The world of motor racing was once dominated by alcohol and cigarette sponsors piling vast amounts of money into our great sport. But one of the all-time most memorable sponsors and liveries continued its journey through the 60’s and beyond with the likes of Ford, Porsche, Mclaren and Mirage. Executive Vice President of Gulf Oils at the time, Grady Davis was a huge motorsport fan and had ordered a dark blue Ford GT40 chassis P/1049. In 67’ & 68’ Gulf Oils sponsored the car and added an orange stripe and its branding, a replica of which you can see here owned by David, a long-term marshal at Castle Combe Circuit.
The Ford was co-driven by Dick Thompson and Jacky Ickx for the Daytona 24hr in 67’ where they finished 6th overall and won the over 2 litre class. It wasn’t until 1968 that the more recognisable light blue with orange was used that we find so iconic today. Gulf liveries have graced some of the most legendary race cars on the planet including the Porsche 917 and McLaren F1.
This particular 2020 Heritage Edition GT sports the number 6 from the famous 69’ Le Mans race where Jacky Ickx took the win by passing a Porsche on the very last lap, Arguably the most famous endurance race in history. This car is just 1 of 50 produced by Ford to commemorate that period.
We jump in the cars for a few out laps on our trackday lunch break, I have had the honour of riding in the GT40 before so Chris hops in the passenger seat. Instead, I carefully manoeuvre into the passenger side of the GT before the owner at 6ft 4 and a half, slides himself in and starts the twin turbo V6, just like the original, it is tight inside and we have to take it in turns to do up seat belts. These cars are said to produce 660bhp with a 0-60 of 3.2 seconds and pushing on to 216mph.