McLaren 650S GT3 Claims Class Victory At Sepang 12 Hours
When the McLaren 650S GT3 debuted, we were desperate to see just how well it would perform, and if it was actually worthy of the GT3 name. It has indeed performed well, and has now achieved a total of 24 wins since February of this year. Its most recent win came at Sepang this weekend after a grueling and challenging 12-hour race.
Racing in the Pro-AM category, McLaren factory driver Alvaro Parente and young driver Andrew Watson came together with Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Andrea Caldarelli from McLaren customer racing team FFF-Racing. As the race started, Parente ran the 650S steady in third place. It wasn’t until the first round of pitstops that the FFF-Racing team dropped down to fourth position. From there, they held that position until it began to rain and conditions became so bad the red flag flew and the safety car came out. By the time rain passed, the #55 650S GT3 was leading the Pro-AM class and ran consistently lap after lap.
The track remained wet through the end of the race, but the 493-horsepower McLaren 650S GT3 continued to hold its position, eventually finishing fourth overall and first in the Pro-AM class with Andrea Caldarelli behind the wheel. It should be noted that this was Andrew Watson’s first endurance race, but that was far from evident as he displayed excellent skill and drive to keep the 650S at the top of its class. The victory at Sepang has made 2015 the most successful campaign for McLaren GT since its debut, and this challenging race has given us even more reason to look forward to the next race in 2016.
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Why it matters
This was a great victory for both McLaren and FFF-Racing. FFF racing has already had a rather strong season, and this win is a good way to end out the year. As far as the McLaren and the 650S goes, both have proven they are a force to be reckoned with. As Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GT Managing Director, put it:
“The 650S GT3 has enjoyed a rich run of success this season with our customer teams across the world which started back in February. Since then, each of the teams have put the cars through the most rigorous and challenging season across the globe, and the competition on the grids has been of the highest level I can recall. Despite these demands, the 650S GT3 has proven itself as the car to beat on all continents and in each series.”
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to 2016 and how McLaren and its customer racing teams perform. McLaren fell shy of getting that podium finish in this last race, but the heart of each driver was in it 110 percent. Maybe if it wasn’t for that heavy rain, the 650S might have finished in the top three.
Read our full review on the McLaren 650S GT3 here.