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Abril Hails JP McLaren’s Fifth an “Amazing Accomplishment”

Vincent Abril believes JP Motorsport is “going to build” on its fifth-place finish at Imola…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

Vincent Abril hailed JP Motorsport’s fifth-place result at the start of its first Pro-level Fanatec GTWC Europe Endurance Cup campaign as an “amazing accomplishment” for the Polish-flagged McLaren squad.

After starting Sunday’s Imola season-opener from fifth on the grid, the lineup of Abril, Dennis Lind and Christian Klien kept the No. 111 McLaren 720S GT3 in the mix during the three-hour contest, remaining in the same position at the checkered flag.

They came away as the best McLaren lineup, leaving Abril to describe the race as an “amazing day of work” for a team that only made its GT racing debut in 2020.

JP Motorsport is based in Erkelenz, Germany and is run by Patryk Krupinski, who also drives for the team in Silver Cup.

It started in International GT Open with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 and joined McLaren’s ranks at the beginning of last year, with Klien making three DTM appearances alongside GT Open and GTWC Europe outings.

“The team has been around in GTs for a little bit, but not at this level,” Abril told Sportscar365.

“To go to the top level, I know what it requires: time and effort. It’s a process. When you see all these established teams, they didn’t start yesterday.

“P5 is an amazing accomplishment and we’re going to build on that. The car is great and the atmosphere in the team is great.”

Abril reckons JP Motorsport is yet to reach its full potential with the McLaren package despite its strong performance at Imola where it finished ahead of JOTA, which carries a factory driver lineup and was the manufacturer’s sole Pro representative last year.

“In all honesty, we had our issues as well,” Abril said.

“We’re not at our full potential and we were circulating around a few issues, as we should be because it’s a new program. Despite all that, if this is a ‘bad day in the office’, I’ll take it any day.

“We’re taking the team from basically racing Pro-Am in GT Open, to the top level of racing.

“There is a process to be going through. But everyone on the team has bought into the project, which is a pleasure to see.

“In terms of issues, there were some car gremlins that we are not fully down to. It was costing us a little bit, but we fully expected those and we expected a lot more.

“JOTA was the only team that really pushed this car to factory levels and we are already in the ballpark of what they’re doing.

“McLaren has a great relationship with the customers individually: it’s not like it’s an internal war. We’re all stepping up.

“I think that many McLarens going into the championship is pushing the level at a healthy rate.”

Klien: Team Firmly Focused on GTWC Europe

Having entered a mixture of series in the past, JP Motorsport is now firmly focused on GTWC Europe according to Klien who helped Krupinski to establish the team two years ago.

The former F1 driver explained that JP Motorsport views GTWC Europe as the best place in which it can simultaneously run customer-funded programs and advertise its abilities through a Pro entry.

As part of its expansion, the team has purchased a new race truck and hired two senior engineers who previously worked with Lamborghini outfit FFF Racing Team.

Alongside the two Endurance Cup cars, Klien and Krupinski will share a JP Motorsport McLaren in this year’s Sprint Cup.

Klien said that while some ADAC GT Masters outings might also be possible in 2022, nothing is confirmed and the team wants to place its “main focus” on GTWC Europe.

“For us, the Pro car was important to show what we can do,” he told Sportscar365.

“You have to be running at the front to get your name out, that the other people in the paddock see what you’re capable of.

“We want to build the team up to have a second or third customer car for next season, like most of the big teams doing it.

“It all started with me racing and driving with Patryk, helping him to build his own race team. That’s why we were jumping from one series to another.

“We started in GT open because it’s the best for a Pro-Am lineup. But we also tried a couple of GTWC races for him to get a feel. I think this is the best championship he can race in.

“But to come here, you need to be prepared. Now, after two years, we feel we are.

“We have the right people together now and the right equipment that we need. This is the championship that we will go for: we are not looking too much left and right.”

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

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