Tolman reaffirms British GT commitment despite DDP suspension
> Established GT4 title contenders seeking new drivers
> Existing DDP members retained for 2021
Tolman Motorsport remains hopeful of contesting this year’s Intelligent Money British GT Championship despite a mutual agreement with McLaren Customer Racing to suspend the manufacturer’s Driver Development Programme in 2020.
The squad was set to field McLaren’s latest intake of DDP members – Katie Milner, Harry Hayek, Michael Benyahia and Alain Valente – across two 570S GT4 cars this season after achieving considerable success with the programme in 2018 and ’19. Indeed, Tolman has finished second in the GT4 Teams’ standings for the last two years – by just 1.5 and one point, respectively – while Charlie Fagg and Michael O’Brien missed out on the 2018 Drivers’ title by two points.
It has also enjoyed a strong track record in GT4’s Pro/Am ranks where David Pattison came close to winning titles in 2015, ’17 and ’18.
Tolman, which has two British GT entries despite the DDP’s suspension, is now actively seeking drivers for its two McLarens. Equally, these entries could be upgraded to GT3 status subject to potential interest.
Tolman Managing Director, Christopher Tolman, said: “I’m very disappointed that the McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme will not be running at all in 2020, but understand McLaren’s position; it would not be right to continue under the current circumstances and compromise the programme.
“However, Tolman Motorsport remains positive and we’re focused on the potential opportunities this presents. We still have two British GT entries, race cars ready to compete in GT4 and the capacity to run GT3 campaigns for those who are looking for a professional, well-presented team with a track record for delivering success for its customers, and a strong reputation for working to the highest engineering standards. We would encourage anybody with ambitions to race in GT3 or GT4 to contact us.”
Any drivers eager to discuss potential opportunities should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, McLaren will retain its current DDP members Milner, Benyahia, Hayek and Valente for the 2021 season when their programmes will be fulfilled.
“This has been a difficult decision and has not been taken lightly, but our ability to facilitate a full Driver Development Programme in 2020 has been limited beyond our control by the on-going impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” added McLaren Customer Racing’s Director of Motorsport, Ian Morgan.
“We felt our current driver line-up would not receive the full benefit of the programme as it was intended, including the contribution from Tolman Motorsport, which has helped facilitate the smooth running of the programme on track with professionalism and attention to detail.
“We are now focusing on plans for next year and I am pleased to confirm that we will retain the four drivers in the 2020 line-up into 2021.”