Frenchman Kevin Estre has landed a factory McLaren GT deal after his impressive showing at the Baku FIA GT Series finale with the Hexis Racing squad.
Estre, who won last year’s Porsche Carrera Cup in Germany, was given a test by McLaren at Paul Ricard after finishing on the podium in the main event in Azerbaijan aboard the Hexis team’s MP4-12C and impressed sufficiently to be added to the British manufacturer’s roster of GT drivers.
McLaren GT boss Andrew Kirkaldy said: “The guys at Hexis were very complimentary about Kevin, so we took him to Ricard after Baku to have a closer look at him.
“We had decided that we weren’t going to have any more factory drivers, but he did such a good job and was so impressive that we felt we should bring him on board.”
Estre added: “I’m delighted and very honoured at the trust placed in my by Martin Whitmarsh [McLaren Formula 1 team principal and outgoing group CEO] and Andrew Kirkaldy, and feel really proud to join the team at McLaren GT.
“Becoming a factory driver with McLaren is a dream come true.”
Estre’s programme with McLaren has yet to be determined, but it is likely he will contest the Blancpain Endurance Series with one of the marque’s customer teams.
“We imagine that he will be out in an all-pro car in the BES and he will also probably have another programme was well,” explained Kirkaldy.
Estre’s deal with McLaren will take precedence over his drive with Park Place Motorsports Porsche team in the United SportsCar Championship.
Rob Bell and Alvaro Parente are the only other McLaren GT factory drivers after Alexander Sims’ contract was not renewed.