On a busy weekend for McLaren Automotive customer teams racing around the world, the McLaren 570S GT4 scored its third overall GT4 win of the 2018 British GT season at Brands Hatch and set pole at Road America in Wisconsin. The 650S GT3 driven by Fraser Ross took the Australian GT Championship points lead after scoring two podium finishes in three races in Australia.
In the UK, the McLaren 570S GT4 scored its third overall GT4 win of the 2018 British GT Championship at Brands Hatch. The Balfe Motorsport #501 570S GT4 of Graham Johnson and Mike Robinson took a commanding victory in the two-hour race, after quick pit work and a safety car period just before the pit window opened midway through the race, vaulted the team from ninth in GT4 class to take the lead.
In the second half of the race, the pair proved untouchable with the chasing pack unable to challenge for the lead. By the end, the 570S GT4 crossed the line six seconds ahead of the chasing pack. The result marked the duo's first overall GT4 win of the season, and their second GT4 Pro-Am victory. Factory Driver Joe Osborne and his teammate overcame adversity to score a fifth-place finish (fourth in GT4 Pro-Am) and earn vital points for GT4 Teams championship challenger Tolman Motorsport.
A strong opening stint saw the fast-charging #56 move from 19th on the grid to 12th as the pitstop window opened. A quick pitstop and quick pace by Osborne over the closing laps saw the car progress further to eventually cross the line fifth.
Also claiming a top-10 finish, and important championship points, was the #4 570S GT4 of Tolman Motorsport, with McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme Drivers Michael O'Brien and Charlie Fagg. In the race's opening laps, Fagg moved from fourth to third before spending much of the opening hour - interrupted by lengthy safety car periods - battling for second.
Just before the pit window opened, however, he suffered a puncture, and was forced to dive into the pits and lost valuable time. It left O'Brien with work to do in the second half of the race but he eventually climbed from 12th to cross the line ninth.
Crucially though, O'Brien and Fagg's title rival finished just two places up the road, meaning they head to the final round still in with a chance to win both GT4 championships. The finale of the British GT Championship takes place at Donnington Park on September 22 to 23.
In the CTSC race at Road America, Wisconsin, Compass Racing and Factory Driver Paul Holton had a near miss, the team’s #76 McLaren 570S GT4 setting pole and leading the race in the second half until Holton’s teammate Matt Plumb was forced into retirement after an off in the final minutes.
Behind though, the 570S GT4 still enjoyed a strong finish with Motorsports In Action, its example finishing fifth in the hotly-contested GS class, marking the Canadian team’s best result of the season.
Over in Australia, the #59 Total Oil / Opti-Coat / Logitech McLaren 650S GT3 now leads the 2018 CAMS Australian GT Championship standings after three frantic sprint races at Sydney Motorsport Park. The 650S GT3, driven by Fraser Ross, fought hard all weekend and managed to secure strong finishes in all three races on the 3.93km-circuit to secure the top spot in the points table heading into the season finale.
In the first race of the weekend on Friday evening, Ross finished third after making two daring passes in the final 10 minutes of the race as the light faded. Then, in the second race on Saturday morning, Ross was involved in a four-way battle for the lead, eventually finishing just off the podium. He was unable to make a move late in the race to take home a second trophy in as many races due to it ending under Safety Car conditions.
He made up for it in the final race of the weekend, however, finishing third again and making it two podium finishes in three races. Ross had to fight for the silverware though, climbing from fifth to third in the race, taking fourth in the opening minutes, before biding his time and snatching the final podium spot in the final laps.
Ross' points lead is now 16 points, with just one more weekend to go in the season at Hampton Downs, New Zealand in October.
“This was another memorable weekend for McLaren Automotive customer teams, with the 570S GT4 showing once again that up against such a wide variety of cars from other manufacturers, it’s capable of winning races in convincing fashion.
“It’s also encouraging to see that despite suffering a costly puncture, Development Programme Drivers Michael O’Brien and Charlie Fagg are still in with a chance of winning titles at the British GT finale. With the support of our programme, they’ve worked exceptionally hard all season.”
Dan Walmsley, Motorsport Director, McLaren Automotive.