With McLaren’s announcement back in October that it aimed to compete in the 2024 World Endurance Championship, it seemed like approval from the ACO would merely be a formality. And that’s exactly how it’s transpired, thankfully enough - good to have a nice, simple McLaren story sometimes. McLaren Automotive, partnered with United Autosports, will compete in the World Endurance Championship next year. Great news.
The team will compete in LMGT3 class with the recently unveiled 720S GT3 EVO; it will race alongside cars like the Ferrari 296 GT3, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, Ford Mustang GT3, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo II, 911 GT3 R and Lexus RC F GT3. Valentino Rossi will race a BMW M4 GT3 for Team WRT. In total the inaugural LMGT3 season will be contested by 18 cars across nine manufacturers, which sounds like a fantastic grid. It’s easy to see why McLaren wanted to be involved.
There’s going to be plenty of sportscar racing to enjoy next year, the 2024 WEC taking in eight rounds from March to November. The season kicks off at Qatar on March 2, followed by Imola, Spa, Le Mans, Interlagos, Circuit of the Americas, Fuji and then Bahrain. Le Mans remains, of course, the win everybody wants, and McLaren is aiming to bolster its ranks to three cars (from two) with the support of customer teams for the 24-hour epic at La Sarthe. They’re even paying homage to that famous win of the F1 GTR with the race numbers for these new GT3s throughout 2024: one will wear #59, because that was the Ueno Clinic number, and #95 for the year of the triumph. A driver line up hasn’t yet been announced.
McLaren Automotive CEO Michael Leiters said: “We are delighted to have been confirmed for the 2024 WEC season and I would like to thank the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for our inclusion within a hugely competitive LMGT3 class. Motorsport is fundamental to our brand and we build our cars using technology from the race track to give them the supreme performance that our customers expect from a McLaren.
“It will be a very exciting season and extremely close between the teams, which is why we have nominated United Autosports as our racing partner. This team has an excellent reputation in the endurance racing arena, and I look forward to our return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which we will see 720S GT3 EVO cars in action.”
So next year’s World Endurance Championship is shaping up very nicely. Alongside the nine-make, 18-car LMGT3 championship that the McLarens will compete in, the Hypercar class can now boast 19 entries, with the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Toyota, Peugeot and Cadillac joined for 2024 by Alpine, BMW and Lamborghini. Promises to be quite the season - March can’t soon enough.
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