Backed by the Porsche factory, in 1970 J.W. Automotive Engineering Ltd. set about to race the Porsche 917K. Powered by a 600-horsepower, 300 cubic Inch V12 engine, and the aluminum space frame/fiberglass bodied car astonished all who watched it race. Keenly cognizant of all this, Steve McQueen, then the biggest movie star in the world, took it upon himself to create a film that would feature both the Powder Blue and Marigold Porsche 917K and the world’s biggest race: the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans. A 106-minute film named Le Mans, stared McQueen as Gulf-Porsche 917K driver Michael Delany. The film, Le Mans, took the Powder Blue and Marigold paint scheme and blew it up to help make it the most iconic and recognizable color scheme in motor racing history.
“I was in Le Mans with my dad for four of the months of filming over there,” offered Chad McQueen, who was 10 years-old at the time. “Those colors on the Gulf 917 were so iconic. I mean they’re a big part of my life. Seeing those 917s in the flesh was, and still is, extraordinary.”