McLAREN HEADS DOWN UNDER TO DEFEND BATHURST CROWN AS BEN BARNICOAT JOINS GT DRIVER ACADEMY
24 Jan 2017
The McLaren 650S GT3 will return to Mount Panorama circuit in Australia next month with four customer team-run entries confirmed for the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour. The race will also mark the competitive debut outing of Ben Barnicoat who joins the McLaren GT Driver Academy for 2017.
20-year-old Ben Barnicoat joins the McLaren GT Driver Academy after impressing in single-seater racing over the past few seasons. Barnicoat is supported by the prestigious Racing Steps Foundation – a private non-profit organisation focused on developing the UK’s greatest young talent in motorsport – and was a part of the McLaren Formula 1 Young Driver Programme from 2010. The Chesterfield-born driver’s CV also includes a Formula Renault 2.0 North European Championship in 2014 and two race wins in his debut season in the 2016 FIA European Formula 3 Championship.
Barnicoat will join reigning Bathurst champions Tekno Autosports alongside a strong Factory Driver line-up in the pair of class A PRO 650S GT3s. 2016 Bathurst champion and Pirelli World Challenge champion Alvaro Parente will share driving duties with Blancpain Endurance Cup champions Rob Bell and Côme Ledogar in the #1 car, while Barnicoat is partnered in the #59 McLaren with Bathurst 1000 champion Will Davison and the highly experienced sportscar racer Jonny Kane who also makes his Bathurst debut.
Customer teams Objective Racing and Keltic Racing are also set to compete in the race. Objective Racing has entered its 650S GT3 into Class A PRO-AM with Australian GT regulars Tony Walls and Warren Luff sharing the #11 with experienced Supercars drivers Tim Slade and Alex Davison. Australian GT drivers Klark and Anthony Quinn meanwhile are confirmed for Keltic Racing’s class A AM entry.
The 6.2km Mount Panorama circuit in Australia’s New South Wales region is the host of the 12 Hour and is one of the toughest in the world. With tight, enclosed sections for the drivers to battle through as they ascend and descend the world-famous mountain, and lengthy straights testing their car’s raw performance, it presents a unique challenge in sportscars.
In 2016, the #59 Tekno Autosports 650S GT3 secured pole position with a new lap record and went on to take victory in one of the closest and most-thrilling once-round-the-clock contests across ‘The Mountain’. With a blend of bold strategy calls and faultless driving from Parente and teammates Jonathon Webb and Shane van Gisbergen, the 650S GT3 secured the first title in what turned out to be the most successful season in GT racing to-date for McLaren.
Relive the record-breaking pole position lap on board the #59 650S GT3 at: https://youtu.be/k3nlWPMQTbg.
The 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour starts at 05:45 (UTC +10), Sunday 5 February.
Notes to Editors:
A selection of high resolution images accompanying this release is available to download from the McLaren Automotive media site – cars.mclaren.press.
About McLaren Automotive:
McLaren Automotive is a British manufacturer of luxury, high-performance sports and super cars, located at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, Surrey. For the past 30 years, McLaren has pioneered the use of carbon fibre in vehicle production and since introducing a carbon chassis into racing and road cars with the 1981 McLaren MP4/1 and 1993 McLaren F1 respectively, McLaren has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis.
Following the global launch of McLaren Automotive in 2010, the groundbreaking 12C was revealed in 2011, the 12C Spider in 2012, and the limited-run McLaren P1™ went into production in 2013. In keeping with its plan to introduce a new model each year, the company unveiled the 650S, in Coupé and Spider form in 2014, while 2015 proved to be a year of unprecedented growth of the product portfolio with five new models launched across the full range. The strictly limited edition 675LT Coupé premiered at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the track-only McLaren P1™ GTR which, with 1,000PS, became the most powerful model ever produced by the brand. The much-anticipated Sports Series became the third – and final – model tier in the McLaren range with the 570S Coupé and 540C Coupé debuting in New York and Shanghai respectively, less than one month apart. The end of 2015 saw the launch of the fifth model, the 675LT Spider, which was as a direct response to customer demand. The year also saw the end of production for the first model in the Ultimate Series as the 375th McLaren P1™ was completed, closing what had become a defining year for the British brand. 2016 continued where 2015 had left off with the introduction of the 570GT - a second bodystyle for the Sports Series and the most luxurious car McLaren has ever built, as well as the 570S GT4 and 570S Sprint track variants. 2016 also marked the introduction of the company’s new business plan, Track22, which sees the company investing £1 billion in Research and Development to deliver 15 all new cars or derivatives by the end of 2022, of which at least 50 percent will feature hybrid technology. The uplift in sales in 2016 also saw the launch of the second shift at the McLaren Production Centre as well as the company’s third year of profitability in just six years of trading.
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