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McLaren GT Sets BES Lineups, Factory Driver Race Schedules

McLaren GT factory drivers set for full season in BES…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

McLaren GT factory drivers Rob Bell, Alvaro Parente, Kevin Estre, Bruno Senna and Shane van Gisbergen will race in the full Blancpain Endurance Series, as part of a series of race schedules announced by the manufacturer on Wednesday.

Besides the five factory drivers, open-wheel veteran Adrian Quaife-Hobbs has joined the lineup as the sixth driver for Von Ryan Racing. The English driver has raced in GP2 the last two years, and was 2012 Auto GP champion.

Specific groupings for the pair of McLaren 650S GT3s will be determined at a later date.

Besides his BES race commitments, Bell will also serve as driver coach for Von Ryan’s pair of McLaren GT Young Drivers, Andrew Watson and Ross Wylie, who will share another 650S GT3 in British GT.

Estre will pair the BES commitments with his full season in the U.S. in Pirelli World Challenge, with K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports.

Meanwhile Parente will also race with Miguel Ramos in another 650S GT3 in the International GT Open Championship, with Teo Martin Motorsport.

The BES season opens in Monza, April 11-12.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to NBCSports.com and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Sabrean

    March 11, 2015 at 10:52 am

    This lineup feels like almost overkill to me, sounds like a Le Mans GTE PRO lineup rather than a Blancpain one. I imagine these guys call pretty high salaries, McLaren must really want to win BES this year. Doesn’t really gives them as much exposure as the WEC though. I hope the other pro class teams have similarly top notch lineups to match *looks at Oman Racing Team hopefully*

    • mark

      March 11, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      Blancpain is just as popular if not more popular than WEC in europe, thats why there are as many pro drivers in Blancpain. Also GTE cars are few and far between due to cost, there is no GTE 650s, hurican, bently, audi r8, and the performance of GT3 not much different than GTE (just look at the GT open races on youtube).

      The racing in blancpain should be even closer this year due to 3 BOP charts for different track types instead of one. Cant wait for monza!

      • Sabrean

        March 11, 2015 at 1:23 pm

        Oh yes, I’m aware that there’s no GTE 650S so McLaren currently don’t have the option of the WEC, but what I was saying was that in my opinion this seems a very high quality lineup for what we’ve seen previously in terms of the competition in the BES. As if they didn’t need to go this far. Makes one wish they’d never canned the 12C GTE they had been designing. Also, is the BES really as popular as Blancpain? I live in England myself and in 2013 went to Silverstone rounds of the WEC and BES, getting in and out of parking for the WEC was a struggle whereas for BES it felt a bit empty. Plus for the WEC more grandstands were open, whereas for BES we were on the old pit straight. Perhaps attendance hiked up last year, but still, from that experience I thought WEC was the bigger draw. Don’t get me wrong though, I love the BES to bits! May try and get to Silverstone again for it this year, will need to look at the dates. GT3 is great, but I do think GTE is the pinnacle of GT racing right now though.

        • Sabrean

          March 11, 2015 at 1:25 pm

          *Meant to say ‘…is the BES really as popular as the WEC?’ not ‘…as Blancpain?’, sorry. We could really do with a comment editing feature on here…

          • Jordan

            March 11, 2015 at 2:18 pm

            I think that it is not bigger in terms of popularity, but that its level of involvement from the manufacturers is making it into a really big championship. No doubt a company like McLaren puts a high value on beating 10+ other manufacturers in the same category. Same with PWC in the US this year. The participation exceeds the demand, but I’m not going to complain about it, bring in the pros!

          • StueyB83

            March 12, 2015 at 2:17 am

            The beauty of GT3 is that the supply of customers is better, and that the cost of developing the car once very 2 years means significantly less outlay than a GTE program.

            McLaren has sold all examples to be built this year, plus numerous Mp4-12c to 650s upgrade packages.

            I doubt that would happen with a GTE car.

            Less development cost & more customers to make a return on investment: no big wonder why GT3 is booming.

  2. Thomas

    March 11, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Woohoo!!!SVG is gonna rock the place!

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