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Gulf 12H

O’Ward, Rosenqvist to Drive McLaren GT4 in Gulf 12H

IndyCar racers O’Ward, Rosenqvist join United Autosports bosses for Gulf 12H outing…

Photo: United Autosports

IndyCar drivers Patricio O’Ward and Felix Rosenqvist will tackle the Gulf 12 Hours in January, sharing a McLaren 570S GT4 with United Autosports co-owners Richard Dean and Zak Brown.

O’Ward is set for his GT racing debut, although the Mexican star was the 2017 IMSA Prototype Challenge class champion before his career accelerated in single-seaters.

Rosenqvist, meanwhile, is returning to the wheel of sports car racing machinery following a 2016 GT3 campaign with Mercedes-AMG squad AKKA-ASP and a spell in Super GT’s top GT500 class three years ago.

Both drivers compete for Arrow McLaren SP in the NTT IndyCar Series, while Brown is the CEO of McLaren.

United Autosports, which Brown co-owns, returned to GT competition this year with a fleet of McLaren 570S GT4s.

The U.K-based team won the GT4 European Series Silver Cup drivers’ title through Charlie Fagg and Bailey Voisin, and also secured the teams’ championship.

“I have never driven a GT car before, and Abu Dhabi is a cool place so I’m looking forward to the experience,” said O’Ward, who is currently third in the IndyCar points.

“Hopefully, Felix and I can help the boss get some nice hardware to bring home.”

Rosenqvist added: “It’s always fun to do a race in the off-season, to get some laps done and get the rust away a little bit.

“It will be a lot of traffic and a lot of things to take care of in that race for sure, but it will be fun racing in a McLaren over there. Hopefully, we’re not slower than Zak because then we have a new problem.”

United Autosports team owners Dean and Brown were due to share a United-prepared McLaren at the Zandvoort round, but withdrew following the death of McLaren shareholder Mansour Ojjeh in June.

They rebooked their appearance for the Spa round in July, but that appearance was in turn canceled when Brown was advised to stay home after completing a COVID-19 isolation period.

“I’m excited to race with not only Richard, but Pato and Felix as well,” said Brown following the confirmation of United’s Gulf 12 Hours entry.

“They have both performed brilliantly for Arrow McLaren SP in the IndyCar series and are great to work with. I’m looking forward to passing along my GT racing tips!”

Dean and Brown last shared a current-generation GT car in the 2011 Spa 24 Hours, which they contested with Stefan Johansson and Johnny Herbert.

The Gulf 12 Hours is taking place at Yas Marina Circuit on January 8 and includes both GT3 and GT4 machinery.

“It will be a pleasure to welcome Pato and Felix to the team for the Gulf 12 Hours,” said Dean.

“I’m sure they will both get up to speed quickly in our McLaren 570S GT4 car and will be putting Zak and I in our place.

“The Gulf 12 Hours is such a great event, Abu Dhabi is one of my favorite places and it will also be a bonus to get some sun to start 2022 off.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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