Jota Sport returns to the grid of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS in 2021 with a works-supported McLaren 720S GT3. Aboard the McLaren will be top guns Rob Bell and Ben Barnicoat together with newly-promoted Ollie Wilkinson for a full factory driver line-up.
The British team – best known for its successes in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship –last competed in the GT3 championship in 2019 when it was tasked with running the R-Motorsport Aston Martins.
Along with the announcement that he will race with Jota this year, it was also announced that Ollie Wilkinson has been promoted from McLaren Professional Driver to full works driver.
“I’m incredibly proud to become a McLaren Factory Driver,” said Ollie Wilkinson. “It’s mind-blowing to have achieved this at such an early stage of my career. I thank McLaren for this opportunity and for putting so much belief in me.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join the Jota team. Over the past two decades, they have proved they’ve got what it takes to win titles at every level and to be joining them as part of an all-McLaren factory driver line-up is epic. It’s great to have Ben and Rob as my team-mates and I hope between us we can get the job done.”
The 24-year-old teams up with 2016 Blancpain GT Endurance Cup champion Rob Bell and Ben Barnicoat – the latter with whom Wilkonson will also contest the GTWC Europe Sprint Cup.
The partnership with McLaren has special meaning to team co-owner David Clark who was closely involved in the McLaren F1 GTR project that was so successful in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the BPR Global GT Series during the mid-90s.
“The last time I was involved with a McLaren motorsport program was as a director of McLaren Cars from 1994- 97,” said David Clark.
“It was the era in which we famously won the 24 Hours of Le Mans at our first attempt. We also took multiple race wins and two titles in the BPR Global Endurance championship.
“I am an enormous fan of the McLaren brand and thrilled to return with JOTA for the 2021 season. Both McLaren and JOTA have similar DNA in the sense of a great depth in engineering capability and a winning mentality.
“Both my partner, Sam Hignett, and I have worked enormously hard to make JOTA not just a winning team but also a fun one to be around, so I think the collaboration between McLaren and JOTA together with three Factory Drivers will become a major force in GT racing.”
“It’s tremendously exciting for us to have Jota onboard for 2021, with three McLaren Factory Drivers also involved in the programme,” McLaren Customer Racing director Ian Morgan added.
“The team’s vast experience and success in endurance racing and professionalism will, I’m confident, allow them to compete at the highest level throughout 2021 in the 720S GT3.
“I’m also delighted to see Oliver Wilkinson step up to a full McLaren factory driver programme this year, supported by both Rob Bell and Ben Barnicoat, and I look forward to watching his progression.”
The 2021 season of the GTWC Europe is scheduled to start on 16-18 April in Monza. The annual pre-season test will be held on 25-26 March at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Photo by Khyzyl Saleem.
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