McLaren looking at WEC and IMSA programmes

Jamie Woodhouse

McLaren fire up Mercedes-powered MCLM35 for the first time.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says the team are “looking at racing” in the World Endurance Championship and the International Motor Sports Association’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The company has expressed their interest in both series before, but the plans for the WEC and IMSA to merge their top prototype categories into one class, to be known as LMDh, for ‘Le Mans Daytona hybrid’, has grabbed McLaren’s interest.

With now only one programme to maintain under these plans it makes a full-time entry more affordable for McLaren alongside their Formula 1 and IndyCar entries.

The specific details of this merger are yet to be released. Hopefully it will be made at the Le Mans 24 Hour Race which has been postponed until September, but either way, Brown confirmed that McLaren are looking at entering.

“It is something that we’re looking at,” he told RACER magazine.

“I think in an ideal world, that would be our motorsport portfolio: Formula 1, IndyCar and sports cars.

“They all serve different purposes and they’re all complimentary of each other.”

Brown, who co-owns the United Autosports sports car team with Richard Dean, was clear though that McLaren still needed to see the full plan for this merger before deciding their next move.

“We’ve got to take a ‘one step at a time’ approach,” he said.

“We’ve got our Formula 1 heading in the right direction, now we’ve just entered IndyCar, and we’ve been waiting to see what happens with the rules on sports cars.

“It looks like it’s going to land in the right place [although] I’m unsure if it’s going to be for 2022 or 2023.”

The current global health crisis is also a big factor for Brown.

“I think once we pull through this and I feel Formula 1 is continuing to go in the right direction under Andreas [Seidl’s] leadership, IndyCar is going the right direction, then I might get brave and start working on the next business plan,” he explained.

“These decisions, just like IndyCar, it took us some time to get that put together and we had some stops and starts.

“We had some good days and definitely some bad days, if not my worst day in racing.

“But you’ve got to get back on the horse and go. If I can put together a front-running, financially sustainable plan, then I think we would enter sports cars.”

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