McLaren could make Le Mans return
By Mat Coch
Sunday 7th March, 2021 - 9:36am
McLaren is open to the prospect of returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans but is firmly focused on Formula 1 for the moment.
World Endurance Championship regulations from this season allow for Hypercars in its top class, racing against paritised LMP1 machinery, which is set to be phased out.
Toyota, Alpine, and Glickenhaus are all set to compete this year, while Ferrari has announced it will join the fray in 2023.
“We could, and we might,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown said when asked about a possible Le Mans return for the marque.
“But right now, we are, continue to be, and always will be, laser focused on Formula 1.
“That’s the most important racing activity in McLaren’s world.
“WEC is, and Le Mans is, of interest to us, but it has to be the right time, right place, right resources and needs to stand on its own two feet,” he added.
“It’s still early days while being under review.
“We want to make sure we continue to invest everything we have in our Formula 1 team before we take on any incremental efforts.”
McLaren has previously competed at La Sarthe, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Gordon Murray designed McLaren F1 GTR in 1995.
The team’s founder, Bruce McLaren, was part of the 1966 winning effort with Chris Amon in a Ford GT40.
Among its road cars, the McLaren Senna is an obvious fit for WEC’s Hypercar regulations, with a GTR version having already been made.
Last year, McLaren expanded its racing efforts into North America, returning to IndyCar competition for the first time since the 1970s.
However, Brown suggests that move was made more for marketing reasons than sporting interest.
“We’ve added IndyCar successfully to our programme, and that’s really to cover off on the North American marketplace for our partners,” he explained.
“We’ve been able to bring our title sponsor, Arrow Electronics, over from our IndyCar team to join us in Formula 1.
“All roads lead to supporting our Formula 1 efforts.”