McLaren Automotive has confirmed a stellar driver line-up for the competitive debut of the 720S GT3 in the Gulf 12 Hours at Abu Dhabi on December 13-15. Lining up on the grid will be McLaren Automotive Factory Driver Ben Barnicoat (GB), joined by Alvaro Parente (PT) and Shane van Gisbergen (NZ).
The star trio boasts an impeccable pedigree, with Parente and van Gisbergen both holding Platinum status under the FIA driver-rating system – the highest available - and Barnicoat ranked as Gold. With such a strong line-up, the works-entered car - entered under McLaren Customer Racing - is an exciting prospect for the Gulf 12 Hours. Now in its eighth year, the endurance event will see a combined grid of over 30 GT3 and GT4 cars battling for outright honours over a two-part race, each of six hours’ duration, on the 5.554 km Yas Marina circuit - home to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Barnicoat, 21, leads the three-driver line-up with extensive mileage completed in the new Super Series GT3 model during the rigorous development programme as part of his role as a McLaren Automotive Factory Driver. The outing also marks the young Briton’s debut appearance in the Gulf 12 Hours, but Barnicoat brings a wealth of McLaren endurance racing experience from the past few seasons which has seen him contest the Suzuka 10 Hours, Bathurst 12 Hour race and the Blancpain GT Endurance Series, which includes the 24 Hours of Spa event.
The confirmation of Parente and van Gisbergen is a re-pairing of two of the most exciting names in GT3 racing. They have extensive experience at the wheel of various McLaren models, and both have enjoyed significant success with the brand in recent seasons. Between them, the duo has secured race and championship wins across Europe, North America and Australia, the most notable result coming in 2016 at the Bathurst 12 Hour race with pole position, lap record and overall victory.
The Gulf 12 Hours takes place at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, December 13-15 2018, with the first part of the race starting at 09.00 local time (05.00 GMT), Saturday December 15 and the second part of the race starting at 17.45 local time (13.45 GMT) on the same day.