V8 SUPERCARS drivers Shane van Gisbergen, Will Davison and Jonathan Webb will spearhead McLaren’s two-car attack on the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour next February 5-7.
McLaren confirmed the driver pairings to the international media overnight (Australian time) confirming their intent to deliver a Bathurst factory for the iconic British brand.
McLaren factory drivers Alvaro Parente and Rob Bell will also join the team as will Andrew Watson, who raced for Von Ryan McLaren in the British GT Championship this year.
Watson is a member of McLaren’s young driver program and will join Bell and Davison in one entry.
Van Gisbergen will join Parente and Webb in the sister car with both expected to be outright contenders next February.
V8 outfit Tekno Autosport will run the McLaren’s as the marque seeks to kick off its campaign in the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge in the best possible way.
“The Bathurst 12 Hour is one of the most fantastic races on the motorsport calendar, both for spectators and for drivers,” said Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GTs racing boss and a former Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 hour competitor.
“It is great to partner with Tekno Autosport – a new team on the GT grid, and having such a strong line-up of drivers in the cars underlines how seriously they are approaching the challenge.
“Having being part of the 2014 line-up, I can vouch for how tough this endurance race is, but it is definitely one of the most exhilarating.
“The 650S GT3 has enjoyed a strong debut season across the globe, including in Australia, and I am really pleased to see Tekno Autosport on the grid, and they will be hopefully both be pushing for the podium positions.”
Van Gisbergen’s confirmation will see him reunited with the Tekno team for the final time before he departs for Red Bull Racing Australia in the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship.
His replacement in the full-time V8 seat Will Davison will meanwhile make his debut with the team at the 12 Hour.
Rob Bell is a highly experienced GT and Sportscar racing ace and is the brother to Bentley GT driver, Matt Bell – who finished fourth at Bathurst this year.
Vastly experienced Portuguese driver Parente won the British Formula 3 Championship in 2005, the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2007 and also raced for his country in the A1 Grand Prix series, before shifting his attention to sportscar racing.
He has raced a McLaren for much of his GT career including scoring multiple victories in the 2013 FIA GT Championship.