GT Daytona McLaren 720S GT3
- Corey Fergus
- Paul Holton
Multiple-time Michelin Pilot Challenge Champions to contest seven-race series with new car
TORONTO, CANADA — Hot on the heels of McLaren’s worldwide public debut of its new 720S-based GT3 contender at the Bahrain International Circuit this past weekend, long-time IMSA competitors Compass Racing today released details of their WeatherTech Sprint Cup effort for 2019, with McLaren Factory Driver Paul Holton and Matt Plumb tapped for driving duties in the seven-race championship.
“We’re really excited to extend our partnership with McLaren by launching the new 720S GT3 in North America,” enthused Compass Racing’s Managing Director Jill Beck. “Paul has been one of the test drivers on the car through its development over the past year, and we all have high hopes for the first race car developed entirely in-house by McLaren Automotive.”Compass Racing has fielded McLaren’s 570S GT4 in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge (formerly the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge) for the past two seasons. Holton scored the most pole positions in the GS class in both years, and the team’s No. 77 finished third in the championship in 2017. Holton and Plumb led the most laps in 2018, taking a season-best finish of second place at the Road Atlanta finale. The team also ran a 570S GT4 in the GT World Challenge America series (formerly Pirelli World Challenge) in 2018, with Holton winning a nail-biting battle at Long Beach, California.“We’ve enjoyed working closely with McLaren in developing the GT4 car over the past two years, and look forward to continuing that strong relationship over the next few seasons, in both GT3 and GT4,” noted Beck. “The new Sprint Cup is something we’d hoped IMSA would implement, as it provides a perfect ladder for our McLaren program, with steps from GS to Sprint to a full WeatherTech effort.”Holton was equally effusive. “The new GT3 car has been a real revelation in testing, and I can’t wait to get it out on track in North America. McLaren has put together a great team of people in their new Motorsport facility in Woking, and we are all committed to being competitive from the very first race.”
Plumb, the winningest driver in GS history, returns for his third year with the team. “In developing a new car, driver continuity counts for a lot, and we are pleased to have Matt and Paul working with us on our GT3 program,” remarked Team Principal Karl Thomson. “We know the competition in WeatherTech is fierce, but we believe that fifteen straight years of battling in the Michelin Pilot Challenge has prepared us for the fight.”Dan Walmsley, Director of Motorsport at McLaren Automotive, welcomed Compass Racing as the first McLaren Customer Racing team worldwide to publicly announce its GT3 program. "The 720S GT3 is the first race car designed and built in-house by McLaren Automotive, and the development team has worked tirelessly to deliver the gruelling test programme we devised for the car. This is an important product for McLaren Automotive, and therefore we have committed to ensuring that we deliver a product worthy of carrying the iconic brand. Compass Racing has been an invaluable partner to us over the past two years and we look forward to continuing that in 2019.”
Beyond the WeatherTech GT3 program, details of the team’s Michelin Pilot Challenge GS-class GT4 effort are expected to be announced in the coming days.
The Sprint Championship begins at Mid-Ohio in May, with 2-hour-and-forty-five-minute races on offer at legendary tracks including Belle Isle (Detroit), Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Lime Rock Park, Road America, Virginia International Raceway and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. CTMP and Laguna Seca will be televised live on NBC, with the remainder live on NBCSN.
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. 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. For details visit https://cars.mclaren.com.
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Image credits: McLaren Automotive and Compass Racing.