GT Daytona McLaren 720S GT3
- Corey Fergus
- Paul Holton
McLaren Factory Driver to be joined by former BMW and SRT Factory shoe
TORONTO, CANADA — Long-time IMSA competitor Compass Racing today unveiled its driver line-up for the upcoming race at Daytona International Speedway, announcing Paul Holton and Kuno Wittmer as the pilots of its No. 75 McLaren 570S GT4 in the GS class.
“As we enter our sixteenth consecutive year in IMSA, we’re excited to be all-in with McLaren,” enthused Team Principal Karl Thomson. “McLaren Automotive has made a firm commitment to this program, and we’re pleased to be able to introduce a collection of updates to the car over the first few races this season, which will address some of the issues we dealt with in 2017 and 2018."Holton, who was named as a McLaren Factory driver last year, returns for his fifth season with the team and his third with the 570S GT4. “I’ve spent a lot of time testing the 570S and working with the engineers in Woking to solve some problems that were specific to running this car in North America,” remarked Paul. “Having the full weight of our manufacturer behind us is something we’re very grateful for, and I’m excited to work with Kuno to show what a truly great car the McLaren is."
Compass Racing fielded McLaren’s 570S GT4 in IMSA’s Michelin Pilot Challenge (formerly the Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge) for the past two seasons, with Holton notching the most pole positions in the GS-class in both years, and the team’s No. 77 finishing third in the championship in 2017, with Holton and Plumb leading the most laps in 2018. The team also ran a 570S GT4 in the Blancpain GT4 America series (formerly Pirelli World Challenge) in 2018, with Holton winning a nail-biting battle at Long Beach, California.
“Having run in both the Michelin Pilot Challenge and the Blancpain GT4 America over the past two seasons, our team has the most experience with the 570S GT4 platform of any team on the continent,” noted Technical Director Ray Lee. “We plan to build on that with what is arguably the strongest driver line-up in the paddock.”Wittmer continues with the team after a strong 2018 season, which saw him win three races and finish a close second in the championship standings with co-driver Rodrigo Sales. “I’m grateful to Compass for the opportunity to race with Paul and represent McLaren,” said the Montreal native. “We have a very strong package that I believe will result in podiums and a good shot at the championship against some very formidable competition."
With the announcement of an IMSA WeatherTech GTD Sprint Cup effort with the new 720S GT3 that begins in May at Mid-Ohio, the Toronto-based squad has elected to focus on their McLaren effort and will not run a TCR program, despite having been dominant in that class last season.
“We had an incredible run with Audi over the past four years from 2015, with programs that included our S3s, a TT RS, a R8 LMS and especially the RS 3 LMS with which we won two consecutive Touring Car championships,” noted Thomson. “We know how competitive both GS and GTD will be this year, and we want to focus on continuing our winning ways in those classes with McLaren, and so running TCR isn’t on the cards this year.”
The BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona will be streamed live on http://IMSA.com starting at 12:15pm on Friday, January 25th, and will be shown, tape-delayed, on IMSA’s new broadcast partner, NBC Sports.