Button back to McLaren for GT3 e-sports series

The 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button returns to competition in a McLaren with the manufacturer’s own Customer Racing Team in the SRO e-sports series.

McLaren GT3 factory drivers Ben Barnicoat and Martin Kodrić, who most recently stunned with their performance at the Bathurst 12 Hour in January, have also joined the newly launched virtual race programme. The virtual race series pits professional drivers and e-sports stars against each other in McLaren 720S GT3s.

Former McLaren Grand Prix race-winner Jenson Button headed up the McLaren Automotive attack in a star-studded driver line-up for the 2020 SRO E-Sport GT Series, a new virtual race series that got underway in late-April. 

McLaren Automotive is being represented by 10 drivers in the SRO E-Sport GT Series, a five-round virtual race series been devised using Assetto Corsa Competizione, the official GT World Challenge Powered by AWS racing simulation game. 

With the SRO GT World Challenge motor racing series postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis, the online e-sports series has been developed around three classes competing in separate virtual races, followed by a grand finale race featuring the top performers in each class. 

Six McLaren Automotive drivers are taking part in the Pro Series for real-world competitors and a further four in the Silver Series for invited ‘sim’ drivers who have already established their driving credentials in simulated racing. The Series also features an Amateur class that will be decided by a public ‘hot-lap’ competition. 

2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button will headline the Pro class for McLaren. Button raced for McLaren for seven seasons – finishing the 2011 season as runner-up - before making a one-off final appearance in the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix.  

Following a career totalling 306 Grand Prix starts (joint fourth in the all-time list), Button made his e-sport debut with McLaren in the Formula 1 virtual Grand Prix earlier in April. With this experience under his belt, Button turned to virtual GT racing, mirroring his real-life position as a team owner in GT competition, where Jenson Team Rocket RJN runs a McLaren 720S GT3. 

McLaren 720S GT3

McLaren Customer Racing Factory driver Ben Barnicoat will represent newly established team 2Seas Motorsport. Barnicoat has raced for several McLaren Customer Racing teams, most recently playing a key role in the 720S GT3’s successful race debut at the end of 2018 and finishing 2nd overall at the 2020 Bathurst 12hr for Customer Racing Team 59Racing. 

Customer Racing Team 59Racing will field seasoned driver Martin Kodrić, who also claimed a class win in the Bathurst 12 Hour Race back in January. Kodrić is also due to compete in the Australian Endurance Championship. 

He finished third in the International GT Open last season, driving for McLaren Customer Racing team, Teo Martin Motorsport. 

Michael O’Brien, one of the drivers in the inaugural McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme (DDP) in 2018, will drive a McLaren Customer Racing-liveried 720S GT3. 

Two further 720S GT3 cars will line up on the virtual grid, entered by Customer Racing Teams Teo Martin Motorsport and Balfe Motorsport. 

Coverage of the 2020 SRO E-Sport GT Series will be provided across a range of channels, including the GT World YouTube and Dailymotion accounts and the SRO Motorsports Twitch and Facebook pages. 

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