British racing driver and sim racer, James Baldwin, will join Garage 59 to compete in this summer’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa. Baldwin will join Nicolai Kjærgaard, Manuel Maldonado and Ethan Simioni, to complete the line-up in the #159 Silver Cup McLaren 720S GT3.
For a driver who competes in both the virtual and real worlds of racing, the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe is the perfect series as some of the drivers can earn extra points via the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series.
After winning the World’s Fastest Gamer competition in 2019, James was awarded a drive in the 2020 British GT Championship where he raced a McLaren 720S GT3 for Team Rocket RJN. He also continues to race with Veloce Esports, competing in major international Esports events and Championships.
The #159 McLaren crew started the Endurance Cup season with a podium finish at Imola but at the next race at Paul Ricard they were out on Lap 1 after a competitor spun out right in front of them. This has made them more determined than ever to get a good Endurance result at the series’ blue riband event at Spa and Baldwin is more than ready to play his part.
“I’m over the moon to be racing in the Spa 24 Hours and making the jump again from virtual racing to real racing, which is always my primary purpose, and what an opportunity!” said Baldwin. “Hopefully it’s the start of a longer journey back in real racing as I’ve had two years away after my debut season in British GT but even if it’s just this one race I know I am very fortunate and I want to make the most of it with Garage 59, a great, well-established team.
“I’d really like to thank Travel Planet who continue to put their trust in me, something for which I am very grateful. Thanks also to Chris Buncombe who has given me such great advice over the past year. I love the McLaren 720S GT3; I’ve been driving it in Esports for two years and raced it in British GT. I absolutely love the car, I have great team mates, I’m ready for the challenge and I can’t wait to get started.”
The #188 Pro-Am McLaren will also have a strengthened line up as Sprint Cup regular Dean Macdonald will join Alexander West, Miguel Ramos and recent Le Mans winner Henrique Chaves. With two Endurance Cup podium finishes already in the bag, the #188 crew will be looking to continue this strong run of performances.
“I’m very excited to be joining the team at the Spa 24 Hour race this year,” said Macdonald. “It will be my first 24 hour race and I’m sure it will be a great experience. It is a good chance for us as a team to pick up a lot of points towards the Championship and I am confident that we have a strong line up and car to compete for the win in the Pro-Am class. It is obviously a very demanding race, not only for the cars but the entire team so I am looking forward to that challenge as well.”
The two-day Official Spa Test gets underway tomorrow and the 2022 TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa takes place on 30/31 July.