Silverstone throws open its gates this weekend as the world's leading sports car racing manufacturers, teams and drivers assemble for the first round of both the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and also the European Le Mans Series (ELMS)..
As one might expect, if it has "Endurance", or "Le Mans" (the embodiment of Endurance, to most motoring aficionados) in the name, you usually don't have to look very far to find a Gulf presence and this is very much the case at Silverstone - as indeed it will be throughout the 2014 season.
Endurance has long been one of Gulf's core values and it is embodied in everything Gulf stands for, whether that be in product terms, in motorsport terms, or in Gulf's attitude to its business.
For 2014, Endurance will very much be to the forefront, as Gulf continues to increase its range of long drain interval motor oils and this ethos applies on the race track as well.
2014 is the now the eighth year of Gulf's motorsport partnership with Aston Martin's factory race team, Aston Martin Racing and this makes it Gulf's longest continuous support of one car brand. This enduring partnership is set to run at least until the end of 2015 and already it must rank as an outstanding chapter in Gulf's long and successful history in motorsport.
Gulf's technical partnership with Aston Martin Racing is a key aspect of its longstanding relationship with the team. The Vantage GTE endurance racers competing in the WEC rely on Gulf Engine Oil, Transmission Fluid and Brake Fluid - all products officially endorsed by Aston Martin Racing.
Aston Martin Racing's Head of Engines, Jason Hill explains why having the right lubricant is so important – particularly when it comes to Endurance Racing. "For us, durability is absolutely key – it’s the bedrock of Endurance Racing – it simply has to last. However, making it last is one thing, but making it last without losing any performance is something else – and that’s one of the key areas where the lubricant comes in. It can help minimise the wear of components and optimise our level of performance for not just a six hour race, but for the whole of a Le Mans 24 Hours."
"Gulf's partnership with Aston Martin Racing has many different aspects to it and this is why it continues to be such a key activity for the Gulf brand," comments Gulf Oil International Brand and Marketing Manager, Sam Cork. "The WEC offers us a truly global platform on which to promote and market the brand, its businesses and its products. The combination of Gulf and Aston Martin – two brands with a sustained history both in motorsport and in the wider world - offers a whole that is certainly greater than the sum of its parts and the technical partnership is a vitally important apect of this. It allows Gulf products to be developed and tested in the heat of Endurance Racing, so they can run longer without compromising on performance. So, even though Endurance is etched into Gulf's history, it is very much something for both today and for the future."
There will be no less than four Gulf lubricated works Aston Martin Vantage GTEs competing in this year's World Endurance Championship – two in the LM GTE Pro category and two in LM GTE Am.
In GTE Pro, the 97 car will be crewed by one of the driver pairings of longest standing in Endurance Racing: Darren Turner (GB) and Stefan Mücke (D), while its sister 99 Vantage GTE will be driven by Alex Macdowell (GB) Darryl O' Young (CN) and Fernando Rees (BR).
In GTE Am, the all-Danish crewed 95 car has returnees Nicki Thiim and Kristian Poulsen joined by experienced sports car driver David Heinemeier-Hansson, while one of last year's 95 drivers, Christoffer Nygaard, moves across to the 98 car where he joins Paul Dalla Lana (CA) and ex-F1 driver Pedro Lamy (PT).
The Six Hours of Silverstone commences at 12.00 local UK time on Sunday April 20th, with qualifying at 13.00 the previous day.
The race will be televised live on the WEC official website.
This weekend also sees the first round of the European Le Mans Series, which will also take place Silverstone on Saturday afternoon (from 14.30-18.30 local UK time). It will feature two Gulf Racing entered GT cars – an Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE and a Porsche 911 LMGTE.
The 85 Aston Martin will be driven by team co-owner, Roald Goethe, who is joined by 2013 GTE Am World Champion driver, Stuart Hall and Daniel Brown. The 86 Porsche has an all British driver line up: Gulf Racing co–owner, Mike Wainwright, Adam Carroll and Ben Barker.
The ELMS race can be followed here.
2014 also marks the tenth anniversary of the debut of Aston Martin Racing as the Marque's works team. "I'm sure everyone at Gulf would like to congratulate our motorsport partner, Aston Martin Racing on its tenth anniversary" continues Sam Cork, "and, of course, we wish all Gulf drivers and team members a safe and successful 2014 endurance racing season."
Aston Martin Racing uses and endorses Gulf lubricants