The McLaren GT factory driver lineup of Rob Bell, Côme Ledogar, Alvaro Parente and Shane van Gisbergen will join forces with the drivers in the recently announced McLaren GT Driver Academy as part of customer team Garage 59’s campaign in the Blancpain Endurance Series and Blancpain Sprint Series.
Bell, Ledogar and van Gisbergen will contest the Blancpain Endurance Series alongside McLaren GT Academy Drivers Andrew Watson, Struan Moore and Alex Fontana. The six drivers will join the British-based team and share two McLaren 650S GT3s.
Alongside that, Garage 59 has also confirmed entry into the Blancpain Sprint Series with a single 650S GT3. Bell returns to the Series following a strong season in 2015, and the 36-year-old Brit will share driving responsibilities for the five-event European calendar with Parente. The driver pairing scored a podium on the competitive debut of the 650S GT3 at the Gulf 12 Hour in 2014.
To support the activities on track throughout the season, customer team Garage 59 has also confirmed the appointment of key staff from McLaren GT including sporting manager Bas Leinders. Acting as team manager throughout the season for the Blancpain GT Series, Leinders will work with the team on all Blancpain Endurance and Sprint Series races bringing strategic and key racing expertise to the pitwall.
Andrew Kirkaldy, managing director, McLaren GT: “The driver lineup in place with Garage 59 highlights the intentions the team has for the season. With a mixture of experience and exciting young talent in the roster of Factory and Academy Drivers, and key engineering and strategic support on the pitwall, the team is well-placed to be a true contender in the championship, building on the strong debut season for the 650S GT3 last year. Working closely with the team throughout the season ahead, and with valuable feedback available from the drivers in real-world race environments, it will also help us improve and develop the car further, benefitting all customer teams globally.”