Reigning British GT4 Champions Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson have announced that they will be racing a McLaren 570S GT4 with immediate effect. The shock mid-season switch from their 2016 Championship-winning Ginetta to the 570S came about following a recent test at Silverstone in which both drivers were immediately extremely competitive.
Johnson, managing director of UKi Media & Events, the company that organises Professional MotorSport World Expo in Cologne, Germany, every November, commented, “The move to McLaren is about Mike and I taking on a new challenge having won the title last year. We looked at various options for 2017 in the off-season, but nothing worthwhile came together. Then we got the chance to test the McLaren and we were immediately won over by it.
“We couldn’t believe what a different experience the McLaren gives to the Ginetta. It’s a very ‘easy’ car to drive quickly, whereas the Ginetta is more an out-and-out racer: hot, noisy, and on a knife-edge. A Ginetta would be intimidating to the uninitiated, but the McLaren is softer. I can see why ‘Gent’ drivers like it so much.
“Both the Ginetta and the McLaren have their merits and we’ll unquestionably miss our Ginetta at some circuits, but it’s time for us to see what we can do in another car.”
The PMW Expo duo, who currently sit fourth in the 2017 standings and will remain with Optimum Motorsport based in Wakefield, UK, will be in action in the McLaren for the first time this weekend at the blue-ribbon British GT Championship three-hour Silverstone race.
“We’re realistic about our chances at Silverstone,” added Johnson. “The team only collected the car from the factory today (5 June), and Mike and I have completed just eight laps each in McLaren’s development car. Collectively, we’ve a tremendous amount to learn in a very short period of time, but I trust Optimum will ensure the car is reliable, while Mike and I know we can mix it at the front in whatever car we drive. A podium finish would be nice, but I think the first goal has to be to complete every lap of the three-hour race. That’s a feat we’ve never managed in previous years!”
Beyond Silverstone, Johnson stated this year’s goal remains to win a second, consecutive British GT championship. “Anyone who thinks we’re stepping back, under-estimates Mike’s and my determination and competitive spirit. We’ve never been on the grid simply to make up the numbers, but rather we want to win. Indeed, this move is not only about a new challenge, but also about giving us what we feel is the best chance to keep fighting.”
You can watch the PMW Expo Racing team compete live at Silverstone this weekend on the British GT Facebook page