The Gulf livery is legendary in motorsports. Three of the four Ford GT40s that won Le Mans from 1966 to 1969 wore the orange and blue colors; Steve McQueen's Porsche from the 1971 movie Le Mans is a Gulf special. The colors are inextricably woven into the history of racing.
But there's something perplexing about seeing it on an all-electric Formula E racer.
Yes, for the rest of the 2016 season. The livery seen here will first appear on the grid at this weekend's race in Mexico City.
"The move reflects the changing focus of the automotive industry, with manufacturers increasingly focusing on the development of electric and hybrid vehicles," said Frank Rutten, vice president of Gulf International, . "These new vehicles will require new lubricant solutions to ensure they run at optimum efficiency and to support the evolving technologies that will provide increased range, faster charging and greater durability. The Gulf brand's involvement in Formula E will put us at the forefront of these developments."
Sure. Sponsorship money is sponsorship money, and no team is going to turn down a chance to run a truly legendary livery. And of course, in a world where you might find your race car sponsored by , , or , having an oil company's name on your battery-powered race car isn't so bad. Also, the car looks handsome in the blue and orange, as most cars do.
It's just more than a bit ironic. And the irony will only increase if Gulf ends up sponsoring one of Formula E's proposed self-driving race cars. That would really be something.