McLaren GT Managing Director Andrew Kirkaldy has admitted the prospects of seeing McLaren 650S GT3 cars in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is slim, unless IMSA has a “change of heart” on its manufacturer fees to compete in the GT Daytona class.
The British manufacturer, which made its IMSA debut in last month’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Daytona with the new 570S GT4 car, has not been represented in GTD since the category’s adoption of FIA GT3-spec machinery.
Kirkaldy said the level of financial commitment required by IMSA has put it out of the question for now.
“Not at the moment, unless there’s a change of heart as to what they want from the manufacturers, there’s just no way,” he told Sportscar365.
“For us to two or three cars racing and having to stump up [a lot of money], where do you find that? It’s impossible [for us].”
He said the entry fee to be a registered GS class manufacturer in Continental Tire Challenge is more “sensible” and was a logical move to help introduce its new GT4-spec car to the North American market.
“It’s good to be in IMSA,” Kirkaldy said. “We’ve not had lots of cars in America, so it’s good to get the numbers up.”
A total of five McLaren GT4s debuted at Daytona, with Kirkaldy expecting at least four cars in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class this year.
With upwards of 70 cars already sold, for the race track and track days, Kirkaldy said he sees the long-term success of the GT4 platform, especially as a viable option for budget-minded gentlemen drivers.
“If you started looking at things like British GT, that has always been a good gauge of it,” he said.
“Now I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a reasonably more number of GT4 cars than GT3s. That’s happened quickly.
“They’re half the money, both to buy and to run. I think that’s made the biggest difference, and the reality is people love the supercar idea and the brands.
“It’s good that Porsche is there [in GT4], we’re there and Mercedes is coming, and I’m sure there will be a few more joining the fray.”