Motorsport News: McLaren Eyes Return to Le Mans 24 Hours Glory with Sportscar Campaign

    Zak Brown, the boss of McLaren Racing, has revealed that the British marque’s ambitions to repeat its 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours victory remain on track, with the recent extension of the current prototype regulations until 2029 providing a significant boost.

    Speaking about the decision to extend the lifecycle of the Le Mans Hypercar and LMDh regulations by two years beyond 2027, Brown stated that this has given McLaren “more breathing space” as they consider a return to the pinnacle of sportscar racing. “Costs in all motorsport are critically important and I think the extension definitely helps our business model that we have laid out internally,” he said.

    A Potential Return to Endurance Racing

    The McLaren CEO confirmed that an entry into either the Hypercar or GTP classes of the respective World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA SportsCar Championships is “more when than if”, emphasizing the brand’s desire to compete at the highest level of endurance racing.

    Brown revealed that McLaren is “looking at all the scenarios” with regards to its first top-flight sportscar campaign since the F1 GTR programme of the 1990s, with the LMDh category being the “more favourable” option. The team’s current LMGT3 class campaign in the WEC this year could also be crucial in paving the way for a step up in class, as Brown explained that it will provide valuable insight into the commercial market and the level of support they can garner.

    Balancing Priorities

    However, Brown stressed that it will be important that a top-flight sportscar programme doesn’t distract from McLaren Racing’s other activities in Formula 1, IndyCar, Formula E and Extreme E. “If we take on another project we have to make sure it doesn’t disrupt our other activities,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Michael Leiters, the CEO of McLaren Automotive, insisted that no key technical decisions about a potential LMDh project have been made, including the choice of engine. “First we have to decide when and how to do it, and then we come to the engine,” he explains, emphasizing the importance of ensuring competitiveness without compromising their road car programmes.

    “The recent extension of the prototype regulations has undoubtedly provided McLaren with a renewed opportunity to make a return to the pinnacle of sportscar racing, and the team’s fans will be eagerly awaiting further updates on their plans for the future.”

    🔗 Source