The Supercars champions are set to share a YNA Autosport factory-backed McLaren 650 GT3 with Côme Ledogar at Mount Panorama
The French McLaren ace is set to be joined by two Supercars champions in Triple Eight teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes in the 2018 Australian endurance classic.
Lowndes is a three-time Supercars champion, has six victories in the Bathurst 1000 and won the 12 Hour last year sharing a Maranello Motorsport Ferrari with Jamie Whincup and factory Ferrari GT star Toni Vilander. He also won the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2014.
Van Gisbergen has become known outside the Antipodes for his GT exploits; he’s raced for Alex Job at the Daytona 24 and was crowned 2016 Blancpain GT Endurance Cup winner in a Garage 59-run McLaren alongside Ledogar and Rob Bell.
Kiwi star van Gisbergen was clearly excited to get back into GT3 racing after Supercars date clashes prevented any major races outside the series last year. “It’s good to team up with Côme again, I drove with him in 2016 when we won the Blancpain Endurance Series in a McLaren 650S GT3, and driving with Craig to help him defend his 2017 title
Jamie Whincup, teammate to Lowndes and van Gisbergen has already been confirmed in a Mercedes AMG GT3 run by Scott Taylor Motorsport, who came close to winning last year’s edition with van Gisbergen before a series of late-race incidents ended their challenge. He shares with IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar regulars Tristan Vautier and Kenny Habul, with Supercars driving standards adviser Craig Baird anchoring the other STM Mercedes.
As well as supporting Lowndes and van Gisbergen’s YNA Autosport effort, McLaren are involved in the Objective Racing team’s challenge, who are fielding Brad Jones Racing Supercars man Tim Slade in their driver squad.
Other Supercars drivers taking the opportunity to race GT3 machinery include Chaz Mostert, who adds a ride in an M6 GT3 with BMW DTM racers Marco Wittman and Timo Glock to his 2018 schedule.
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours has become one of the high points of the international GT calendar and a chance for regular drivers elsewhere to knock off the rust from the off season. It now forms part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, with the Spa 24 Hours, Suzuka 10 Hours and California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca.
This year’s race takes place from the 2-4 February 2018.