Rob Bell Joins McLaren GT and Prepares to Race the MP4-12C GT3
12th January 2012
Leading sportscar driver, Rob Bell, has joined McLaren GT as a works driver and will campaign one of the new MP4-12C GT3 race cars with a customer team this season. The multi-year deal is a significant move for the Le Mans Series title-winning driver, who has enjoyed successful campaigns with Ferrari and Aston Martin sportscars in previous years.
Bell is relishing the challenge ahead, saying, "I was invited to drive at the Spa 24 Hour race last year and was very impressed with the potential of this ground-breaking British sports racing car, the aspirations of the company as a manufacturer of luxury sportscars and the plans for its racing programme. I hope that joining the McLaren fold will give me the opportunity to work closely with the manufacturer in the coming years as well as being behind the wheel racing the MP4-12C GT3.
"With McLaren's history of success in motorsport and their ethos of being out there to win, I believe that I've linked with one of the most exciting companies within sportscar racing of this century. Of course the car was the most important consideration in my decision, but after driving at Spa I knew that it had all the ingredients to be a world-beater. It was still very young in its development when I drove it, but even then it showed it had the outright pace, the balance of the car was good and the level of performance showed there was plenty of potential.
Bell adds, "Getting behind the wheel and working with McLaren GT and a customer team to start developing the car is the challenge which I'm looking forward to and the season couldn't start soon enough for me. I'm keen to get immersed in the technologies and engineering of the car to fully appreciate its capabilities and extract the best from the car out on track."
The 12C GT3 is a unique technical concept in sportscar racing. It features McLaren's one-piece moulded carbon MonoCell chassis and technology normally reserved for Formula 1 race cars. The 12C GT3 has been specified and developed by a team comprising senior personnel from McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive and successful GT car race team CRS Racing.
Rob Bell Biography
Double Le Mans Series champion, Rob is a respected British sportscar driver with a wealth of experience. Rob has raced sportscars for seven years, winning the Le Mans Series title in 2008 and 2009, and additionally racing in the FIA GT, ALMS and Grand-Am series.
Rob began his racing career in karting and enjoyed early success at international level. Moving to single seaters in 1998, Rob started in the Formula Vauxhall Junior championship, progressing to British Formula Ford and then on to Formula Renault, taking the Formula Renault Winter Championship title in 2002 and 2003. He became a front runner in the British and European championships, scoring regular pole positions and podium finishes in Renault V6 (now called World Series by Renault).
Turning to sportscars in 2005, Rob quickly established himself as a strong competitor, winning the GT1 LMES 6 hours of Nurburgring in the first race of his debut season. In 2007 and 2008 he claimed the Le Mans Series Champion title and since that time he has competed in every major sportscar series and blue riband event. With five Le Mans 24 Hour race starts, Sebring 12 Hours, Petit Le Mans, Spa 24 Hours and Daytona 24 Hours to his name, Rob is one of the few top sportscar names who can speak from experience about all of these classic races. He has experience of a broad range of marques, with a breadth of knowledge which can help to assist a team in a car development programme, tyre testing and other technical evaluations, evidenced by his involvement with Ferrari and Dunlop for the last five years.
In addition to his race programmes, Rob has provided driver coaching services to a number of teams for a number of years and has been able to assist with young race driver development in both single seater and sportscar categories, counting three McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award winners – Alex Sims (2008), Dean Smith (2009) and Lewis Williamson (2010) - as his protégés.