Factory driver Parente begins PWC title defence with victory as the 570S GT4 secures first podium finish of the season
14 Mar 2017
Factory Driver Alvaro Parente kicked off his Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) title defence in the best possible fashion at the opening round of the season on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida over the weekend. The Portuguese driver took victory in the opening race of the 2017 campaign, and narrowly missed a podium, finishing P4 in Race 2 for customer team K-PAX Racing in the #9 McLaren 650S GT3.
Parente began the weekend well, qualifying P3 on the grid with a 1:13.990 lap of the 2.9-km street course, which was an identical time to the P2 sitter. This strong performance set him up for a good result in Race 1, climibing to P2 at Turn 1 up the inside before making a bold dive into Turn 4 later on the opening lap to take the lead. From there he was untouchable, crossing the line 10.1 seconds ahead of the chasing pack. As well as his first PWC win of 2017, his achievement also marked the first victory of the year for the 650S GT3. Further down the order, Parente’s K-PAX Racing teammate Bryan Sellers also had an impressive race, claiming P5 in the #6 650S GT3.
Race 2 saw Parente secure another positive result. Starting the race second, he briefly held the lead down into Turn 1 at the start, but running wide caused him to slip to P7. Undeterred by the setback, the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge champion fought his way back into the top five places, and was able to challenge for a podium spot during the second half of the race, though a full-course caution in the final minutes prevented a final charge. He crossed the line P4, scoring enough points to secure second in the points standings heading into Round 2 at Long Beach.
Race 2 was a positive one for Parente’s K-PAX Racing teammate Mike Hedlund too, who steered his #98 650S GT3 to P3 in the GTA class, and P11 overall. It was an impressive run in his first race weekend with the car.
The McLaren 570S GT4 was also in action over the weekend racing in the PWC-supprting GTS races. Two examples of the McLaren Sports Series model were entered into the series’ GTSA class, and scored three top five finishes.
In Race 1, customer team KPR with Mark Klenin at the wheel of the 570S GT4 finished P4 in class, while GMG Racing secured P5 in Race 1 and improved to secure a podium finish in Race 2 with driver George Kurtz up against a strong field. The P3 finish marks the first podium of the season for the 570S GT4.
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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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