They raise pulses and turn heads on the road, and are amongst the most desirable and best-engineered cars of their generation, McLarens find get in to their stride on the race track. We take a special look at just where you can see them and follow their success.
Total 24 Hours Of Spa
There are very few global races that feature the same distinctive vibe as that of the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Held over the final weekend of July, the Belgian endurance classic has become a major objective for many a team and driver.
The 24-hour race on the challenging Spa- Francorchamps circuit has a rich and varied heritage. First held in 1924, the Total 24 Hours of Spa is now one of the most popular events around the world, with over 60,000 fans attending. Not just a gruelling test of man and machine, the Total 24 Hours of Spa is also as much of a festival as it is a motor race. Fans from across Europe swarm to the Ardennes forest for a unique racing and party experience, where the latest GT technology mixes perfectly with the atmosphere of the annual concert.
As well as an event in its own right, it is also a round of the Blancpain GT Series and second race of the new-for-2016 Intercontinental GT Challenge. Competition is fierce throughout the impressive 60-car grid, with drivers in all three classes vying to join some of the most legendary names in motorsport.
2016 will see the 68th running of the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Blancpain GT Series
The Blancpain GT Series is mainly reserved for GT3 cars, applying the principles of Balance of Performance and a driver categorisation system successfully developed by SRO Motorsports Group.
The Series comprises the title of Blancpain GT Series Winner for Drivers and one title of Blancpain GT Series Winner for Teams, which will be awarded overall as well as in the Pro-Am and Am categories. It also includes Cups: the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Overall, Pro-Am and Am Cups for Teams and Drivers, the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Overall, Pro-Am and Am Cups for Teams and Drivers, and the Blancpain GT Series Silver Cup for Drivers.
British GT Championship
For over 20 years the British GT Championship has been an intrinsic part of the UK’s national motorsport fabric. But, having undergone a number of changes throughout those two decades, it is difficult to envisage an era more competitive than the current GT3/4 format.
A 33-strong full-season grid comprising 11 different manufacturers will take in the majority of this season’s rounds. Championship organisers expect more entries to materialise throughout the year, while Silverstone and Spa look set to welcome more than 50 cars thanks to the Competition 102 GT4 European Series joining at both.
First organised by the British Racing Drivers Club in 1993, the BRDC National Sports GT Challenge (as it was then known) featured grids of wildly different machinery loosely grouped into vibrant classes comprising sportscars and saloons.
The term ‘British GT’ was first used in 1995 just as a new age of GT1 and GT2 cars was beginning to materialise. Indeed, the latter half of the 1990s would see some of the category’s most incredible and iconic cars, such as the McLaren F1 GTR, Porsche 911 GT1, Lister Storm GTL and Jaguar XJ220C contest British GT in the hands of topline international racers and home-grown amateur talent.
But a GT racing revolution was about to take place, and Britain would be at the forefront. With GT1 becoming an increasingly distant memory and GT2 proving too costly the championship sought a fresh direction. New, balanced GT3 regulations had proven popular in Europe under SRO’s guidance and when the organisation was appointed British GT promoter in 2005 the same cars made their way across the Channel.
Indeed, since then British GT has re-established itself as the world’s foremost domestic GT series. GT4’s arrival and subsequent expansion currently sees two classes running on the same track at once, an important aspect of GT competition that enables a driver to prepare for international endurance racing, while the option to also field GTC entries remains a possibility.
Traditional British sportscar manufacturers have always featured heavily in the series: Lotus, TVR, Marcos, Darrian, Lister and, more recently, Chevron, Ginetta, Aston Martin, McLaren and Bentley have underlined the championship’s unique British spirit.