Balon and Lotus champ Mackay confirmed for track-club McLaren
Track-club will return to the British GT Championship for the first time since 2015 this season after signing Adam Balon and Adam Mackay to race its new McLaren 570S GT4.
The Huntingdon-based squad has made sporadic appearances in the past, most recently entering a Lotus Evora GT4 at Spa-Francorchamps in July 2015, but this will be the first time it has committed to a full season in the championship.
Its junior national GT CV is second to none thanks to four MSA Lotus Cup titles and multiple Aston Martin GT4 Challenge wins. And that quality extends to its British GT driver line-up, which mixes youth and experience, as well as recent championship-winning pedigree.
Balon, whose only previous British GT appearance came with track-club (then known as track-group) at Spa two years ago, has competed with the team in various categories since 2014, including last season when together they finished third in the MSA Lotus Cup Supersport Championship.
Meanwhile, Balon’s co-driver Mackay - a former Scottish Formula Ford title winner - makes his British GT debut as the reigning Lotus Cup Supersport champion. The 19-year-old has also been part of Ecurie Ecosse’s Young Driver Programme, whose other members Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell gave the McLaren 570S GT4 its maiden British GT victory last season.
But despite winning two titles in as many seasons, Mackay isn’t underestimating the challenge British GT poses.
“I'm really excited about the opportunity to race with Adam in 2017,” he said. “Adam and I competed against each other in Lotus Cup UK last season and alongside each other at the Creventic Silverstone 24 Hours in April, so we've built a strong and understanding relationship over the course of 2016.
“He's a great team player and a fast learner so I think it's going to be amazing. However, we will both be rookies at this level of competition and so I feel it is important to have a lot of respect for our competitors and the strength of the field.”
Team boss Stephen Docherty believes Balon and Mackay’s year spent as Lotus team-mates could give them the edge over other new crews.
“As a team they work well together – they spent the season competing against each other in a Lotus but, within the same team, from the outset they were sharing data and working on finding pace,” he said.
“Adam Mackay, is I believe, a really exciting prospect. As a team we have had a lot of talented drivers work with us and he’s as good as anyone I’ve seen. His switch from single-seater to a ‘mini GT’ car was exceptional; with just over an hour’s practice in a car he lead the team to an Anglesey 1000kms win in 2015 and he dominated the 2016 Lotus series on sheer pace with a fraction of the seat time of the regular drivers.
“Adam Balon is a very disciplined intelligent driver who rarely makes mistakes that compromise the car. The additional level of competition that the British GT Championship brings will really motivate him to continue his development and I think he’ll be one of the top amateurs in GT4. With the exception of Rockingham they know all the circuits well and we have a pre-season testing plan in place that will start as soon as we take delivery of the car in February.”
This season’s British GT Championship gets underway at Oulton Park on April 15/17. Click here to purchase tickets - Adult prices start at just £19 and under-13s go free!
Plus, don’t forget there’s free general admission to our Media Day, which will be held at Snetterton on March 28!
Click here for a closer look at Mackay's career.