Emerson Newton-John’s widely varied, sometimes circuitous racing path will add another chapter – and another championship – with his debut in next weekend’s Blancpain Endurance Series opener in Monza.
The American has raced in open-wheel and stock car racing in Australia, Europe and North America before – most recently in a pair of Indy Lights races in 2012 – but is set to make his Blancpain Endurance debut in one of Attempto Racing’s McLaren 650S GT3s.
He’ll run in the Pro-Am Cup with Japanese teammate Yoshi Mori, with the goal of running the remainder of the BES season depending on how Monza goes.
German driver Philipp Wlazik is also listed on the entry list in the team’s No. 54 car, with the second car, the No. 55 McLaren, entered with drivers TBA in the Pro Cup.
Newton-John would join DragonSpeed team principal and driver Elton Julian and Lamborghini Junior driver Andrew Palmer as the only three American drivers on the grid.
He tested earlier this week at Hockenheim and while he admitted he isn’t a huge fan of paddle shifters, ABS or traction control – in his words, he thinks they’ve “ruined the sport” – he still praised the McLaren itself.
“The McLaren 650S GT3 was an extremely easy car to drive at the limit, and was well balanced and fully sorted,” Newton-John told Sportscar365.
“It’s really a stunning car that is as beautiful inside as it is out. The car had a surprising amount of aero grip in the high-speed corners, as well as impressive braking ability.”
Newton-John tested at Hockenheim in cold, wet and rainy conditions, and completed roughly 20 laps on the day.
“It wasn’t much, but I was up to speed right away and felt super comfortable and confident in the car,” he said. “I haven’t driven on a road course for almost three years, and I’ve only been in an ARCA car two times since my short stint in Indy Lights in 2012.”
The car will represent Newton-John’s breast and prostate cancer awareness charity, Pink and Blue for Two. Newton-John is the nephew of award-winning singer/actress Olivia Newton-John.
The Attempto Racing team has won championships in various Porsche Cup series in the past, and has just purchased two new McLarens in search of the BES Pro-Am championship.
“As of now, I will be one of only [a few Americans] in the series, and feel that we are in a good position for a strong result at the opening race at Monza,” Newton-John said. “The goal for us is the Pro-Am championship.”