Gulf, Goodwood and Lewis Hamilton!
Gulf Retail CEO, Jonathan Turner, considered himself to be one of the luckiest men alive during last weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed. Not only did the organisers of Britain's largest motorsport event honour Gulf's racing heritage with one of the largest collections of powder blue and orange sportscars ever assembled, Turner also lined-up on the starting grid just behind British Grand Prix winner, Lewis Hamilton.
It is the 40th anniversary of Gulf's first outright victory at Le Mans and in celebration of its endurance racing exploits with some of the world's great marques, the Festival brought together a GT40, Porsche 908 and 917, Ford Mirage, McLaren F1 GTR and the 2008 Le Mans winning Aston Martin DBR9. Not surprisingly, the Gulf racing display proved to be one of the most popular draws of the weekend.
"The commentators at Goodwood acknowledged that there is no other livery that generates such passion and instant recognition," explains Turner. "It was a very proud moment for me. It seems that these wonderful cars in Gulf colours transcend all generations. From five year olds to granddads, the interest and excitement is just as fresh."
Turner, a vintage and veteran car enthusiast and collector, had also been invited to drive one of his cars, a Star, built in Wolverhampton in 1905 to compete in the Gordon Bennett Trials on the Isle of Man. It was the oldest car racing at Goodwood and when he arrived on the starting grid for the first of five runs, he found himself lining up with Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren Mercedes.
"I was parked on the grid five rows back when I realised that Lewis Hamilton was at the front," continues Turner. "It was a surreal moment and one that I will always treasure. I jumped out of the car and, with several other competitors, went over and chatted with him. He was very personable and very relaxed. He didn't seem too worried about my wicked acceleration and cornering!"
The McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 driven by Lewis Hamilton completed the 1.16 mile hillside track at speeds of upto 150mph. Jonathan Turner, driving the 1905 Star Gordon Bennett, topped 38mph.