Gulf Oil partners with McLaren in much-needed deal
McLaren and Gulf Oil International Ltd (yes, that Gulf with the orange-and-blue race-car liveries) have announced a multi-year strategic partnership which will see the iconic oil brand partner with the race team McLaren Racing and struggling supercar-maker McLaren Automotive.
The partnership reunites two renowned brands that have some history together. Gulf’s link with McLaren started in 1968 and continued until the end of the 1973 season, with Gulf and McLaren enjoying success in both Formula 1 and the Can-Am racing series, in which the partnership won over 40 races. The partnership was then renewed at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the 1990s, with the famous McLaren F1 GTR running in Gulf colours throughout the decade.
From 2021, Gulf will become the preferred lubricant supplier to McLaren Automotive, with all cars to be filled with Gulf Oil and fuel optimised for high performance engines.
Gulf branding will also be displayed at Instagrammer-obsessed McLaren Automotive’s customer events, at retailers and on team kit.
In addition, a “small and exclusive” number of customers will be given the option to have their McLaren supercar hand-painted by McLaren Special Operations, the firm’s bespoke division, in Gulf liveries and colours which echo the famous F1 GTR Le Mans car that raced in the 1990s.
To launch the partnership, the Gulf brand will be integrated into the McLaren Formula 1 team from the 2020 British Grand Prix this weekend. The logo will be represented by McLaren F1 personnel throughout the 2020 F1 season, including via race drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz and the McLaren pit crew. Gulf branding will also appear on the engine covers and wing mirrors of the McLaren MCL35 race cars.
The new deal is expected to provide an injection of much-needed capital into McLaren, which is struggling both on the F1 front as well as in its road-car business that, after years of recent mismanagement, has all but disappeared from the collective enthusiast conscious since the explosive debut of the then-revolutionary McLaren MP4-12C nearly a decade ago.
It was reported at the end of June that McLaren was preparing to take its creditors to court to enable it to sell off its classic car collection just to gather new funds. But it has now reportedly sealed a US$ 200 million loan arrangement with the National Bank of Bahrain to secure its short-term future. McLaren is majority-owned by the Bahrain sovereign wealth fund, which has a 44% stake in the National Bank of Bahrain.
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