The story begins with Harry Miller's Indy 500 challenger which, in 1937 was a hugely innovative mid-engined single-seater that boasted nothing less than four-wheel drive and disc brakes!
In 1966 Gulf Oil vice-president Grady Davis bought himself a Ford GT40 and formed a lasting friendship with John Wyer, the race car constructor based in Slough. This meeting would turn into a full-scale racing partnership that lasted nine eventful years. It was perhaps, the most successful commercial partnership there has ever been in endurance racing, the Gulf Ford GT40s winning the 24-Hours of Le Mans in 1968 & 1969, followed by two more successful seasons, now representing the Porsche factory. This was truly the golden era of sports car racing.
Pedro Rodriguez and Jo Siffert established new speed records everywhere they raced the Gulf Porsche 917s, and their exploits at Le Mans, Spa, the Nurburgring and Daytona are now legendary. Steve McQueen's film 'Le MANS' gave the Gulf Porsche 917 an iconic status, and a chapter in BLUE & ORANGE features photographs and stories of McQueen, never seen before.
Gulf went on to win the 24-Hours of Le Mans again in 1975, sponsoring the Mirage Ford driven by Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell, and returned to Le Mans with Derek in 1994 when he drove a Kremer Porsche K8 to fifth place.
In the late 60's and early 70's Gulf had a hugely successful partnership with Bruce McLaren in the fields of Can-Am, Indy cars and Formula One. This liaison produced numerous victories and championships before in 1995 Gulf Oil returned to a racing partnership with McLaren, and the privately owned team of Ray Bellm and l'Oreal chief executive Lindsay Owen-Jones. The team ran in the BPR Global Endurance Championship and were once again successful, with Bellm winning the championship in 1996.
In their centenary year, Gulf Oil sponsored an Audi R8 in which Stefan Johansson won the Le Mans Endurance Series. The story of this campaign is the final chapter in a beautifully illustrated book BLUE & ORANGE.