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McLaren GT Academy Expands to Eight Drivers

McLaren GT Driver Academy expands to include eight young drivers…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

The McLaren GT Driver Academy is set to expand for its third season, with eight GT drivers confirmed in the program, including six newcomers.

Andrew Watson remains in the Driver Academy, having been a part of the program since its inception, while he will be joined by previously-confirmed driver Ben Barnicoat. 

The six newcomers announced on Wednesday are David Fumanelli, Loris Hezemans, Sandy Mitchell, Ciaran Haggerty, Akhil Rabindra and Dean Macdonald.

Mitchell, Haggerty, Akhil and Macdonald will all compete in the British GT Championship in Black Bull Garage 59’s two-car GT4 program this season, while Fumanelli and Hezemans have also joined the manufacturer’s GT roster.

Twenty-two-year-old Watson is set to continue in the Academy, having competed last season on several fronts including in the manufacturer’s Blancpain GT Series entry, while fellow BRDC Rising Star Barnicoat makes the switch from open-wheel racing.

The 2017 programs for Barnicoat, Watson, Fumanelli and Hezemans will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We started the Driver Academy in 2015 with two young drivers, Watson is still with us in the programme today, and it was all designed in helping youngsters make the move into sports cars,” commented Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GT managing director.

“It is no secret that there are more career opportunities for young upcoming drivers within the sports car world than the traditional single seater ‘dream’.

“Now in its third year, the McLaren GT Driver Academy is set to be its biggest yet and we believe this is a reflection of the growing appeal of GT racing to young drivers.

“The Driver Academy looks to help enhance the talents and provide a more complete understanding of how to manage and progress with a successful GT career.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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