At a first ever McLaren Automotive press launch at the McLaren Technical Centre at Woking, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt revealed a range of projects for the newly enhanced Motorsports division, responsible for all current non F1 racing activities, in particular featuring McLaren Automotive’s current road car range.
New 720S GT3
McLaren are in the throes of establishing a new motosports factory on another site in Woking to provide a base for future programmes, with a new for 2019 GT3 car, the 720S GT3, the first product revealed.
That car will test in 2018, with a short factory-supported race programme planned for late 2018 ahead of customer sales availability the following year.
The car will be powered by a race prepped version of McLaren’s 4 litre twin turbo V8 M840 T powerplant with a six speed sequential transmission.
Motorsport Retail Network
A key part of the new motorsport programmes will be a newly established network of McLaren Motorsport Retailers.
10 dealers have been confirmed initially: Glasgow (UK), Zurich (Switzerland), Dallas (USA, Scottsdale (USA), Newport Beach (USA), Philadelphia (USA), San Francisco (USA), Toronto (Canada)Melbourne 9Australia) and Auckland (New Zealand). Plans are afoot over the next 2-3 years to expand the network to cover all regions and markets where McLaren are active.
DSC understands that a key part of the contract for each dealership to be accorded Motorsport Retailer status is that they must have a 570S GT4 demonstrator available, thus increasing the chances that some of those car might find their way into competition as part of each dealer’s marketing efforts.
Pure McLaren GT Series
After a low key test event at Paul Ricard last year McLaren is to establish a full one-make race series for its Pure McLaren trackday customers featuring the McLaren 570S GT4.
The Pure McLaren events are high quality trackday events held at high profile venues where McLaren road and track car owners can drive their own cars and/ or be coached by professional racers.
McLaren hope for 15-20 takers for the planned six round series, all to be held at F1 track with all cars operated on an ‘arrive and drive’ basis
Rob Bell Retained
Rob Bell has been retained as McLaren Automotive’s Factory Driver, Bell staying with the marque for a sixth year.
His primary role in 2018 will be to both assist the Driver Development Programme and to work on new products, including the 720S GT3.
Bell’s roll of honour for McLaren includes the 2016 Blancpain GT Endurance Cup, the 2015/16 Asian Le Mans Series and this season’s International GT Open title (Above right with Sean Balfe).
McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme
A quartet of young drivers have been announced as joining the new 2018 McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme:
Jordan Albert: 21 year old multiple BRDC F45 race winner, scored a win and a podium in his first season in GT4 in 2016 in the British GT Championship
Charlie Fagg: – 18 year old Ex Ginetta Junior racer who made his British GT Championship debut in 2017 competing in GT4 with a pair of dominant class wins and with outings too in GT3 (in a JRM Nissan GT3). He also raced in the GT4 European Series Northern Cup, again with multiple race wins.
Michael O’Brien: 22 year old Formula Ford racer, multiple wins in contemporary and historic cars. Multiple race winner in the Ssangyong Racing Challenge in 2017
Lewis Proctor: 21 year old GT Cup racer campaigning a 570S GT4 through the 2017 season alongside his broither.
All four young drivers are set to be part of a two car full season effort in the British GT Championship with the 570S GT4, the cars to be entered via a yet to be announced team.
More details later.