McLaren makes a clean sweep across Europe with triple GT victories

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Photography by: McLaren
McLaren GT at 24H Barcelona 2012 - Finish
McLaren GT at 24H Barcelona 2012 - Finish Source McLaren
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McLaren GT at 24H Barcelona 2012 - Finish McLaren Tour Circuito de Navarra in Northern Spain McLaren GT drivers Charles Bateman and Matt Bell
  • McLaren GT customer teams claim victories in three championships in two days
  • Victories achieved in all events contested, with wins recorded in the UK, France and Spain
  • Lapidus Racing claims the marquee's first win in a 24 hour race since the historic debut victory for the McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans in 1995

As 2008 Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in Monza to claim victory for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, McLaren was actually celebrating its fourth victory of the weekend following success across Europe in GT championships. Three McLaren GT customer teams took wins in the UK, France and Spain, and recorded one of the most successful weekend’s racing for McLaren in its history.

The first result of the weekend was achieved by the French-based ART Grand Prix team, with a competitive showing at the Circuito de Navarra in Northern Spain. The driver pairing of Grégoire Demoustier and Ulric Amado secured pole position with the 12C GT3 in the FFSA French GT championship for the weekend’s Qualifying Race.

Despite being handed a 15 second penalty following the previous victory at Magny-Cours earlier in the season, the French duo went on to claim the first victory of the weekend.

Shortly after ART GP’s result, Lapidus Racing started the ultimate endurance challenge at the Spanish Circuit de Catalunya, for the 15th running of the 24H Barcelona. Starting from fifth on the grid the 12C GT3, driven by British racers Adam Christodoulou, Tim Mullen and Phil Quaife alongside team owner Klaas Hummel, made a strong start and built a commanding lead as night fell.

An unscheduled stop shortly after half-distance saw the German/Dutch team drop to third place but, once back out on track, the team quickly caught the leaders and regained the lead in the early hours of the morning. A string of consistent lap times helped rebuild a comfortable lead and as the clock reached the 24 hour mark, the striking orange and white liveried 12C GT3 crossed the line to take the title having completed a grueling 640 laps, equaling a distance of nearly 3,000 kilometers.

With this victory, Lapidus Racing claimed the first win for McLaren in a 24 hour race since the McLaren F1 GTR took the title at Le Mans on its debut in 1995.

As the checkered flag fell in Barcelona, United Autosports and Apex Motorsport were in final preparations for Round Six of the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Silverstone. The three hour event at Silverstone saw United Autosports fifth on the grid, while reigning British GT champions Apex Motorsport, making their 2012 championship debut with the 12C GT3, lined up 14th.

Both McLarens made progress away from the start, and quickly moved forward through the field. The father and son pairing of Jim and Glynn Geddie in the Apex Motorsport 12C GT3 showed extremely strong early pace and, shortly before the halfway mark, had moved into the lead. However, a stop-go penalty following the first mandatory pitstop saw the #1 car forced to relinquish this lead. Despite a late charge after rejoining the track, which saw the gap to the leaders reduced, they were unable to recover the lost ground, and crossed the line fifth.

As the black Apex Motorsport car served its penalty, Matt Bell and Charles Bateman in the Anglo-American United Autosports 12C GT3 took over the lead, and battled hard in the closing stages to defend position. As the race ended, the red-white-and-blue McLaren crossed the line with a comfortable margin to the chasing pack, closing the gap on the championship leaders, and completing the weekend’s triple victory for McLaren GT customer teams.


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