12C GT3 TAKES TRIPLE HONOURS THROUGHOUT EUROPE
As McLaren celebrates its 50th anniversary during the month of September, McLaren GT customer teams paid a fitting tribute with further successes for the marque over the weekend. Results in Spain, Belgium and Germany saw the month end as it had begun – with celebrations – with the 12C GT3 completing a dominant display across three GT championships, securing three pole positions, three podium finishes and three outright victories.
The first taste of success over the weekend saw Sébastien Loeb Racing claim victory in the Qualifying Race for McLaren GT factory driver Alvaro Parente and nine-time WRC world champion, and team owner, Sébastien Loeb, at the penultimate event on the FIA GT Series calendar at the Circuito de Navarra, Spain. The race took place in challenging and slippery conditions but, despite the difficulties, Parente showed strong pace off the start to move from P4 to take the lead on the opening lap. The young Portuguese driver opened up an unassailable lead as he handed over to rally-ace Loeb, who is competing in his first full season of GT racing, and the Frenchman brought the 12C GT3 home in convincing fashion.
The weekend’s Championship Race saw the French/ Portuguese pairing lead from the front, and complete another lights-to-flag victory, claiming the pair’s fourth victory of the season. They were chased by teammates Mike Parisy and Andreas Zuber who, despite suffering a puncture during the first stint, managed to defend second position to complete a memorable 1-2 finish for the French team, and consolidate second place in the championship going into the season finale in Baku, Azerbaijan in November.
The United Autosports team added to the tally of success during the penultimate round of the European Supercar Challenge at the track where Bruce McLaren scored his one Grand Prix victory in a McLaren – the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
With the father and son driver line-up of Jim and Glynn Geddie, the 12C GT3 of United Autosports had secured a brace of victories at the previous round, and was looking on course for another strong showing, claiming pole position for the first of the weekend’s two races, which was promptly converted to race victory. With this third consecutive win, the team was then assigned a 50-second success penalty during the mandatory pitstop and, despite this championship-imposed handicap, the 12C GT3 completed the weekend with a strong performance and claimed the final podium position.
Completing the honours over the weekend for McLaren GT customer teams was Dörr Motorsport, which contested the highly competitive German VLN championship on the daunting Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit. The team, with drivers Rudi Adams and Arno Klasen, lined up in 15th place on a grid featuring in excess of 160 cars for the four-hour endurance race around the 24km circuit. After what has been a difficult season so far, the 12C GT3 showed strong pace with both drivers moving up through the field during their time in the cockpit. As the chequered flag fell, the team, run by the Dörr Group which operates McLaren retailers in Frankfurt and recently-opened Stuttgart, claimed the team’s best result of the season, securing the final hard-fought podium position.