In the same week that Aston Martin announced it will return to Le Mans in the Hypercar category in 2025, McLaren Automotive has confirmed its intention to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). At this stage it has no plans to enter the top class; instead, from the 2024 season it will field two McLaren 720S GT3 Evo cars with the United Autosports team in the new LMGT3 class.
United Autosports has become well established in sportscar and GT racing since it was formed in 2010. The UK-based firm has a long history with McLaren Motorsport, being one of the first to race the original 12C GT3 race car. The team has claimed numerous victories over the years, including in WEC and at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2020. It has featured a strong driver line-up including alumni Fernando Alonso, Lando Norris and Juan Pablo Montoya.
“Motorsport remains a fundamental part of McLaren’s future of performance strategy and we have long viewed the WEC as a natural fit for demonstrating the performance capabilities of our cars,” said Michael Leiters, CEO of McLaren Automotive. “This includes a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans that is an intrinsic part of our enduring success in motorsport and, in particular, the Triple Crown, which is unique to McLaren as a supercar manufacturer and racing car constructor. We have selected United Autosports, who we feel shares our passion for endurance GT racing as well as the McLaren brand and, like McLaren, has a history of success in motorsport. United Autosports has communicated to the Automobile Club de l’Ouest its intent to field two McLaren 720S GT3 EVOs in the 2024 WEC and we hope that their entry will be accepted. And we are looking forward to racing our rivals in the WEC from 2024.”
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, McLaren has been involved in customer racing since just after it was founded, with the McLaren M1 sports racing car in collaboration with Elva Sportscars.
The British performance car manufacturer returned to sportscar racing in the 1990s with the F1 GTR in response to requests from customers. In addition to its victory in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which McLaren became the first race car constructor to win motor racing’s unofficial Triple Crown, many F1 GTR cars were supplied to customer teams. These included David Price Racing and GTC Competition, both winners of the BPR Global Endurance Series, the forerunner of the FIA GT World Championship. In 1997, a GTC Competition F1 GTR in Longtail specification won the GT1 class at Le Mans, finishing the race 29 laps ahead of the closest manufacturer rival.
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