Garage 59 confirms Asian Le Mans Series rosters for first McLaren 720S GT3 effort


Garage 59 will debut its newly acquired McLaren 720S GT3s in the Asian Le Mans Series next month along with two new ranges.

The team took delivery of two brand new cars ahead of the Christmas holidays, which are now fully prepared and delivered, bearing race numbers 59 and 88 for the season which begins at Dubai Autodrome on 12 February.

Three new drivers to the team join the effort: Frank Bird, Manuel Maldonado and James Vowles.

James Vowles is more familiar with a seat on the pit wall than in a race car as he is chief strategist for the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 team. It doesn’t mark a potential fallback option for the team should Lewis Hamilton decide to end his career, but the timing of the series is rather ideal to allow Vowles to enjoy motorsport from the driver’s seat before returning to his day job for departure. of the Formula 1 season.

British racer Frank Bird has extensive racing experience, from junior single-seater classes to GT racing and rallying, most recently competing in the GT World Challenge Europe.

Venezuelan Maldonado came through the ranks of single-seater racing before switching to sports cars in 2020. He is in great form at Le Mans Asia, winning the LMP3 class of the series last year after winning both Dubai races and one of the Abu Dhabi races for United Autosports.

#59 McLaren 720S GT3: Nicolai Kjaergaard – Manuel Maldonado – James Vowles
#88 McLaren 720S GT3: Alexander West – Marvin Kirchhofer – Frank Bird

The #59 McLaren will be driven in the Asian Le Mans Series by Danish driver and Garage 59 regular, Nicolai Kjærgaard, who will be joined by Manuel Maldonado and James Vowles.

Alexander West scored his first podium of the season at the second of two Asian Le Mans races in Dubai last year. He returns to the Asian Le Mans Series in 2022, driving the #88 McLaren 720S GT3 with Marvin Kirchhöfer and Frank Bird.

German racer and McLaren works driver Kirchhöfer made his Garage 59 debut at the 2020 Ricard 1000km where his blistering run to the checkered flag sealed a GT World Challenge Europe championship win for the team.

Garage 59 team principal Andrew Kirkaldy said: “I’m really happy with the driver rosters we’ve secured for Asian Le Mans. We are all looking forward to getting started with the McLaren 720S and hopefully getting our first win of the season. Of course, it will also be useful to have one of F1’s best strategists in the team.”

The 2022 Asian Le Mans Series starts on February 12 at Dubai Autodrome.

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