Show of hands: Who wants to see McLaren race in Formula One in Gulf Oil's classic light blue and orange colors?
If you raised your hand (at least virtually), you're not alone.
McLaren has just announced that Gulf Oil has just joined the team as their new sponsor, and boy, is everyone excited. Fans of motorsport would know that Gulf Oil is one of the most recognizable brands in auto racing, sponsoring famed racing teams back heydays of sportscar and endurance racing. Yes, the Gulf racing color combination and livery are iconic in racing, much in the same way that Martini's and Marlboro's colors were.
Today's partnership with McLaren means a return to Formula One for Gulf after a long absence but it isn't as significant yet as to warrant a livery change for the resurgent F1 team from the UK. Actually, the partnership spans not just F1 (McLaren Racing) but extends to McLaren Automotive as well; the road car arm of McLaren. So yes, it will be an on-road partnership, as much as it is a racing one.
McLaren and Gulf actually first teamed up 52 years ago in 1968 until 1973, as the two raced together in Formula One and in the Can-Am series. Together, McLaren and Gulf won 40 races. In the 1990s, McLaren F1 GTR race cars (based on the McLaren F1 supercar) wore the Gulf livery at Le Mans.
The new partnership means Gulf will be the lube supplier for McLaren Automotive, meaning all McLaren sports cars will be filled with Gulf lubricants. Gulf branding will be seen at McLaren customer events, and some selected customers can opt to have their cars refinished (and hand-painted) in Gulf Oil livery.
In terms of racing, the Gulf logo will likely be seen on the racewear and apparel of the F1 team. Gulf branding will appear on the engine covers and wing mirrors of the current McLaren Formula One race cars.
Unfortunately, we might not see the full livery applied to a McLaren Formula One car... yet. But hey, we can hope for it, right?