Multiple GT racing champions Balfe Motorsport will return to the British GT Championship for 2019 with a brand-new McLaren 720S GT3 alongside a 570S GT4. Climbing behind the wheel of the 720S GT3 for the season will be 2017 International GT Open Pro-Am champions Shaun Balfe and McLaren Factory Driver Rob Bell.
Family-run outfit Balfe Motorsport, from Grantham in Lincolnshire, is delighted to continue its long-running association with McLaren as it gives the exceptional 720S GT3 its competitive debut in the United Kingdom. Formed in 1998, Balfe Motorsport is a partnership between David and Shaun Balfe – a combination that has achieved success at every level the team has entered.
Shaun is no stranger to British GT, finishing second in the Drivers’ standings back in 2003 and racing alongside Rob last season in a Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3. Rob, a McLaren Factory Driver, is a champion of series as varied as Formula Renault, Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series, and the Blancpain Endurance Series.
The new McLaren 720S GT3 features a lightweight carbon fibre chassis – carried over from the 720S roadcar – optimised aerodynamic design and is powered by a twin-turbo four-litre V8. It is the first GT model designed and built in-house by McLaren Customer Racing at the Woking factory, and on its competitive debut at the Gulf 12 Hours in December, the 720S GT3 showed strong pace and huge potential, qualifying on the front row and eventually finishing an impressive fifth in the GT3 Pro class and eighth overall.
“It’s a great feeling knowing Balfe Motorsport is continuing our relationship with McLaren during these exciting times,” said Shaun Balfe. “I’ve felt close to the 720S GT3 project from the beginning. McLaren kept me updated though its development stages during 2018 and I felt privileged to be one of the first customers to take part in Portimão last September.
“For me the car has a great track presence and it is a significant step up from the 650S GT3 with which Balfe Motorsport and I, with Rob by my side, enjoyed great success. The 720S GT3 had a strong competitive debut at the Gulf 12 Hours which bodes well for us. I’m very excited for the 2019 and looking forward to the journey ahead.”
“I am really excited to be racing alongside Shaun and working with the whole team at Balfe Motorsport for another season in British GT, and I am extremely proud to be representing McLaren Automotive with the new 720S GT3,” commented Rob Bell. “The development programme for the car has been intense, testing throughout Europe and the Middle East in a variety of conditions, and I have been really impressed with the results we have achieved.
“I feel the team and the car are in a strong position to challenge from the first round and, after a long winter, I am feeling more confident and motivated than ever to fight for results and I’m really looking forward to working with Shaun to show what the 720S GT3 can do.”
Joining Shaun and Rob in the team is the previously announced duo of Graham Johnson and McLaren Young Professional driver Michael O’Brien, who will be racing as a GT4 Pro-Am pairing for 2019 in the McLaren 570S GT4. Johnson, 2016 GT4 champion in British GT is joined by O’Brien who narrowly missed out on the title himself last season, and the duo have their eyes firmly set on the title this time out.ulf 12 Hours in December, the 720S GT3 showed strong pace and huge potential, qualifying on the front row and eventually finishing an impressive fifth in the GT3 Pro class and eighth overall.