I've got nothing against the fabled Gulf Racing livery, but on a McLaren P1 it seems kinda dull, and in this case, not particularly well-executed (Gulf blue is pale, powder blue, not this cartoonish Cerulean hue). I feel like perhaps this car was spec'd by someone who knows nothing about McLaren, and just enough about racing to make horrible, tasteless decisions. It actually looks more like a tribute to the 2005 Ford GT Heritage scheme than to any actual Gulf-painted race car, which more often than not get the colors right. So as a huge nerd of the F1, here are 10 liveries that would have been more historically significant and visually stimulating on an MSO McLaren P1.
10. 1997 McLaren F1 GTR launch presentation livery. The P1 is often postured as the 'successor' to the F1, and truly, in looks and purpose, it is closer specifically to the 1997 longtail version. This 1997 presentation livery is unique and significant — so much so that a 1997 McLaren GTR was recently refinished back to this scheme. Hitch your wagon to that star, MSO.
BONUS PICTURE WITH G-MONEY:
9. This MP4-12C GT3 Union Jack livery. I googled to find the most interesting 12C GT3 liveries and this was basically the best one. I think it was used for a Goodwood display. What better way to flaunt the quintessential British hypercar and stick it to those Italian and German blowhards?
8. 1995 McLaren G1 GTR Ueno Clinic. McLaren's greatest success in sportscar racing and one of the most unlikely and interesting stories in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Would it be perfect? Ueno it. (...sorry)
7. McLaren F1 GTR 05R art car livery: This car raced in Le Mans with this art car livery created by a French sculptor. Here's an idea: commission a new art car.
6. McLaren F1 LM Black. Ok so admittedly this one isn't cool but it's a super weird piece of McLaren history. Everyone knows that there were five McLaren F1 LMs built (plus a prototype) and everyone knows they were all painted Papaya. Except for the two that were painted black. They went to the Sultan of Brunei (naturally) and were never seen until some images and a sketch surfaced a few years ago. Imagine requesting a P1 painted like this and waving a big enough check that it forced McLaren to reopen this bizarre chapter in their history!
5. McLaren F1 GTR Davidoff/Gulf livery. If you do Gulf on a McLaren, at least do it like this.
4. McLaren MP4/4 Marlboro. Here's an idea, if you're painting a car to look like a successful racing car, why not choose a livery from one of that company's greatest racing successes? This is unquestionably recognizable and unquestionably McLaren. It would be loud, powerful and simple.
3. 1996 McLaren F1 GTR Presentation Livery. This well-known example owned by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason was repainted it's Blood Red presentation livery, and looks great. keeping the spirt of this theme, but changing the color and lettering would be an interesting take on a heritage-focused P1.
2. McLaren M8D Can-Am. Of course, the Papaya is not limited to just this car, but I think this scheme, with the number plate, hints of blue, 'McLaren Cars' lettering and kiwi would be a cool twist on a P1 and set it apart from a 'regular' orange P1.
1. McLaren F1 GTR West Adrenaline Programme. This is my favorite McLaren F1 GTR livery of all time. For a brief time in the late 90s, McLaren and West did a promotion where they gave rides to the well-heeled elite in a two-seat Formula 1 car and this Formula 1-liveried McLaren F1 GTR. It would look sensational on a P1.
A few years ago, one of the three roadgoing F1 longtails was resprayed in a paint job evocative of this car:
I'm all for letting an owner/customizer do what they want with their money, but man, what a missed opportunity. The P1 deserves better than a cartoonish and lazy bright blue and orange paint job.