Published on May 29th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
McLaren 650S GT3 On Blancpain Endurance Series Podium
The McLaren 650S GT3 secured the top step of the podium in the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series with a convincing victory for McLaren GT customer team Von Ryan Racing at Silverstone. With factory drivers Rob Bell, Shane van Gisbergen and Kevin Estre at the wheel, this marks the first win in the Blancpain Endurance Series for the 650S GT3 in its competitive debut season.
Based on the groundbreaking 650S Coupe, the 650S GT3 has made a strong start to its competitive campaign in 2015, building on the third place finish scored by Von Ryan Racing with Bell and Estre when joined by fellow McLaren GT driver Alvaro Parente at the Gulf 12 Hour 2014. To date, the latest model from McLaren GT has secured podium finishes in five championships at circuits across North America, Portugal, the UK and France. The Von Ryan Racing team now lies second in the Blancpain Endurance Series Pro Cup standings, while fellow McLaren GT customer team K-PAX Racing / Flying Lizard Motorsports lead the Pirelli World Challenge manufacturer’s trophy in North America.
At Silverstone, the striking orange 650S GT3 wearing #58, showed early pace in qualifying, topping the timesheets at the end of the first session. The times continued to fall over the remaining qualifying sessions, and the Pro driver trio secured a 4th-place start for the three-hour endurance race.
Rob Bell, starting at his home race, showed his experience in the opening stint and was pushing hard for a podium place as the lights went green, moving up to 2nd shortly before a full course caution brought the race under yellow flags. A bold strategy call and quick work by the team saw Bell hand over to Shane van Gisbergen, making his Silverstone debut, rejoin the race with a lead of more than 40 seconds. The New Zealander continued where Bell had left off, and quickly found his rhythm in the 650S GT3, maintaining the lead as the final hour approached. The #59 Von Ryan Racing McLaren was challenging for a second podium position finish, before suffering heavy contact during the closing stages, forcing works driver Alvaro Parente to retire, but nothing was going to stop Kevin Estre on his final sprint to the finish. The young Frenchman brought the car home with a 23 second lead, securing the first victory for the 650S GT3 in the highly competitive Blancpain Endurance Series.