McLaren returning to the World Endurance Championship in 2024

29 November 2023 - 10:47
By Phuti Mpyane
McLaren is readying its comeback to the World Endurance Championship with the 720S GT3 Evo.
Image: Supplied McLaren is readying its comeback to the World Endurance Championship with the 720S GT3 Evo.

McLaren Automotive has confirmed it will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2024.

The company said it will field a pair of 720S GT3 EVO cars competing in the LMGT3 class and has nominated United Autosports as racing partners. A third McLaren entry is the 720S GT3 EVO of customer racing team Inception Racing. 

The decorated United Autosports squad has European Le Mans Series winner Marino Sato and former single-seater racer Gregoire Saucy as the first two confirmed drivers.

They join the 18-car LMGT3 grid that comprises Lamborghini Huracans, Aston Martin Vantages, Lexus RC Fs, BMW M4 GT3s, Chevrolet Corvettes Z06s, Ferrari 296s, Ford Mustangs and Porsche 911s. They also have as new competition MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi, who will make his WEC debut for Team WRT in the BMW M4 GT3. 

McLaren’s WEC campaign

McLaren’s first trip to Le Mans was in 1995 in the legendary McLaren F1 GTR. The intended production of three cars extended to nine due to great demand, and only this batch exists. 

The GTR’s first race was in the BPR Global GT Championship at Monza and the car won on debut. The GTR went on to win its first six races and then headed for the big one, the Le Mans 24 Hours. Six McLarens entered the race and came home first, third, fourth, fifth and 13th with one retiring due to a crash.

It also secured for McLaren a first: it is the only manufacturer to win the triple crown of the Formula 1 World Championship, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Soon after, McLaren exited endurance racing to focus on its Formula 1 exploits. 

The McLaren F1 GTR that won the 1995 Le Mans 24 hours.
Image: Supplied The McLaren F1 GTR that won the 1995 Le Mans 24 hours.

“We are delighted to have been confirmed for the 2024 WEC season and I would like to thank the Automobile Club de l’Ouest for our inclusion within a hugely competitive LMGT3 class.

“Motorsport is fundamental to our brand and we build our cars using technology from the racetrack to give them the supreme performance that our customers expect from a McLaren,” said Michael Leiters, CEO of McLaren Automotive.

The 2024 WEC commences on March 2 2024 in Qatar, the first round of eight in a championship that ends in Bahrain on November 2.