Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse will return to the British GT Championship in 2016 with a fresh look after securing McLaren customer status, a 650S GT3 and two new drivers in the form of Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell.
The historic outfit has been a perennial championship challenger since entering the series in 2012 under the stewardship of Barwell Motorsport, whose trademark blue and black BMW Z4 GT3 helped Marco Attard secure the 2014 British GT Drivers’ crown.
But his decision to move with Barwell to the Blancpain Endurance Series sees two new faces joining Ecurie Ecosse’s British GT effort.
McCaig has played an integral role in the Scottish squad’s return to modern motorsport, finishing fifth overall with them in his only British GT campaign to date in 2012 before contesting the Blancpain Endurance Series and ELMS over the following three years.
The Scot was quick to pay tribute to the role Barwell had played in Ecurie Ecosse’s story.
“As this exciting chapter begins for Ecurie Ecosse, it brings our partnership with Barwell Motorsport to a close and I would like to take this opportunity to wish them all the best for the season ahead,” he said. “Barwell laid the foundations for my GT racing knowledge and I owe that to Mark Lemmer and his fantastic team.
“As for the season ahead, I’m looking forward to driving alongside Rob who has a wealth of experience and I am sure we will be challenging for top results from the first round.”
Meanwhile, McLaren factory driver Bell brings with him significant experience of the 650S GT3 as well as more than a decade of sportscar racing expertise and success.
But while the 36-year-old’s CV already includes two Blancpain Endurance Series victories, an Asian Le Mans Series GT class title and Gulf 12 Hours podium in the car, this will be his first full-time domestic programme since finishing fifth in the 2002 Formula Renault 2.0 UK championship.
“It is great to have the chance to race back on home soil,” said Bell. “Since joining McLaren GT as a Factory Driver in 2011 I have had the opportunity to race at some of the world’s most iconic circuits - Monza, the Nürburgring, Sepang and Spa to name a few – but it is always special to race back on my old stomping grounds with the support of the British fans, who are the best in the world.
“The British GT Championship has been growing in stature over the past few years, and this season looks set to be one of the toughest championships for me, the team and the 650S GT3, but I am confident in all parties being more up for the challenge. I am looking forward to working with Alasdair throughout the season, and it will be very special to have the opportunity to race with the iconic Ecurie Ecosse team – a team which has an unrivalled heritage in sportscar racing.”
McLaren GT managing director Andrew Kirkaldy added: “The level of competition in British GT has always been high but is rapidly becoming one of the world’s toughest GT3 championships, and it will be great to see a McLaren wearing the famous Ecurie Ecosse colours for the first time.
“The team are in a great position going in to the championship assault, and Rob [Bell] brings significant experience which will help them hit the ground running from the first round. He will be a great partner for Alasdair in terms of his significant experience of the 650S GT3 and also his knowledge of the British circuits.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Despite spending more than a decade racing GT cars in a variety of series all over the world Rob Bell has contested just one British GT round. In August 2010 he and brother Matt were G4 class victors at Silverstone aboard a United Autosports-run Ginetta G50. He therefore heads into this year’s opening weekend at Brands Hatch eager to protect a 100% winning record!