McLaren 720S GT3 takes victory on China GT championship debut
13th August 2019
The McLaren 720S GT3 scored victory on the debut race weekend in the China GT championship with Customer Racing outfit, The Winning Team. Chinese best-selling author, singer and star rally driver Han Han was joined by McLaren Factory Driver Joe Osborne and, despite difficult racing conditions, the pair claimed a second place during the first race of the weekend at the new Shougang GT Circuit in Qinhuangdao, before converting pole position to a hard-fought race win during the weekend’s second event.
Racing with its newly-delivered #111 McLaren 720S GT3, The Winning Team showed strong pace throughout each of the sessions over the weekend with drivers Han Han and Osborne. In qualifying at the new circuit based in Qinhuangdao, Osborne secured a second-row grid-slot for Race 1, before teammate Han Han topped the timesheets in the second qualifying session to claim the maiden China GT pole position for the 720S GT3 in Race 2.
The weekend’s first race took place in changeable conditions, which saw Han Han and Osborne battle their way up into second place by the chequered flag. Heavy rain shortly before the start of the second event saw track action start behind the Safety Car, and conditions remained challenging throughout. Having led the majority of the race up to the mid-point with Han Han at the wheel, the #111 was still in contention for a podium position as Osborne took over for the second half as the rain continued to fall.
After the pit stops, and with no sign that the weather was going to improve, Osborne retook the lead and managed the pace to the chasing pack despite extremely difficult driving conditions. With the clock ticking down towards the final 10 minutes, the weather prevailed, and the race was red flagged and would not be restarted, securing the first win for the 720S GT3 in China.
The Winning Team has won multiple China GT races with McLaren, securing the 2017 GT4 driver and team titles in the debut year campaigning with the 570S GT4. This success continued over the weekend with three examples of the 570S GT4 battling for honours in the GT4 championship. The team’s #49 570S GT4, driven by James Gai and Kenneth Lim, scored an overall podium and an Am class victory class.
In Europe, five examples of the 570S GT4 were in action at Circuit Park Zandvoort in the Netherlands for the latest rounds of the ADAC GT4 Germany championship. Customer Racing teams Team GT and Dörr Motorsport combined to score five top-10 finishes across the weekend’s two races.
The #33 of Team GT driven by McLaren Young Professional Charlie Fagg and teammate Michael Benyahia accumulated the strongest results of the weekend, finishing sixth and seventh. The pair led home teammates Felix von der Laden and Alain Valente in the #49 570 S GT4 who took seventh and eighth over the weekend, as both pairings secured valuable championship points. The #59 of Thomas Krebs and Fred Martin-Dye secured the best results for Dörr Motorsport, finishing 10th on Saturday and 12th on Sunday.