Formula Renault 3.5 runner-up Stoffel Vandoorne will make his sports car debut in the Baku FIA GT Series finale next month at the wheel of a McLaren MP4-12C.
Vandoorne, who is part of the McLaren Formula 1 team’s young driver development squad, will contest the Azerbaijan street race on Nov. 24 with the Boutsen Ginion team after taking part in development testing on the GT project during the summer.
McLaren GT team principal Andrew Kirkaldy explained that he had called on the 21-year-old Belgian for testing duties with the new MP4-12C Sprint track day car.
“During development of the Sprint, we were short of drivers and I spoke to Sam Michael [sporting director at the F1 team]. I also ran into Stoffel at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and he told me that he was interested in having a go in a MP4-12C.
“He came along to a test track in Spain. He ran for three days and didn’t put a foot wrong. That obviously fired his interest and we received an e-mail from Boutsen asking if we had any objection to him racing at Baku. McLaren is very happy for him to get some more experience.”
Vandornne, who tested the GT3 version of the McLaren at Zolder for Boutsen two weeks ago, will share one of two cars entered by the Belgian team at Baku with fellow countryman and Blancpain Endurance Series regular Frederic Vervisch.
“This is quite different from FR3.5, but I’m looking forward to the experience,” said Vandoorne.
The second car will be raced by McLaren GT factory driver Alexander Sims and Step Dusseldorp, who were teammates in Blancpain this year with the Hexis McLaren team.