McLaren set to join Super GT grid with 720S

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McLaren set to join Super GT grid with 720S
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Co-author: Kunihiko Akai
Dec 31, 2018, 9:56 AM

McLaren is set to be represented in the Japan-based Super GT series next year with its all-new 720S GT3.

Motorsport.com understands that Team Goh, which has a long history of sportscar competition in both Europe and Japan, has purchased a 720S GT3 to enter in Super GT's GT300 division in 2019.

Team Goh essentially replaces the Team Taisan Audi squad, which is quitting the series, on the GT300 grid next year.

The squad's solo entry will be shared by veteran Seiji Ara, who was a member of Team Goh's 2004 Le Mans 24 Hours-winning squad alongside Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello, and Formula 3 graduate Alex Palou.

Spanish youngster Palou is no stranger to racing in Japan, as he contested the All-Japan Formula 3 series in 2017. He also took part in the Super Formula rookie test earlier this month with Nakajima Racing and is in contention for a 2019 race seat with the team.

Ara meanwhile is set for a comeback to Super GT competition after a year away, having been part of BMW Team Studie's line-up in the GT300 class from 2014-17.

McLaren's new 720S replaces the old 650S as the British marque's GT3 car next year, and made its race debut in the Gulf 12 Hours this month (pictured above).

Shane van Gisbergen, Alvaro Parente and Ben Barnicoat took the new machine to eighth place overall after their victory bid was derailed by a late suspension problem.

McLaren has a long history in Super GT and its forerunner the All-Japan GT Championship, with David Brabham and John Nielsen winning the JGTC title in 1996 in a Team Goh-run F1 GTR.

The F1 GTR (pictured below in 2002) continued to be raced in the top GT500 division as late as 2005.

Its last race victory came at the now-disused Mine circuit in 2001 with Andre Couto and Hideki Okada, which remains the last outright win for a non-Japanese make in Super GT/JGTC.

Hideki Okada/Haruki Kurosawa

Hideki Okada/Haruki Kurosawa

Photo by: Hiroshi Yamamura

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About this article

Series Super GT
Drivers Seiji Ara , Alex Palou
Author Jamie Klein