The iconic Gulf livery colours originated with the Gulf Oil Corporation in 1967, when its Vice President, Grady Davis, entered his own GT40 as an independent at both Daytona and Sebring. Originally the car was finished in the standard Gulf Oil colours of dark blue with orange trim, during this year Ford USA withdrew from sports car racing and in turn Gulf Oil corp. took over the sponsorship of the newly created GT40 team – John Wyer Automotive Engineering.
The first official Gulf cars were known as Mirages, these cars had a new body and roofline and the new, now world famous distinctive colour scheme of Gulf powder blue and marigold orange. The signature colour scheme associated with the teams GT40’s and Porsche 917’s is one on the most famous liveries to this day. Much of its popularity has come from the 1971 film Le Mans where Steve McQueen’s character drives for the Gulf team.
Since 2012 Aston Martin GT racing cars have worn the blue and orange of Gulf, other notable cars that have run in the blue and orange include the Lamborghini Gallardo GT and the 1996 Mclaren F1 GTR which ran the original darker blue and orange paint scheme – a paint scheme which was designed by the now famous livery designer Andy Blackmore as one of his first schemes.
The question that a lot of people who are asking is will we see the return of the Gulf livery to the new Ford GT40?? from what I have been lead to believe there is a distinct possibility of this happening. 2016 will see a “Total” change in appearance for the AMR GT cars with a potential new sponsor in talks this could see the iconic blue and orange retuning to Ford on the new Ford LMGTE car. Talks have been taking place between a different fuel supplier and the AMR team following this year’s Le Mans, in what would seem to be preparation for the launch of a Gulf liveried Ford GT.
So far we have only seen the new GT40 in carbon fibre and the Ford corporate colours, although not confirmed by either manufacture it would only follow that with Ford’s return they would be looking to run in Gulf colours.
As for Total’s involvement in motorsport they have been associated with the now defunct Peugeot 908 LMP1 project which spectacularly withdrew from racing at the start of 2012, just before the 12hrs of Sebring when all their equipment and hospitality was already in the paddock. Currently sponsors for the Citroen WRC team, Total seem to be more partner sponsors than full team sponsors so a livery per say is a little hard to come by.
As you can see the current WRC car has red, white and gold on it – a variation of Total’s corporate colours whereas the 908 was mainly seen in blue and white, but also seen in black and white with red.
Total have an involvement in motorsport right across the board from World Superbikes to the Dakar Rally so it would be interesting to see what a full team sponsored car would look like – or would it be carrying Totals Elf brand as seen on the 1976 6 wheeled Tyrell?
One thing is for sure, with another manufacture coming into the field GT racing in 2016 the racing will be as exciting as where it was left in 2015. and with the great battle of Ferrari vs. Ford returning to Le Mans this will be a year not to miss!
The FIA WEC series starts on the 17th April at Silverstone in the UK and the Ford GT debut will be at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on the 28th January.