2015 is a massively significant year for Gulf in terms of motorsport. Now in the eighth season of its partnership with Aston Martin Racing, Gulf is looking for its third successive world title and a third Le Mans category win, while this season also has Gulf celebrating the 40th anniversary of being the only oil company (or primary sponsor) ever to have its name on a Le Mans Winner – the Gulf-Ford GR8.
Forty-eight years ago, in 1967, the Gulf love affair with top-flight endurance motor racing kicked off, as a blue and orange Gulf-sponsored Ford GT40 was entered for the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours.
The car, which was Gulf Vice President, Grady Davis’ personal road car, was prepared by the team that was to carry Gulf’s hopes forward for almost a decade – JW Automotive – and had as one of its drivers, an up-and-coming pilot by the name of Jacky Ickx.
The combination of Ford, Ickx and John Wyer and his team, was ultimately destined to bring Gulf no less than three Le Mans outright victories and World Championship glory, but it all began with a fine class win and sixth place overall at that 1967 Daytona 24 Hours. Not a bad international endurance debut for Gulf.
Gulf's 2015 endurance racing season will kick off, with a Gulf lubricated and sponsored car once more chasing a class win at Daytona as motorsport partners, Aston Martin Racing return to the American circuit with a single works entry for this year’s Rolex 24 hour race at the famous American circuit.
The car, which is entered in the LM GT cateogry by Aston Martin is being driven by regulars Darren Turner, Pedro Lamy, Stefan Mücke and Paul Dalla Lana, joined by newcomer Matthias Lauda, whose father Niki was crowned F1 World Champion in the same year that the Gulf GR8 took victory at Le Mans: 1975.
Unlike Le Mans, the Daytona 24 Hours does not form part of the WEC – which starts at Silverstone in the UK in mid April – but the race is still one of the 'Blue Riband' events in the world endurance calendar.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona will act as an excellent benchmark for the 2015 season, as all of the main competitors that Aston Martin will encounter during this year’s WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours are entered for the race – cars from Porsche, Ferrari and Chevrolet and BMW.
The #98 Gulf lubricated Aston Martin showed itself to be on the pace with the Daytona regulars in testing and yesterday took third place in Official Qualifying, with Pedro Lamy at the wheel.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona starts at 14.10hrs local time on Saturday 24 January.
Aston Martin Racing uses and endorses Gulf lubricants