McLaren 720S GT3 to make GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup debut

16 Jan 2020

  • Yorkshire-based Optimum Motorsport confirmed as McLaren Customer Racing team
  • 720S GT3 to make GT World Challenge Europe debut, and will see a return for McLaren to the Total 24 Hours of Spa
  • Full Pro driver line-up for 2020 season will see McLaren Factory Drivers Rob Bell and Joe Osborne alongside new McLaren Professional Driver Ollie Wilkinson

The McLaren 720S GT3 will this season compete for outright honours in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup for the first time, as Optimum Motorsport is confirmed as the latest team to join the McLaren Customer Racing stable. The Yorkshire-based outfit has confirmed it will run the new 720S GT3 with McLaren Factory Drivers Rob Bell and Joe Osborne running alongside new McLaren Professional Driver Ollie Wilkinson as a full Pro entry.

Competing in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup – formerly Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup – the 720S GT3 and Optimum Motorsport will contest the full, five-round calendar. The opening round takes place at Monza, Italy in April, after which the championship visits Silverstone, UK and Circuit Paul Ricard, France, before the biggest test on the GT3 calendar with the Total 24 Hours of Spa in July. The Endurance Cup season then heads to Germany for the season finale at the Nürburgring.

McLaren Factory Driver Rob Bell returns to the championship having taken the Endurance Cup driver title in 2016, adding to his 2020 race season alongside a full Intelligent Money British GT campaign with Balfe Motorsport. Fellow Factory Driver Joe Osborne is confirmed for his first full season with the 720S GT3 after successfully debuting the car in China during 2019, finishing on the podium during each race he contested and securing a double race win. Osborne is back on the Endurance Cup grid having last campaigned selected rounds during the 2016 season, which included a Pro-Am podium at the 24 Hours of Spa.

Ollie Wilkinson completes the team’s line-up having recently joined the driver roster as a McLaren Professional Driver, following an impressive past few seasons which has seen him awarded the highly-coveted BRDC Rising Star status. The 23-year old Yorkshireman also won the British GT Silver championship in 2019, in only his second year of GT3 competition.

The announcement also marks the championship debut for Yorkshire-based Optimum Motorsport, which previously contested the International GT Open championship, and back-to-back British GT titles across GT4 and GT3 classes for the past four years. 

“I am really pleased to welcome Optimum Motorsport to the McLaren Customer Racing family. The team has worked extremely hard to achieve some fantastic results over the past few years, and this confirmation of an all-British Pro entry with Rob, Joe and Ollie running in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup is extremely exciting.

“The decision to enter the Endurance Cup is a big step for all involved, and it is the ultimate challenge in GT3 racing for the drivers, the team and the car. Each of the races will be a true test, especially the biggest race of the year when the calendar visits Spa for the 24-hour event, but the team and line-up is extremely strong and more than up to the challenge they face.”

Ian Morgan, Director of Motorsport, McLaren Automotive

The 720S GT3 enters a second competitive season in 2020, having run with Customer Racing teams globally throughout 2019. Pole position and a race win at the first event of the season at the Australian GT opener, and pole position and a first British GT victory at the season finale, bookended the year.

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

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