On just its first appearance in the Gulf 12 Hours, Balfe Motorsport took a superb one-two with its pair of McLaren 570S GT4s at Yas Marina Circuit on Saturday, December 14.
Not only was it a fantastic victory for the team, but it was also success for the 570S GT4 which was also making its first-ever appearance at the circuit. As the race was held in two six-hour halves, with a two-hour break in between, the cars and drivers had to contend with daytime temperatures of 31C, before adapting to humidity during the night.
The win came courtesy of some outstanding driving by Pure McLaren GT Series racers Nick Moss and Brendan Iribe, in the #22 machine, and Issam Charrouf and double Series champion Mia Flewitt, in the #21 car. Between them, the quartet drove for around nine of the 12 hours, before handing over to McLaren Customer Racing drivers James Pickford and Ollie Millroy, and Euan Hankey and Josh Cook, respectively.
Lining up second and fourth on the grid, both cars consistently ran at the front end of the GT4 field, only handing over the lead when making pit stops. With excellent strategy from the team in the garage – which was underpinned by both cars spending just 12 minutes and 44 seconds in the pits each, the fewest of any car in class – the #22 took over the lead in the final hour and took the flag just 23.8s ahead of the #21.
The result not only underpins the outstanding growth and success of Balfe Motorsport but also highlights the pace and handling of the McLaren 570S GT4 and the competitiveness of the Pure McLaren GT Series which has produced a number of excellent amateur drivers in the past two years.
“Being involved in the high-profile Gulf 12 Hours endurance race, whilst fielding a two-car line-up had its challenges, but the teamwork, effort, and commitment from both the team and the drivers was incredible. We are very lucky to be able to share the experience in such great company.
“Everyone had the same goals and to lock out the top two steps of the GT4 podium while promoting and representing such a prestigious racing brand as McLaren is the cherry on the icing on the cake for us.
“Balfe Motorsport, a conception of myself and my father David, has matured from its first steps in 2003. It is now officially grown up and is rightly an international race-winning team of high credibility.”