WINNING WAYS

Securing championship wins on three continents, the McLaren 650S GT3 is enjoying its most successful season to date on the world’s race circuits.

In its second full season of action, the McLaren 650S GT3 has so far secured title wins in Europe, the United States and Asia. In Europe, Factory Drivers Rob Bell, Côme Ledogar and Shane van Gisbergen clinched the Driver and Team titles in the hugely competitive Blancpain Endurance Cup, while fellow Factory Driver – Alvaro Parente – took his sixth victory of the Pirelli World Challenge season to secure the Driver, Team and Manufacturer championship titles at Laguna Seca, California. These latest championship wins follow on from the initial success for the 650S GT3 in Asia, where Rob Bell, alongside teammates Keita Sawa and Weng Sun Mok claimed the Asian Le Mans Series.

The trio of Bell, Ledogar and van Gisbergen – driving a 650S GT3 prepared by the Garage 59 team – began the season in style, winning the opening round at Monza. From there, the team went on to score another win at Paul Ricard in the third round, and ultimately claimed overall victory in a championship battle that went down to the wire. Also competing in the Blancpain Sprint Cup (the Sprint rounds feature two shorter races for teams of two drivers, where as the Endurance rounds are three hours or more, for teams of three), Rob Bell – this time  paired with Alvaro Parente – chalked up a handful of top-five finishes, including a race win at the Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit.

 

The Garage 59-run 650S GT3 of Rob Bell and Alvaro Parente leads the Blancpain Sprint Cup pack at the Nürburgring Grand Prix Circuit.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Alvaro Parente made his North American full-season debut, contesting the Pirelli World Challenge and scoring six race wins – including a double at the super-fast Lime Rock Park. Parente went into the final round at Laguna Seca leading the championship, but only by a small margin. Running behind his main rival throughout the race, drama unfolded on the final lap, allowing Parente to finish the race in second position – two places ahead of his rival – and secure the Driver title for himself, the Team championship for K-PAX Racing and the Manufacturer title for McLaren. Post-race, the winner received a penalty, meaning Parente was promoted into first place.

 

The K-PAX Racing 650GT3 of Alvaro Parente tackles the infamous Corkscrew at Laguna Seca.

Down Under, the 650S GT3 hit the ground running, dominating the Bathurst 12 Hour on its first outing at the event by taking pole position, fastest lap, setting a new lap record and securing the race win. This was the start of a strong season for the 650S GT3 in the region, and with two rounds of the Australian GT Championship remaining, customer team Darrel Lea with driver Klark Quinn are leading the championship.

Learn more about McLaren Motorsport and the 650S GT3 here, and read about McLaren’s Pirelli World Challenge triumph here.

 

Shane van Gisbergen, Jonathon Webb and Alvaro Parente celebrate their triumph at the Bathurst 12 Hour.

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