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McLaren Names Three Factory Driver Additions

Parente, Cooper, Wittmer confirmed as McLaren factory drivers…

Photos: McLaren

McLaren Automotive has announced Alvaro Parente, Michael Cooper and Kuno Wittmer as new additions to its factory driver lineup for 2019.

2016 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winner Parente joins as an official works driver having previously represented the brand when it was known as McLaren GT.

The Portuguese driver gave the new McLaren 720S GT3 its maiden race rollout in last year’s Gulf 12 Hours and is set to share his factory commitment with a full-time drive for Bentley team K-PAX Racing in Blancpain GT World Challenge America.

2014 IMSA GTLM champion Wittmer becomes part of the program after winning the Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Daytona last month.

The Canadian will drive for Compass Racing in this year’s Pilot Challenge season driving a McLaren 570S GT4. 

Cooper, who won the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge GTS title with Blackdog Speed Shop, becomes McLaren’s second American driver after Paul Holton, who joined the manufacturer last year.

The 29-year-old was today confirmed for a full-season effort with Blackdog in its two-car Pirelli GT4 America Sprint program with the 570S this year.

The trio join McLaren’s existing factory quartet of Ben Barnicoat, Paul Holton, Joe Osborne and Rob Bell.

The manufacturer has also created a new Young Professional program to bridge the gap between its existing driver development program and factory driver roster.

It will include Blancpain GT Series Asia champion Martin Kodric and International GT Open standout Fran Rueda, who join driver development program graduates Charlie Fagg and Michael O’Brien.

Jordan Collard, James Dorlin, Lewis Proctor and Josh Smith will all be part of the driver development program this season, paired up in two 570S GT4s run by Tolman Motorsport in the British GT Championship.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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