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Victory for the #mclaren #650sgt3 at the Paul Ricard 1000km sees #mclaren GT Factory Driver #robbell lead the overall #blancpaingt Drivers Championship by 20 points. The race was won in dramatic fashion with Bell and fellow Factory Drivers Shane Van Gisbergen and Côme Ledogar taking the chequered flag after six hours with a 3.7s winning margin.
The race – which ran into the night in the south of #france – was thrilling, with the 58 #650sgt3, run by customer team Garage 59, overcoming its rivals late in the race to take its second win of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season. The win sees Bell, van Gisbergen and Ledogar top the Blancpain Endurance Cup Drivers Championship, and Garage 59 now leads the Teams Championship.
A hard-fought qualifying session saw van Gisbergen secure P5 for the #650sgt3 with a laptime of 1m 56.557s, just 0.214s off pole. The pace and intentions of the team were then immediately evident from the start of the race, as Bell began a charge to the front, climbing to P3 on the opening lap. He would continue pressing the leaders for the remainder of his first stint. Ledogar climbed aboard for the middle sector of the race, and maintained P3 with consistent lap times during his double stint before handing the car over to Bell once again as the sun set over Le Castellet.
As the final two hours of the six-hour race approached, van Gisbergen readied himself for a final charge, the Kiwi hoping for a repeat of his performance at Monza. After briefly dropping out of the top three after the pitstop, the Garage 59 crew made up for lost time, calling a tactical pit stop in the final 15 minutes of the race under a full-course yellow caution. The bold strategy move saw the 58 rejoin the circuit in a strong position, and moved into the lead in the closing stages. As the chequered flag dropped after six hours, van Gisbergen held on to take the second victory of the season for the #650sgt3 in the championship.
The second Garage 59 entry – the 59 #650sgt3 – with the three #mclaren GT Driver Academy drivers at the wheel also had a very promising outing, starting P27 and finishing P14. Alex Fontana, Struan Moore and Andrew Watson ran a well-managed strategy, and showed consistently strong pace to battle through the field.
In North America, Factory Driver Alvaro Parente continued his Pirelli World Challenge title push with two top six finishes in the 9 #mclaren #650sgt3 run by customer team K-PAX #racing. Making his debut at the Road America circuit in Wisconsin, Parente fought hard with the leaders to secure valuable points and maintain his lead in the championship.
Notes to Editors:
A selection of high resolution images accompanying this release is available to download from the #mclaren Automotive media site – cars.mclaren.press.
About #mclaren Automotive:
McLaren Automotive is a British manufacturer of luxury, high-performance sports cars, located at the #mclaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, Surrey.
Following the global launch of #mclaren Automotive in 2010, the groundbreaking 12C was launched in 2011, the 12C Spider in 2012, and the limited-run #mclaren P1™ went into production in 2013. In keeping with its plan to introduce a new model each year, the company unveiled the 650S, in coupe and Spider form in 2014, and has announced the Sports Series among the models to be introduced in 2015. The brand continues to expand, and #mclaren posted a profit during 2013 – only the third year of vehicle production. This was followed in 2014, by a third consecutive year of growth in sales with a record 1,649 vehicles delivered via a dedicated global network of retailers in every major automotive market.
McLaren Automotive Partners
To support the development, engineering and manufacture of its range of innovative and highly acclaimed sports cars, #mclaren Automotive has partnered with world leading companies to provide specialist expertise and technology including, AkzoNobel, ExxonMobil, Pirelli and SAP.
Designed for the track; Developed for the road
The connection between Formula 1 and road cars at #mclaren is a natural process of experience, knowledge, principles and process transfer. Through the integration of 50 years of Formula 1™ #racing expertise and knowledge, and over 20 years of heritage in producing landmark sports cars, #mclaren Automotive designs, develops and builds a range of technologically advanced and groundbreaking high performance sports cars which are designed to be a no compromise drive on both road and track.
McLaren has pioneered the use of carbon fibre in vehicle production over the past 30 years, and since introducing a carbon chassis into #racing and road cars with the 1981 #mclaren MP4/1 and 1993 #mclaren F1 respectively, #mclaren has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis.
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