One year ago, Garage 59 was busy preparing to race the McLaren 720S GT3 for the first time at the opening round of the Asian Le Mans Series in Dubai. Fast forward 12 months and the team has now earned trophies on 15 occasions with the McLaren, including four race victories and two championship titles. Now Garage 59 returns to the Asian Le Mans Series with a far greater understanding of McLaren’s GT3 challenger.
The #88 McLaren driver line-up remains unchanged from the team’s successful Gulf 12 Hours squad, which included Alexander West, Marvin Kirchhöfer and Benjamin Goethe. Even though the Gulf 12 Hours was Benji’s racing debut with the team and the McLaren, it proved a strong line-up, taking second place in Pro-Am and an impressive sixth place overall in the 12-hour race in Abu Dhabi.
“I’m very excited to be competing in Asian Le Mans,” said Goethe. “It’s my first time competing in this series and it’s great to be doing it with Garage 59 and McLaren. We had a successful race last time in Abu Dhabi and we want to continue that success with a good result in this championship.”
The #59 McLaren features a new line-up consisting of Rob Bell, British GT regular Nick Halstead and Monégasque-Italian racing driver Louis Prette.
Rob is a long-standing McLaren factory driver and well-known to Garage 59. He was part of the line-up that secured the team’s first championship win back in 2016.
Louis raced in Formula Renault and Formula 3 in Asia before making the switch to GT racing. Last year he raced in the Asian Le Mans Series and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I’m thrilled to join Garage 59 and McLaren for this year’s Asian Le Mans campaign!” said Prette. “It’s the perfect platform for me to get to know the team and the car in a short period of time as there is everything to learn for me. After scoring three podiums in this championship last year, I’m aiming for more this year with Garage 59!”
Nick Halstead is an experienced GT racer in both GT4 (2021 Vice Champion) and GT3 machinery. Most recently he raced the Fox Motorsport McLaren 720 GT3 in the 2022 British GT Championship, winning the Spa round.
“I’m really looking forward to joining the hugely experienced Garage 59 for my first appearance in the Asian Le Mans Series,” said Halstead. “To race at the iconic tracks of the Dubai Autodrome and Yas Marina Circuit, behind the wheel of the McLaren 720S is a dream come true. With such a competitive grid it’ll be some tough racing, but I’m up for the challenge.”
The 2023 Asian Le Mans Series gets underway at the Dubai Autodrome on February 11th.
#59 McLaren 720S GT3: Rob Bell – Nick Halstead – Louis Prette
#88 McLaren 720S GT3: Alexander West - Marvin Kirchhöfer – Benjamin Goethe