Gulf-liveried McLaren Elva unveiled

McLaren Special Operations has created a unique Elva special edition, just in time for Goodwood SpeedWeek. It’s painted in a stylised version of the iconic Gulf Oil livery worn by the #24 F1 GTR, which played an instrumental role in McLaren’s 1-3-4-5 victory at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans race.

However, the livery has been standard dress for McLaren’s fastest race cars for more than half a century. Back in the 1960s, when both brands were making their first tentative steps into the world of motorsport, Gulf Oil provided the branding for the formidable McLaren M8A Can-Am racer, which dominated the series between 1968 and 1971.

Gulf Oil also sponsored McLaren’s initial ventures into Formula One and Indycar, with both racers wearing the same livery between 1968 and 1973. In a pleasing bout of symmetry, McLaren also recently confirmed that its current Formula One racers will once again be filled with Gulf Oil, with the two brands renewing their partnership in time for the 2021 season.

As part of the agreement, McLaren buyers will have the option to commission their cars with the Gulf livery, through the firm’s in-house customisation arm, McLaren Special Operations. We’ve already seen this plan in action – the company recently showed us its bespoke line of Senna GTRs, one of which wore the F1 GTR’s Gulf colours.

Deliveries of the $2.56 million McLaren Elva are set to commence later this year, in a limited production run of just 149 examples – and MSO has already pieced together unique specifications for the first few cars.

The engine will act as the constant variable across the Elva’s production run. It’s a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 which is closely related to the engine used by the Senna. However, it has an extra 11kW, which boosts performance to 600kW and 800Nm of torque – which is enough, McLaren says, for a 0–100km/htime of less than three seconds.

Luke Wilkinson

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