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Australian McLaren Squad to Make Endurance Cup Debut

59Racing moves into GTWC Europe competition with McLaren 720S GT3 in the Pro class…

Photo: Drew Gibson

Australian GT Championship squad Team 59Racing has announced a move to GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup with a Pro-class entry.

The team, which finished second overall in this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, will field a McLaren 720S GT3 during the full four-round Endurance Cup campaign.

The car will be driven by Ben Barnicoat, who was a member of that Bathurst lineup, as well as Martin Kodric and Lewis Williamson.

Barnicoat last raced in GTWC Europe in 2018 when he drove a McLaren 650S GT3 for the Garage 59 team, while last year the Brit focused on an LMP2 program with Carlin.

Kodric was also instrumental in 59Racing’s Bathurst effort, helping the team to a Silver class victory with its second car, while the Croatian racer also finished third in International GT Open last year behind the wheel of a Teo Martin Motorsport 720S GT3.

Former McLaren young driver award winner Williamson has prior experience in the manufacturer’s 650S model, and won the 2018 Endurance Cup Pro-Am title in a Mercedes.

59Racing’s entry, which was shown as a part-season runner on the full-season entry list issued on July 8, will compete under the EMA Group/59 Racing banner.

Alongside Optimum Motorsport, it will contribute to the return of McLaren to the Endurance Cup field after a year out and the series debut of the marque’s latest GT3 model.

The team also has tentative plans to appear in other races this year, subject to the travel possibilities for its Australian crew members.

Silver Cup Teams Announce Lineups

GTWC Europe Silver Cup class entrants Garage 59 and Madpanda Motorsport have also laid out their plans for the Endurance Cup season.

Garage 59 has confirmed two of the drivers for its Aston Martin Vantage GT3 entered in the Silver category.

This car will be shared by Andrew Watson and French racer Valentin Hasse-Clot, plus a third driver who is yet to be announced. 

The 2016 Endurance Cup overall championship-winning squad has also signed Aston Martin factory driver Jonny Adam to its now Pro-Am lineup alongside Chris Goodwin and Alexander West.

New outfit Madpanda Motorsport has confirmed the drivers who will share its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with team principal Ezequiel Companc in the four-round season.

Mercedes specialist and multiple NLS race winner Patrick Assenheimer, who finished second in Silver Cup last year with Black Falcon, will spend his third Endurance Cup season with Madpanda.

The other new signing is GT4 graduate Jorge Cabezas Catalan from Spain.

The Endurance Cup season kicks off with the 3 Hours of Imola on July 26 and will also visit the Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps for the Total 24 Hours, and Paul Ricard.

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

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