McLaren Automotive expands driver programme and confirms exciting additions for 2020 season

16 Dec 2019

  • McLaren Academy Driver introduced as a new level of progression from the Driver Development Programme
  • Euan Hankey (UK) joins the McLaren Factory Driver line-up
  • Ollie Wilkinson (UK) confirmed as McLaren Professional Driver

McLaren Automotive continues to strengthen its professional driver programme following the 2019 season which saw the 570S GT4 enjoy the strongest results to-date, and the new 720S GT3 record race wins and podiums across the globe. The revised four-tier driver ranking introduces a new progressive level above the Driver Development Programme (DDP), while the appointment of Ollie Wilkinson to McLaren Professional Driver and Euan Hankey to McLaren Factory Driver status strengthens the GT driver line-up to its strongest and most diverse ahead of the 2020 season.

The McLaren Academy Driver categorisation introduces a natural step for young drivers progressing from the Driver Development Programme, which enters its third year in 2020. The new category will also be a first step for drivers showing promise and ability who are more senior than those eligible for the DDP. The inaugural members of this new category will be 2019 DDP members Jordan Collard and Lewis Proctor who both impressed in the British GT championship.

The next step in progression and development is the McLaren Professional Driver tier, which is an important talent pool for drivers with high levels of ability. It has been strengthened for the 2020 season with the addition of 23-year old Ollie Wilkinson (UK). The category was launched in 2019 and is designed for drivers who have already embarked on professional racing careers, competing globally and bringing their knowledge of McLaren – and the 570S GT4 and 720S GT3 – to the benefit of Customer Racing teams at the very highest levels. 

Ollie Wilkinson is an exciting talent in GT racing, having risen through the sportscar ranks from complete novice to become the 2019 British GT Silver Cup champion and a multiple outright GT3 race victor in just three years. Born and raised in Leeds, Wilkinson’s career began in 2017 with the highlight being a pair of Pro-Am class wins in International GT Open. An outstanding 2019 season was capped by earning highly-coveted BRDC Rising Star status.

Factory Driver status remains the pinnacle of the driver programmes at McLaren. This select group of drivers has been selected to work with and help progress the performance of Customer Racing teams globally, and work as part of the team developing the current and future range of McLaren race cars. For the 2020 season, McLaren has recruited Euan Hankey (UK) to join the highly competitive group of professional drivers, with the 32-year old Briton bringing experience of winning at the highest level.

Euan Hankey has raced in a variety of GT championships and holds a broad range of global race experience, most recently at the wheel of a McLaren 570S GT4 at the Gulf 12 Hours. Having started his career in single-seater formulae, Euan’s career highlights include Dubai 24 Hour and Blancpain GT Series successes – including a second place in the Pro-Am class at the 24 Hours of Spa – podium finishes in the World Endurance Championship and runner up in both the European Le Mans Series and GT3 Michelin Le Mans Cup championships. He has also worked closely with McLaren Automotive since 2012.

Details of racing commitments for each of the drivers will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Ends

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 creator of luxury, high-performance sportscars and supercars.

Every vehicle is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, England.

Launched in 2010, the company is now the largest part of the McLaren Group.

The company has defined product families: Sports Series, Super Series, Ultimate Series and Motorsport which are retailed through over 80 retailers in more than 30 markets around the world.

McLaren is a pioneer that continuously pushes the boundaries. In 1981, it introduced lightweight and strong carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 with the McLaren MP4/1. Then in 1993 it designed and built the McLaren F1 road car - the company has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis since. As part of the Ultimate Series, McLaren was the first to deliver a hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1™.

Announced at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018, the company’s Track25 business plan will see it invest £1.2billion in research and development to deliver 18 new cars or derivatives by the end of 2025.

In 2018, the company launched the 600LT and the first two cars of Track25, the McLaren Speedtail, the next Ultimate Series, and McLaren’s first ever Hyper-GT, and 720S Spider. It also opened a new £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre in the Sheffield region in the North of England that will see it produce the next generation of lightweight carbon fibre ‘tubs’ that are at the heart of all McLaren cars.

2019 saw McLaren launch the 600LT Spider confirmed as the third car of Track25, with a new GT car announced and the previously-confirmed track-only Senna GTR unveiled.

To support the development, engineering and manufacture of its range of innovative sportscars and supercars, McLaren Automotive partners with world leading companies to provide specialist expertise, technology and solutions. These include Richard Mille, Pirelli, Dell Technologies, Ashurst, AkzoNobel and OnePlus.

McLaren Group:
The McLaren Group is a global leader in luxury automotive and technology and comprises three businesses: Automotive, Racing and Applied Technologies.

Further information:

Piers Scott
Global Communications & PR Director | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone:+44 (0) 1483 241380
Mobile: +44 (0) 7387548837
Email: piers.scott@mclaren.com

Paul Chadderton
Global Product Communications & PR Manager | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone:+44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7990 776749
Email: paul.chadderton@mclaren.com

Dave Eden
Global Commercial & Brand Manager | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 262867
Mobile: +44 (0) 7500 857089
E-mail: dave.eden@mclaren.com

Media website: cars.mclaren.press
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mclarenautomotive
Twitter: www.twitter.com/McLarenAuto
You Tubewww.youtube.com/mclarenautomotivetv