurburgring - July 16th

6 Hours of Mexico - September 3rd

6 Hours of Austin - September 16th

6 Hours of Fuji - October 15th

6 Hours of Shanghai - November 5th

6 Hours of Bahrain - November 18th






Round One - 6 Hours of Silverstone, UK - April 13th-14th





The opening two races in the 2017 World Superbike Championship have been very positive for Gulf - both on and off track.

At the opening rounds at Australia's Phillip Island Circuit, our two superbike partners Milwaukee Aprilia and Althea BMW hosted around thirty guests from both New Zealand and Gulf's newest distributors in Australia itself.


In the races, three out of the four Gulf bikes went through to the final Superpole shootout and produced top ten finishes in both races. With SBK's new grid system for race 2 at each round, where the first three finishers move back to the third row, it meant that Eugene Laverty's Aprilia, starting from the second row, briefly even led the race for Gulf. In the end both Milwaukee Aprilia and Althea BMW took top ten finishes in race 1 with both Aprilias finishing inside the top ten in the second race.


Two weeks later, the Thai obsession with motorbikes was very much to the fore as 80,000 people crowded into the Chang Circuit. The weekend saw a Gulf ride-out to the circuit of about 100 BMW bikes with the teams again hosting dozens of VIP guests - from the Philippines, and India as well as locals - and taking part in specially organised events by Gulf Oil South East Asia.


With the high level of support, everyone was hoping for performances to match and the Gulf bikes delivered - all four bikes for the final Superpole shootout and then Eugene Laverty's Aprilia disputing fifth place, before coming off the bike leaving - Althea BMW's ebullient Spaniard, Jordi Torres the honour of becoming the first top five finisher on a Gulf bike in World Superbikes (see clip). Laverty, bravely remounted to claim a point-scoring finish while Markus Reiterberger also took a top ten finish.

The championship now moves to Europe for the next few rounds, giving the teams a chance to take stock and plan further development work as they gear up for the next round at Aragon this coming weekend.






Round Three - Aragon, Spain - April 1st-2nd

Round Four - Assen, Netherlands - April 29th-30th




Gulf's sporting partners Manchester United become the first English club to win silverware during the 2016/17 season as their trip to the legendary Wembley Stadium at the end of February, netted them the EFL (English Football League) Cup.

In an extremely close match, where opponents, fellow Premier League team, Southampton, came back from a two goal deficit, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who headed in to score the winner for United with only three minutes of play remaining.

The win guarantees European football for Manchester United again next season as there is a Europa League place given to the EFL Cup winners.

In the meanwhile, United have continued to make progress in this year's Europa League competition, defeating Russian side FC Rostov 2-1 on aggregate to earn a slot in the Quarter Final, where they will take on Belgian team, Anderlecht during April in their quest for a second trophy of the season.

Brushing aside a defeat in the FA Cup to league leaders Chelsea, United returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win away at Middlesbrough. The victory moves Manchester United above Arsenal and into the top five in the Premier League in their chase for a Champions League spot.

United now face no less than nine games in April - a mammoth task, therefore awaits them. However, the results from these games will be critical in maintaining their challenge for a top four Premier League place and progress in the Europa League.






RSC Anderlecht vs Manchester United - Constant Vanden Stock Stadium - April 13th

Manchester United vs RSC Anderlecht - Old Trafford - April 20th




Manchester United vs West Bromwich Albion - Old Trafford - April 1st

Manchester United vs Everton - Old Trafford - April 4th

Sunderland vs Manchester United - Stadium of Light - April 9th

Manchester United vs Chelsea - Old Trafford - April 16th

Burnley vs Manchester United - Turf Moor - April 23rd

Manchester City vs Manchester United - Etihad Stadium - April 27th

Manchester United vs Swansea City - Old Trafford - April 30th







Ian King has announced that he is to retire from professional Motorcycle Drag Racing at the end of this season and Gulf Oil International has again renewed its technical partnership with the rider of the world's most powerful motorcycle for what will be his swansong year of two-wheel competition.

The ten-time European Top Fuel Champion, European and World Land Speed Record holder does not plan to defend his european title in 2017 but instead is travelling to America to fulfill a long held ambition to take on the top contenders from the USA. He will join the current and fifteen-time USA National Champion and previous champions competing in the American Manufacturers Cup series, which will effectively amount to a Top Fuel World Cup.

King has raced in the USA before, in 2014 when he won the Spring Cup, with a 5.87 second quarter mile pass - which gained him entry to the prestigious Sub-Six Second Club - before returning to Europe to defend his European crown.

"I'm extremely excited about the upcoming season" enthuses Ian King, "and I'm hoping that as we are in the USA, Gulf distributors and licensees in places like Canada, South America and Mexico - where I know they are extremely keen on Drag Racing - will take the opportunity to come to some of the rounds, sample some hospitality and cheer us on!"

The five round series kicks off at the Valdosta track in Georgia on 7-9th April.

There will be opportunities to activate Ian King's 2017 programme with tickets, pit garage tours and hospitality at all of the rounds. Contact Elzanne Kroese at GOI for more details:



Spring Cup - Valdosta, Georgia, April 7th-9th

Memphis Internationals - Memphis, Tennessee - June 3rd-4th

MTC Nationals - Galot Motorsports Park, North Carolina - July 15th-16th

Rock - Rockingham Dragway, North Carolina - September 23rd-24th

World Finals - Valdosta, Georgia, November 17th-19th






Round One, Spring Cup - Valdosta, Georgia,USA - April 7th-9th





Gulf's cricket partner, Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), has made cricketing headlines over the course of the close season in its preparations for the upcoming 2017 Indian Premier League Cricket championship (IPL).

Now in its second season in IPL, RPS has added to an already strong squad with players won at the annual auction the league held in February.

The team signed England star Ben Stokes for a record fee and he joins T20 cricketing giants like Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane and, of course, Gulf's Brand Ambassador, MS Dhoni.

It is also worth noting that the official team name has changed slightly, this week, with "Supergiants" losing its final "s" to become Supergiant.

In its first year RPS finished in seventh position with five wins, however, the pundits are rating it as one of the teams set to make a real challenge for honours this year.

The 10th Indian Premier League commences on 6th April and RPS's first match will be at home to Mumbai Indians.






RPS vs Mumbai Indians - Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium - April 6th

Kings XI Punjab vs RPS - Holkar Stadium - April 8th

RPS vs Delhi Daredevils - Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium - April 11th

Gujarat Lions vs RPS - Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium - April 14th

Royal Challengers Bangalore vs RPS - M. Chinnaswamy Stadium - April 16th

RPS vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium - April 22nd

Mumbai Indians vs RPS - Wankhede Stadium - April 24th

RPS vs Kolkata Knight Riders - Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium - April 26th

RPS vs Royal Challengers Bangalore - Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium - April 29th






1967 marked Gulf's first appearance in World Championship Endurance Racing. Gulf's VP Marketing, at the time, Grady Davis, brought Gulf to Ford and they were to be racing partners for the next three years with the factory team, run by John Wyer's JW Automotive.

When Gulf made its debut - at Daytona in Feb 1967 - the Ford GT40 ran in Gulf's corporate dark blue with an orange stripe over the roof. The colour scheme was thought, however, not to be visually exciting enough. Gulf had just acquired the Wilshire Oil Company of California and it is their light blue and orange colours that Gulf adopted to become its racing livery.


The first light blue and orange Gulf cars made their appearance on April 25th 1967 at the Monza 1000kms race. Two Mirage M1 cars (- essentially coupe versions of the Ford GT40) entered the race and ran encouragingly. A mere week later, at the Spa 1000kms, Gulf's Racing Colours took their first world championship race win. One of the two original team cars - pictured here - is now part of the ROFGO Collection.

Since then, the Gulf Racing Colours have gone on to take numerous world championship race wins in endurance racing, three Le Mans 24 Hour victories, six world sportscar championship titles, dozens of national championships on two and four wheels, five European top fuel motorbike drag racing championships and a world land speed record for motorcycles.


The colours have starred on the big screen with Steve McQueen's 1971 movie, Le Mans and have been used on thousands of licensed products - everything from clothing through furniture to superyachts!


In almost every fan survey of racing liveries Gulf's Blue and Orange feature in the top three - usually at number one - and if you are fortunate enough to visit the Le Mans 24 Hours, you will find numerous road cars painted up in Gulf livery cruising the roads in and around the race circuit.


Blue and Orange became so well identified with the brand in the public's minds that, in 2004, Gulf was granted trademark protection rights for them - becoming the first oil company in history to be able to trademark its racing colours.

Gulf's Racing Colours have even been the subject of scientific study. The combination of the specific shades of blue and orange is technically referred to as "Equiluminant Colours" - a phenomenon where the colours seem to float at the point of intersection and often seem to move and vibrate when one looks at them hard. For that reason, on most of the Gulf race car liveries, a dark blue key line is often added where the colours intersect.

The original colour names for the Gulf Racing livery are 3707 Zenith Blue, and 3957 Tangerine - both of which were developed by Llewellyn Rylands for the Gulf GT40s as pigment dyes that were used in the fibreglass body panels on the cars.



with Ted Higgins of the ROFGO Collection

We caught up, at Goodwood this month, with Ted Higgins of the fabulous ROFGO Collection of Gulf cars, who was there to oversee the first public appearance of their latest acquisition - the beautiful Gulf Mirage M6 Coupe from 1973. Ted talks about his role, their new car and what makes Gulf and its racing colours so special.

Q Do you have an official job title?

A I don't... but I suppose the closest job description to what I do is "Curator". I'm not actually working on the cars themselves anymore, because we have so many cars in the collection and, for instance, now there's so much paperwork - and the list of things to do that goes with each car is so all-consuming in terms of time.

Q What exactly does your work involve?

A My work now mainly involves things like correlating the histories of the cars we've got, making sure that these are all OK; listing the things that need doing on each car - I'll do the FIA Historic paperwork on each car (that is necessary to authenticate them both historically and for racing purposes); sourcing tyres and checking the mechanical histories on each car. Then I work with the contractors making sure, for example, that the engines are rebuilt on time, and everything is ready for when they race. The days are pretty busy...

Q So do you still go out sourcing cars and related material for the collection?

A I do - because we get offered so many things. For instance, I've been offered two cars here this weekend (at Goodwood) - one I knew about, one I didn't know about. This car here, for instance - the Gulf Mirage M6 Coupe (pictured above) - we've known about it being up for sale for a while, and it's been in the process of being rebuilt for about three years. So I did my research, went to Detroit, saw it in the workshop, was able to tell Roald (Goethe, the owner of the ROFGO Collection) that this was a genuine car and, on my say so, within about twenty minutes of me leaving the workshop, we had put a deposit on the car - so the responsibility of doing the job is sometimes a bit scary!

I find that sort of work and doing the histories of the car absolutely fascinating. This car was built over the winter of 1972/3 in the form it is now, as a coupe, with the idea of doing Le Mans in 1973. - with the Mirage V12 engine. They thought it was going to be more powerful. It was quite a heavy car, and unfortunately the engine of the car proved not to be too reliable and it was a bit down on power. After about three tests John Horsman made the decision and I believe said to Walter Hayes and John Wyer "This isn't going to work, we need to put a Cosworth DFV engine in it." So they did that and put it into M6 spyder spec and that's how they went to Le Mans with it in 1973. Then all of this bodywork, and the engine, all got pushed off to one side.

Q So how many cars are there currently in the ROFGO collection?

A With this one there are 38 Gulf cars in the collection. We had two of one type and sold one, so it went down to 37 but now with this Mirage it's back up to 38.


Q And do you have a favourite or two among them?

A I think my favourite car would either be the Porsche 917, for what it is and what it represents - with all of the engineering work and other impressive stuff on it - or the McLaren M20. I'm a Can-Am racing fan and the M20 shows the way to deal with horsepower and how to win a race in the fastest possible way. It's a monstrous thing - I think it's fabulous.


Q So how did you come to be involved with ROFGO?

A I met Roald (Goethe) at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed. I was running a Porsche 917 for Manfredo Rossi and next door to it was Roald's 917 and he came up to me and said "Do you know about these cars because my mechanic hasn't arrived for the weekend and I need someone to fuel the car and look after it here, can you do that?" So I said yes - Roald had, I believe, just bought the car, at the time - so I got him organised for the couple of days when he drove it up the Goodwood hillclimb course and then, come October, he got hold of my number from Adrian Hamilton (who was sourcing cars for the collection) and he rang me and offered me a job.

Q And you've also worked with him on the racing side of things?

A Yes, I think four days after starting with Roald I was on my way to Dubai for the 24 Hour race there to help out with his Lamborghini team and while we were out there Roald and his partners said they were forming their own team. They thought that I knew people at Prodrive who ran Aston Martin Racing because I had worked at Prodrive on their Ferrari sportscar race programme and on another Aston Martin project they ran. So they asked if I could I go up and sort out what they were doing with Aston Martin. So I did and that's how I got back into modern motor racing... As well as trying to sort out the historic cars from what was a growing collection.

The years that followed - 2011, 2012 and 2013 - are a bit of a blur, I think I've lost those three years somewhere!!

Q Can you fill us in on why 2017 is a landmark year for ROFGO?

A Yes the ROFGO Collection has a new dedicated facility - which is 10,000 square feet - in build and we are moving into that and it's due to be finished fairly soon. We've got a lot of stuff to do on the Mirage here and on other cars we are getting back to track readiness and then we've also got some modern racing - only two or three races, but all of them endurance races with our Mercedes which is in Gulf colours. So trying to organise the new building, organise the racing, organise the cars - keeping air in all of the tyres! - and here we are almost in April and it seems like Christmas was only yesterday.

Currently I'm at my desk at half past seven and I try to leave by half past five at night - but inevitably I end up doing bits and pieces in the evening as well - because we are just so busy with all of the cars, especially because as well as the ROFGO Collection of Gulf racing cars, there is a growing collection of road cars, so that gets busy.

Q What do you do in your spare time?

A I come to events like this Goodwood Members meeting!
But seriously, at the weekends I try to steer clear of racing... but this year we will be doing a few events, like this - and I know it's a big year for Gulf so I've spent some of my spare time researching the history of Gulf for the 50th Anniversary of the Blue and Orange colours and looking at doing stuff for next year with it being the 50th anniversary of Gulf's first win at Le Mans.

Q So what is that you think makes Gulf's Blue and Orange so special?

A Well, when Gulf got involved in World Championship motor racing, I think it was an iconic time in motorsport and Grady Davis and the Gulf marketing team of the time, had the foresight to pick the best teams possible. They had the GT40s with their two Le Mans wins and after that the Porsche 917, which is a completely iconic car in the world of motoring and motorsport and on the back of that it just rolled on and on. Then there was the Le Mans win in 1975 with the Gulf GR8 and again the colours were to the fore. The colours just work. The Martini colours are popular, as is Ferrari's red, but Gulf blue and orange - you can spot them from miles away and when people do they are just drawn to them - and it's amazing, wherever you are in the world the Gulf brand is known because of them.

More information on the ROFGO Collection at:





Gulf Oil Italy launched in March and Manchester United legend, Nemanja Vidic was on hand to meet assembled distributors, resellers and media. He also took on all-comers in Gulf's Zig-Zag challenge.



Huge "I love United" weekend took place in Vietnam in March with thousands of people attending.

United's activities in Vietnam kicked off with "A Winning Team" evening, which also gave many Gulf guests the opportunity to get closely acquainted with the FA Cup that United won last season.



Always intensely dynamic in their marketing activities, this Gulf-sponsored Honda race car was seen out on the streets inspiring passion around the B2C Le Mans campaign.



Gulf Oil Indonesia hosted a very successful Winning Team evening in Jakarta with United Legends Denis Irwin and David May.

The evening also formed part of a wider "I Love United" event, where Gulf used the opportunity to sell directly to the more than 1000 people who attended.



Derfal Ltd, Gulf's official lubricant distributors for Ireland, have embarked on a Manchester United-based B2B promotion, which includes this striking pop up point of sale stand.



With this year's Hungarian Rally Championship due to start soon, the Gulf Overdose Racing Team held a press conference to show off their cars for this year - the successful Mitsubishi Evo IX and their new Hyundai i20 R5. They also presented Gulf's 2016 sponsor programme winners with their prizes.



This Gulf Sport may be themed blue and orange, Gulf Oil China however take the view that oil is the lifeblood of the engine and therefore their lubricants are now red.

As can be seen, Gulf Oil China's latest ad campaign ties this in beautifully with the Manchester United partnership.

Further information about any of these initiatives from:




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: and of Manchester United: for details of Europa League and English Football League Cup games.

World Superbike action can be followed on the official World Superbike Championship Website: (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 and full live commentary can be enjoyed through the excellent Radio Le Mans service: