Australian GT race winner Fraser Ross will join forces with McLaren factory driver Alvaro Parente for the final two rounds of the 2017 Australian Endurance Championship.
The pair will share duties behind the wheel of the YNA Autosport/McElrea Racing McLaren 650S GT3 for both legs of the New Zealand 1001, which will take in the Hampton Downs 500 and Highlands 501.
It will mark Parente’s Australian Endurance Championship debut when he takes to the Hampton Downs circuit next weekend (October 27-29).
A very talented and exciting GT driver, Parente was part of 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour winning team, and comes fresh from the California 8 Hour at Laguna Seca last weekend where he raced to third for K-PAX Racing.
“To have Alvaro is a big boost, not just for the team but for myself to be partnered with him,” explained Ross.
“We met at the Bathurst 12 Hour, and we’ve spoken all year – he sent me a nice text after I won at Sandown, which was really good!
“I’ve a really good rapport with him, so I’m really looking forward to it.”
Ross’ Australian Endurance Championship campaign got off to a supreme start courtesy of a podium at the Phillip Island 500, and believes things are looking equally strong heading into the final two rounds of the season.
“We feel we’ve now made a step in the right direction with the car, but with the experience and knowledge that Alvaro has it’s only going to boost that for Hampton Downs and Highlands,” Ross said.
“McElrea Racing have done a number of things with the car and turned it around from a tough Sydney Motorsport Park 501 to Sandown, where the track wasn’t as well suited to the McLaren, to where it turned out to be our strongest weekend to date.”
To celebrate their journey across the Tasman, the YNA Autosport/McElrea Racing entry will feature a new livery paying homage to McLaren’s deep motorsport heritage and New Zealand roots.
The livery proudly displays the original McLaren Racing Team logo, made famous by the marque’s founder Bruce McLaren during the early 1960s as the fledgeling marque established itself on the world motorsport scene.
“I think it’s fantastic to go back where McLaren originated from with this livery, I’m a big fan of McLaren so it’s great,” Ross enthused.
“To have this level of heritage with a race car, and a factory driver like Alvaro, is really a highlight of my career.”
Ross and Parente will take to the Hampton Downs circuit next Friday (October 27) for opening practice for Round 3 of the Australian Endurance Championship before the gruelling 500km race on Sunday (October 29).
They’ll then head to New Zealand’s south island for the season-ending Highlands 501 on November 10-12 to round out season 2017.
Art Dept October 25, 2017
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