Monday, 20 January 2020 23:04

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

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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.

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