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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Compass Targeting Indianapolis 8H Entry with McLaren

Compass Racing working on Indianapolis 8 Hours entry with McLaren 720S GT3…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

Compass Racing has set its sights on competing in the inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hours, in what would mark the McLaren 720S GT3’s endurance racing debut in North America.

The Toronto-based team, which will return to the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup for a second consecutive season with the mid-engined supercar, has revealed ambitions of adding the U.S. leg of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli onto its 2020 program. 

Team principal Karl Thomson explained the Oct. 2-4 enduro at Indianapolis Motor Speedway could come as a potential precursor to a full-season GT World Challenge America powered by AWS effort in 2021, as well as a planned debut in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races.

“There’s certainly been some discussion about doing the 8 Hours at Indianapolis,” Thomson told Sportscar365. “There’s a lot of interest not only from here in North America but also from Woking, depending on how they do in some other IGTC races.”

Compass’ Indy ambitions come in the wake of Team 59 Racing’s second place finish in last month’s IGTC season-opening Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour with Tom Blomqvist, Alvaro Parente and McLaren Automotive factory driver Ben Barnicoat, who has recently been part of Compass and McLaren’s North American endurance testing program with the 720S GT3.

While not currently a registered IGTC manufacturer, multiple McLarens are expected to contest the second round of the season at Spa, although it’s unclear if any cars will be on the grid for the Suzuka 10 Hours in August.

“Obviously they did exceptionally well in Bathurst,” Thomson said of Team 59.

“We’re interested in doing [Indy]. We like SRO and we like being there. It’s nice to compete in both paddocks because they’re just different places with different customers and different commercial opportunities.”

Thomson said they’ve ruled out appearances in GTWC America this year due to its car already being allocated for the expanded eight-round IMSA Sprint Cup with drivers Paul Holton and Corey Fergus.

“I would love to do that but when we deploy a car for the season it’s deployed to that series and that driver lineup only,” he explained. “We won’t bring that car here this year but the plan is that I’d very much like to bring it to Indianapolis.

“Next year we could do endurance in IMSA and GTWC America. As you’d have six weekends in SRO and four in IMSA, that could be a collection of different customers.

“Some of the folks like the format in SRO America. Some of the folks like the longer races.

“There’s definitely a big appetite from some of the other folks running McLarens around the world to come and do Daytona and Sebring and combine some efforts. So I could see doing a car for that too.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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