McLaren GT has confirmed today at the Autosport International Show the launch of the McLaren GT Young Driver Programme. Ahead of the 2015 GT season, which will see McLaren GT customer teams racing the new 650S GT3 in a number of championships across the world. Drivers Ross Wylie (Scotland, 23) and Andrew Watson (Northern Ireland, 19) will work with McLaren GT, and the existing trio factory drivers of Rob Bell, Kevin Estre and Alvaro Parente to further enhance their skills and knowledge for a competitive career in GT racing. The McLaren GT Young Driver Programme announcement follows a successful 2014 season, which was brought to a close with a successful competitive debut for the new 650S GT3 at the Gulf 12 Hours. The two young additions to the team mark the start of an exciting year for the Woking based manufacturer. Each young driver has shown promise over the past few years, and been closely monitored by a team at McLaren GT keen to nurture home-grown talent. Spearheading this search has been McLaren GT Managing Director, Andrew Kirkaldy, a former McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner.
Andrew Kirkaldy, Managing Director, McLaren GT:
‘It is great that we are in the position to offer these promising young drivers an opportunity to become part of our team, and help give them a boost with their careers. The GT racing scene is as exciting now as I can ever remember, and there is a huge amount of talent on every grid week-in week-out, so it can be difficult for young drivers to get on the first rung of the ladder to show their true potential. This programme is designed to offer young drivers we feel have something special a chance to show what they can do behind the wheel of a GT car, and also work closely with our drivers, engineers and technical teams, giving them access to many years of race- and championship-winning experience at the highest levels.’
Joining up with McLaren GT, the young drivers will benefit from involvement in the extensive development testing programmes throughout 2015 undertaken by McLaren GT for the 650S Sprint and 650S GT3, They will take an active role in driver tuition with the calendar of Pure McLaren track driving experiences, as well as having direct access to various aspects of the business including simulator testing, driver coaching and management, and media activities from a team of experts with a wealth of motorsport knowledge. These are all key elements which a factory has access to in order to help the development of the cars, the business and the drivers’ own personal careers.
Ross Wylie, McLaren GT young driver
‘I am delighted to announce that I will be joining the McLaren GT Young Driver Programme. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to become involved with McLaren, which is such a famous name in motorsport, and to have access to the people, technology and levels of support, both on and off the track, is a dream come true. I look forward to working with my new teammate and the whole McLaren GT team this year.’
Andrew Watson, McLaren GT young driver
‘I am thrilled to have been given such an opportunity with McLaren GT. I have been working hard to improve and progress my career over the past few seasons, so to have this recognised by McLaren is a real honour. The 2015 season is going to be big for McLaren GT with the launch of the 650S GT3, and I hope that I can help the team progress, while also gaining valuable knowledge and experience from one of the most famous names on the grid to take my career to the next level. I look forward to working with Ross and the rest of the team in 2015.’
More details on the McLaren GT Young Driver Programme, and the 2015 season plans for Ross Wylie and Andrew Watson will be announced in the coming weeks.