McLaren GT has confirmed the full line-up of Factory Drivers, alongside Andrew Watson from the Young Driver Programme, that will contest the 2016 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hrs race in February with Australian-based Tekno Autosport, running as a GT entry for the first time. After the most successful season for McLaren GT, Tekno Autosport and Objective Racing will run three examples of the 650S GT3 at Mount Panorama, 5-7 February 2016, marking the debut outing for the model at the famous circuit.
In the first commitment of Factory Driver programmes for 2016, factory drivers Rob Bell (GBR) and Alvaro Parente (PRT), and Young Driver Andrew Watson (NI) are set to tackle the 6.2 km track for the first time, joined by Shane Van Gisbergen (NZL) who has previously contested the race with McLaren in one of the most memorable finishes in the history of the famous Australian race. Van Gisbergen stormed to a hard-fought fourth place in 2014 when he contested the 12 hours alongside father-and-son Tony and Klark Quinn and McLaren GT Managing Director Andrew Kirkaldy.
The line-up for the 2016 Bathurst 12Hrs race with Tekno Autosport will see factory drivers Alvaro Parente and Shane Van Gisbergen joined by team owner Jonathan Webb (AUS). After a strong debut season in the Young Driver Programme, Andrew Watson will share the second Tekno Autosport 650S GT3 with Factory Driver Rob Bell and V8 Supercar race winner Will Davison (AUS). The third car on the grid will be run by customer team Objective Racing, which campaigned the Australian GT series with the 650S GT3 throughout this season. Objective Racing will line up with an all-Australian quartet of Tony Walls, Matt Campbell, Warren Luff and Tim Slade.
The 2015 competitive debut season has been impressive for each of the McLaren GT drivers celebrating success with the 650S GT3. Bell and Van Gisbergen secured victories at both Silverstone and the Nürburgring in the fiercely competitive Blancpain Endurance Series, Watson showed promise and significant progress throughout the season, claiming victory at the penultimate round of International GT Open championship in Barcelona, while Parente clinched the International GT Open as the first championship title for the 650S GT3.
Andrew Kirkaldy, Managing Director, McLaren GT
‘The Bathurst 12 Hour is one of the most fantastic races on the motorsport calendar, both for spectators and for drivers. It is great to partner with Tekno Autosport; a new team on the GT grid, and having such a strong line-up of drivers in the cars, including the very talented silver-rated drivers like Andrew [Watson], underlines how seriously they are approaching the challenge.
Having being part of the 2014 line-up, I can vouch for how tough this endurance race is, but it is definitely one of the most exhilarating. The 650S GT3 has enjoyed a strong debut season across the globe, including in Australia, and I am really pleased to see Tekno Autosport and Objective Racing on the grid, and they will be hopefully both be pushing for the podium positions.’