The winner of the French enduro in 1995 has announced its intent to participate in the replacement for the GTE Am category and that it has nominated United, which is co-owned by McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown, as its representative.
The Anglo-American team, which took LMP2 victory at Le Mans in 2020 and the WEC title in 2019-20, has communicated its intent to race in the 2024 series with a pair of McLaren 720S EVOs to series organisers the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.
Its request will go before the FIA/ACO selection committee following the closing date for entries in November.
McLaren won Le Mans on debut in 1995 with the F1 GTR, which in short and then long-tailed forms remained part of the grid until 1998.
Its return to the 24 Hours and entry into the WEC has been paved by the adoption of the FIA’s GT3 class as the replacement for the GTE ruleset.
Should the entries be accepted, it means that United will maintain a presence in the WEC dating back to 2019-20 when it won the LMP2 class at the first attempt.
McLaren won on its Le Mans 24 Hours debut in 1995
United’s involvement in the full series had looked likely to come to an end with the demise of the P2 class at the conclusion of this season.
The team has run McLarens in the past – it fielded the MP4-12C GT3 in a number of championships, including the Blancpain Endurance Series and British GT, in 2012-14, and won the European GT4 Series with the 570S in 2021.
Michael Leiters, boss of McLaren Automotive, said: “Motorsport remains a fundamental part of McLaren’s future of performance strategy, and we have long viewed the WEC as a natural fit for demonstrating the performance capabilities of our cars.
“This includes a return to Le Mans, which is an intrinsic part of our enduring success in motorsport.
“We have selected United Autosports, which we feel shares our passion for endurance GT racing as well as the McLaren brand and, like McLaren, has a history of success.
“We hope that United’s entries will be accepted and are looking forward to racing our rivals in the WEC from 2024.”
United boss Richard Dean said: “This is a very important project for McLaren on its return to Le Mans, so we are extremely proud to have been selected as the team to represent McLaren in LMGT3.
“United’s experience at Le Mans and in the WEC will be invaluable, but we know this is a seriously competitive place to be and we are ready for the challenge.”
Richard Dean, United Autosport
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
Competition for places on the grid in LMGT3 is set to be intense, with WEC bosses promising priority for manufacturers that are represented in the Hypercar class.
That means Ferrari, Porsche, BMW and Lamborghini, as well as Lexus and Chevrolet (sister brands of Toyota and Cadillac respectively), appear to be guaranteed grid slots if requested.
Aston Martin as a long-term player in the WEC and from 2025 an entrant in the Hypercar class looks certain to be invited, as does Ford with its new Mustang GT3, which was launched at Le Mans in June.
Manufacturers will be given only two entries and are required to nominate a team to represent them.
It is unclear how many places will be available in LMGT3 with the growth of the Hypercar class.
ACO boss Pierre Fillon said last month that the series was looking at ways to increase the full-season entry to as many as 40 cars.
McLaren also has also outlined aspirations to race in Hypercar with an LMDh prototype.
Its plans are understood to remain current despite no recent proclamations on the subject.