New McLaren 720S GT3 takes victory in Melbourne on customer debut

18 Mar 2019

  • Customer team 59Racing secures historic first-ever pole positon and race win for the McLaren 720S GT3
  • Victory at Melbourne’s Albert Park for the track-only Super Series model on competitive customer debut
  • Race wins and further podium finishes for McLaren 570S GT4 in Australia and United States

The McLaren 720S GT3 scored pole position and a memorable victory on its first ever race in customer hands during the opening round of the Australian GT Championship at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Australia. Newly-launched McLaren customer team 59Racing enjoyed strong results in both the GT3 and GT4 categories, racing as part of the support package for the opening round of the 2019 Formula 1 World Championship. The 570S GT4 of customer team Motorsports In Action also performed well in the United States to secure a podium finish, and now leads the Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The 720S GT3 made its customer team debut at the iconic Melbourne street circuit, driven by Australian GT regular Fraser Ross. The experience of the Melbourne local, combined with the strengths of the newly-developed 720S GT3, were evident over a one-lap sprint as he claimed P2 in the first qualifying session and topping the timesheets during the second qualifying session to secure the first ever pole position for the car.

The first of the weekend’s racing action saw Ross in a three-way battle for the lead throughout the opening laps of the 25-minute sprint race. A bold move in the latter stages of the race saw Ross take the lead and then gradually extend the gap to the chasing pack, eventually crossing the line with a 2.2 second lead to record the historic debut victory for the team and for the McLaren 720S GT3. Building on this success, the second race saw further silverware as Ross steered the 720S GT3 to a hard-fought P2 finish, and second podium of the weekend.

The 570S GT4 of 59Racing also enjoyed a strong weekend, driven by Ryan Simpson. Making his first ever race start in a McLaren, Simpson narrowly missed out on GT4 class victory in the opening race, crossing the line in P2. From here, the 31-year old went on to improve this result with three victories in the remaining races of the weekend.

The track-only Sports Series model was also racing in the USA over the weekend, in the support races at the FIA World Endurance Championship-IMSA double-header event at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. Customer team Motorsports In Action continued its strong start to the season with a second consecutive podium finish in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport class.

Throughout the two-hour race, drivers Corey Fergus and Jesse Lazare were in the hunt for the overall race lead. As the race entered the final few laps, the duo in the #69 570S GT4 was still pushing for the top step of the podium. Despite their best efforts, and with the chasing pack closing the gap, the pair eventually crossed the line P3. As a result, the Canadian outfit now leads in the overall championship standings.

“This weekend has been hugely significant for our customer teams and the 720S GT3, but also for McLaren Customer Racing. I’d like to pass on my congratulations to 59Racing for taking pole position and race wins with both the 720S GT3 and 570S GT4 on the first outing for the team. Also, well done to Motorsports In Action after a great result in Sebring, which sees them now leading the championship.

“Any race win is a significant achievement, especially against such strong opposition. However, this first win for the 720S GT3 is a particularly proud moment for McLaren Customer Racing. We have seen the car performing strongly throughout the testing programme, but it is really great to see the car competing on track with the first of our customer teams, and hitting the ground running with a pole position and race win straight out of the box is a very strong foundation on which to build.”

Dan Walmsley, Motorsport Director, McLaren Automotive.

Ends

Notes to editors:

The McLaren 720S GT3 made a successful race debut at the Abu Dhabi 12 Hours in December 2018, leading for much of the event, following an intensive test and development programme.

More than 90 percent of the components that make up the 720S GT3 are bespoke to the car, and each of these have been carefully designed specifically to optimise on-track performance. One key component which is shared with the road-going model is at the very heart of the 720S GT3, namely the carbon fibre chassis. The lightweight MonoCage II debuted on the 720S Coupé and offers excellent structural rigidity and protection as a crash structure. It is on to this that the FIA-homologated rollcage is added, offering even greater levels of protection to the driver.

The mid-mounted motorsport-prepared version of the 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 M840T engine is mated to a six-speed sequential motorsport transmission, channelling power through the rear wheels. Lightweight materials are used extensively throughout the car, and carbon fibre is not only limited to the chassis. The aerodynamically-sculpted bodywork – wrapped tautly over the motorsport focused underpinnings – is entirely formed of carbon fibre.

A selection of high resolution images accompanying this release is available to download from the McLaren Automotive media site – cars.mclaren.press

About McLaren Automotive:

McLaren Automotive is a creator of luxury, high-performance sportscars and supercars.

Every vehicle is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) in Woking, Surrey, England.

Launched in 2010, the company is now the largest part of the McLaren Group.

The company has three defined product families: Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series which are retailed through over 80 retailers in 30 markets around the world.

McLaren is a pioneer that continuously pushes the boundaries. In 1981, it introduced lightweight and strong carbon fibre chassis into Formula 1 with the McLaren MP4/1. Then in 1993 it designed and built the McLaren F1 road car - the company has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis since. As part of the Ultimate Series, McLaren was the first to deliver a hybrid hypercar, the McLaren P1™.

Announced at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2018, the company’s Track25 business plan will see it invest £1.2billion in research and development to deliver 18 new cars or derivatives by the end of 2025.

2017 saw the company launch further models including the second-generation Super Series, the 570S Spider and the McLaren Senna. In 2018, the company launched the 600LT and the first two cars of Track25, the McLaren Speedtail, the next Ultimate Series and McLaren’s first ever Hyper-GT, and 720S Spider. In 2019 the 600LT Spider was confirmed as the third car of Track25.

To support the development, engineering and manufacture of its range of innovative sportscars and supercars, McLaren Automotive partners with world leading companies to provide specialist expertise and technology. These include AkzoNobel, OnePlus, Pirelli and Richard Mille.

McLaren Group:
The McLaren Group is a global leader in luxury automotive and technology and comprises three businesses: Automotive, Racing and Applied Technologies.

Further information:

Wayne Bruce
Global Communications & PR Director | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7768 132429
Email: wayne.bruce@mclaren.com

Daniel Golding
Global Head of Corporate Communications | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone:+44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7717 450469
Email: daniel.golding@mclaren.com

Paul Chadderton
Global Product Communications & PR Manager | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone:+44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7990 776749
Email: paul.chadderton@mclaren.com

Amel Boubaaya
Head of Lifestyle and EU Communications | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 531357
E-mail: amel.boubaaya@mclaren.com

Hunter Skipworth
Social Media Manager | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7990 564 052
E-mail: hunter.skipworth@mclaren.com

Kevin Ritson
Press Officer | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7979 546018
E-mail: kevin.ritson@mclaren.com

Gracia Yap
PR Manager – Asia Pacific McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +65 6338 3700
Mobile: +65 9109 3698
Email: gracia.yap@mclaren.com

Media website: cars.mclaren.press
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mclarenautomotive
Twitter: www.twitter.com/McLarenAuto
You Tubewww.youtube.com/mclarenautomotivetv