Tekno Autosports is confident of a strong title defence at this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour despite a number of changes to the McLaren team’s driving roster.
Factory ace Alvaro Parente is the only carry-over from last year’s race-winning car, with Shane van Gisbergen moving to Scott Taylor Motorsport and team owner Jonathon Webb stepping back from driving duties.
Parente will instead be joined by Rob Bell, who drove in the team’s second car in 2016, and Bathurst debutant Come Ledogar, who raced for Tekno at last year’s Australian GT finale at Highlands Motorsport Park.
The Portuguese is upbeat despite the upheaval, having driven with both Briton Bell and Frenchman Ledogar for Garage 59 in last year’s Blancpain GT Series.
“I’m feeling good, everyone’s looking very strong,” Parente told Speedcafe.com.
“Given that we all work together and that we are all factory drivers for McLaren GT we know each other well.
“We all get along too, it’s going to be different but it should be alright we’re all working hard.
“It’s the first time Come’s come to this track so I think he will take a little bit to adapt but it should be alright, he’s working very hard and he won the (Blancpain) Endurance Cup last year.
“Rob’s a great driver, he was here last year for the first time and he was doing a really, really good job until he had a small incident with someone at the beginning of the race.
“We’re all looking forward to the race and hopefully have a good, clean race.”
Parente nevertheless acknowledges the threat of his former team-mate van Gisbergen, who will join Craig Baird and Maro Engel in a highly-fancied Mercedes AMG GT GT3 combination.
“He’s a threat all the time, isn’t he? I mean, defending champion in Supercars, and in the 12 Hour race with me,” he added.
“He’s super-quick so it’s going to be challenging, it’s going to be a nice fight.”
Defending Bathurst 1000 winner and Tekno Supercars driver Will Davison will be joined by Britons Jonny Kane and Ben Barnicoat in the team’s sister #59 entry.