The McLaren 720S GT3 will race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class next year, Compass Racing confirming its participation for the Sprint Cup rounds.
Compass Racing’s announcement means the Canadian outfit has become the first confirmed customer for the new 720S GT3, which completed a demo run in Bahrain last weekend at the GT Festival and will make its race debut with the McLaren Motorsport factory in the Gulf 12 Hours later this month. They will also be the first ever McLaren customer to race in IMSA’s GTD class.
For the programme, McLaren factory driver Paul Holton and Matt Plumb will compete in the team’s 720S GT3 at seven of the IMSA races. The duo have plenty of experience racing with the team, and each other in CTSC. Holton is the winningest driver in CTSC (now Michelin Pilot Challenge) GS class history, and Holton, who was named a McLaren factory driver last year, has raced with Compass since 2015.
“We’re really excited to extend our partnership with McLaren by launching the new 720S GT3 in North America,” enthused Compass Racing’s managing director Jill Beck.
“Paul has been one of the test drivers on the car through its development over the past year, and we all have high hopes for the first race car developed entirely in-house by McLaren Automotive.
“We’ve enjoyed working closely with McLaren in developing the GT4 car over the past two years (racing in CTSC and PWC), and look forward to continuing that strong relationship over the next few seasons, in both GT3 and GT4.
“The new Sprint Cup is something we’d hoped IMSA would implement, as it provides a perfect ladder for our McLaren programme, with steps from GS to Sprint to a full WeatherTech effort.”
Dan Walmsley, Director of Motorsport at McLaren Automotive, added: “The 720S GT3 is the first race car designed and built in-house by McLaren Automotive, and the development team has worked tirelessly to deliver the gruelling test programme we devised for the car. This is an important product for McLaren Automotive, and therefore we have committed to ensuring that we deliver a product worthy of carrying the iconic brand.
“Compass Racing has been an invaluable partner to us over the past two years and we look forward to continuing that in 2019.”
Beyond the WeatherTech GT3 programme, the team is expected to announced a Michelin Pilot Challenge GS entry in the coming days.
The new IMSA Sprint Championship begins at Mid-Ohio in May, with 2-hour-and-forty-five-minute races on offer at legendary tracks including Belle Isle (Detroit), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Lime Rock Park, Road America, Virginia International Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. CTMP and Laguna Seca.