McLaren will increase its involvement in the British GT Championship this season by extending its official Safety Car partnership to a third year while also placing factory and development drivers in the series.
The British manufacturer’s fifth, sixth and seventh entries were revealed at British GT’s Media Day this morning when Tolman Motorsport took the wraps off of three previously unannounced 570S GT4s.
Its two Silver Cup entries feature four McLaren Driver Development Programme members: two-time British GT4 race winner Charlie Fagg partners ex-Formula Ford racer Michael O’Brien, and 2016 GT4 championship contender Jordan Albert links up with GT Cup graduate Lewis Proctor.
The team is also fielding the familiar duo of David Pattison and Joe Osborne who finished second in last season’s Pro/Am standings with Tolman. The latter, whose speed and professionalism throughout the year were both recognised with British GT’s coveted Allan Simonsen Award, has also been confirmed as a new addition to McLaren’s full factory driver roster.
They’re the latest editions to a capacity entry list featuring no less than seven McLarens, one in GT3 and another six in GT4, and four customer teams. Amongst them are two more factory drivers, with Rob Bell spearheading Balfe Motorsport’s 650S entry and Ben Barnicoat teaming up with Adam Balon aboard Track-Club’s 570S.
Balfe’s PMW Expo Racing entry and another from GT4 European Series frontrunners Equipe Verschuur complete McLaren’s customer British GT contingent in a class featuring no less than eight manufacturers this year.
McLaren’s increased presence also extends to renewing its official British GT Championship Safety Car partnership, which sees its Sports Series models taking charge at all seven of this year’s events. The range currently comprises the 540C Coupe, 570S Coupe, 570GT and recently-launched 570S Spider, all of which could be seen leading British GT’s capacity entry to the start of each race this year.
Like its GT4 race cars, safety is at the heart of each Sports Series model thanks to the carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis, while even the ‘entry level’ 540C has no problem keeping the British GT pack in check thanks to its 3.5sec 0-62mph time and top speed of 199mph!
David Pattison: “Even though 2018 is my fourth season in British GT, this will be the first time I start the year with the same everything as the year before! Same car, same class, same team-mate. We had a very strong finish in 2017 and I am really excited to pick up where we left. I want to compete, not just in Pro/Am but in the overall standings as well.”
Joe Osborne: “2018 has all the ingredients for a delicious year. David was on the form of his life towards the end of last season. Tolman Motorsport provided us with the best car on the grid and McLaren has proved the 570S GT4 is the car to beat. It’s super to come back as a consistent package, so we can build on an already strong foundation. Three cars in the team will make the Teams’ Championship ours to win, that and the Pro/Am title should be our target for the year.”
Charlie Fagg: “Firstly, I am so proud and honoured to be selected for the McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme. It is a great opportunity and there is no reason why we can’t aim for the Championship title this year. I haven’t ever been this excited for a season, I think that’s a combination between an amazing car and an amazing team. We have all the key ingredients to make this a very successful year.”
Lewis Proctor: “I am delighted with this opportunity. Competing in British GT is a step up, but is a goal that has been on my radar for some time now. I just can’t wait to start racing!”
Michael O’Brien: “I am absolutely delighted to be racing in British GT this year, it looks to be a very competitive season, and we’re looking to come in with a bang. The McLaren 570S GT4 is a fantastic car, so we’ve got the perfect tools for a successful year.”
Jordan Albert: “I’ve never been this excited for anything in my life. I’m so happy to be joining Tolman Motorsport in British GT, in the highly rated McLaren 570S GT4. The team have proven to be a strong force, especially with the McLaren 570S GT4 last year, achieving pole positions and wins with David Pattison and Joe Osborne. Having the full support from McLaren on the new Driver Development Programme is also something I’m very proud of. I get to work with some of the best people in the business, guiding me in the right direction and teaching me what it takes to become a professional driver. Oulton Park is just around the corner. I can’t wait for those lights to go green!”
This year’s British GT Championship begins at Oulton Park on Easter Bank Holiday Weekend (April 31 & March 2). Reserve you tiickets now using the links below to benefit from reduced advance prices.