Further to the recent announcement regarding the launch of the Young Driver Programme, it has now been confirmed that McLaren GT rookies Andrew Watson (Northern Ireland, 19) and Ross Wylie (Scotland, 23) will contest the Avon Tyres British GT Championship. The pair will line up with McLaren GT customer team Von Ryan Racing to campaign the one of two examples of the new 650S GT3 being run by the team in the seven round calendar.
The Von Ryan Racing team has been working closely with McLaren GT to complete the intensive winter testing programme ahead of the opening round of the championship at Oulton Park over the Easter weekend, 4-6 April 2015. The 650S GT3 made its competitive debut at the 2014 Gulf 12 Hours as the final stage in the development programme securing a podium finish, and Watson and Wylie are looking to build on this during their first full year of top-flight GT racing. The young driver pairing has impressed with the rate of progress and commitment shown since joining the Programme, and are confident of a successful season working with the experienced Von Ryan Racing team.
Von Ryan Racing has been a McLaren GT customer team since forming in 2011, and has campaigned the 12C GT3 in a variety of events for the past three seasons, while also building a reputation as one of the most professional teams competing in GT racing. This announcement marks a return to the Avon Tyres British GT championship, having entered selected rounds during the 2013 season.
Dave Ryan, Team Manager, Von Ryan Racing:
‘I have been very pleased with the rate of progress by Andrew and Ross, and they have both come on as drivers so much already through working closely with my team. We are confident they are a strong pairing to contest the British GT Championship, and we are looking forward to working with them this season. It is also a true test of the new McLaren 650S GT3 which has shown some real potential in testing.’
Andrew Kirkaldy, Managing Director, McLaren GT:
‘Andrew and Ross have shown themselves to be extremely professional and motivated since joining the McLaren GT Young Driver Programme. The British GT championship has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive national GT series in Europe, and it will be a steep learning curve for them both, but I am confident that they will be a formidable pairing from the first outing in a couple of weeks. They will be working closely with [factory driver] Rob Bell throughout the season, and have access to extensive motorsport knowledge and expertise throughout the Von Ryan Racing team, not least from Dave Ryan, so they will learn a lot just from being around such a professional outfit.’
Alongside the McLaren GT young drivers, Von Ryan Racing will enter a second McLaren 650S GT3 in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship which will be driven by Euan Hankey (England, 27) and Salih Yoluc (Turkey, 29). Hankey, a full BRDC member and scholar of the Porsche Carrera Cup and Formula BMW scholarship programmes, will line-up with Yoluc who makes his debut in the GT3 category after a promising debut season in 2014.