When Hexis Racing announced that it would be competing in the French FFSA GT Championship, it also hinted that an additional international programme would soon be unveiled.
Less than a week later the French squad has announced that it will enter a McLaren MP4-12C in the Pro-Cup category in the Blancpain Endurance Series for three top-notch drivers: Alvaro Parente from Portugal, Alexander Sims from England and Dutchman Stef Dusseldorp.
Their stated objective is to win this championship, considered as the top-class Grand Touring series, and its blue riband event, the Spa 24 Hours.
Hexis Racing discovered the challenge posed by long-distance racing in the 2011 Blancpain Endurance Series.
Despite this incident both cars finished with the highest-placed filling eighth spot. After that, Hexis Racing concentrated 100% on its world championship commitment with the debutant McLaren MP4-12Cs, the fruit of which came in September when the team and its drivers, Fred Makowiecki and Stef Dusseldorp, filled the runner-up spot in the FIA GT1 World Championships.
Once this had been achieved the team decided that an outing in the “Blancpain” was the next logical step. Parente-Dusseldorp-Makowiecki started from pole and dominated the last race of the season on the Navarra circuit giving the MP4-12C its first win in the series.
Philippe Dumas talks to us about this fantastic Christmas present, which has arrived a few days early at his Lédenon base: “We’ve been working with McLaren for almost a year to the day.
I’d like to thank Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GT’s managing director, as it’s all looking very positive and the results are living proof of the excellence of our collaboration.
We’re taking on a new challenge together in the wake of our clear-cut victory at Navarra in mid-October in the final round of the Blancpain Endurance Series.
Alvaro Parente and Stef Dusseldorp, who need no further introduction, are great guys and fantastic drivers – a combination of ice and fire! I’m really happy to have them with me for another year and also to welcome Alexander Sims.
I’m sure he’ll soon fit into the team and enjoy working with us. Our aim with such a high-quality driver line-up is clear - repeat our Navarra performance throughout the 2013 season!
We’ve got the right package to win the championship and break the stranglehold of our German rivals on the Spa 24 Hours. In fact, we’ll have a second car for this event which, in my opinion, is becoming the greatest and above all the most hotly-contested race in the world thanks to the efforts of its promoter, SRO.
It’s up to us to be strong, sound and reliable, and you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll do everything possible to achieve these aims.”
They work well both on track and in the pits. Their team work helped win races with some great pitstops. We are very happy to have Hexis in the Blancpain series with three very good drivers.
I am sure it will be a hard fought year and it’s good to know you have a car capable of taking that fight to the other manufacturers. Philippe has worked hard to get this deal together and I look forward to the first race in 2013.”
The new boy in the team, Alexander Sims, has this to say: “I’ve heard a lot about Hexis since I started working with McLaren GT a year ago. It’s a great opportunity to race with them.
I haven’t got so much experience in GT but I did Le Mans in an LMP2 car and I understand endurance. I’m sure that it’s all going to go off really well and that we’ll be title contenders. I just want to say thank you McLaren and Hexis for this chance to be racing in a top series with a top team.”
With Sims and Alvaro Parente, Hexis Racing will have two works McLaren drivers in its team. Stef Dusseldorp has been with the French outfit in its last two world championship campaigns.
He scored his first victory on his maiden outing in Abu Dhabi in 2011 and racked up seven wins in the McLaren in the season just ended.
The Blancpain Endurance Series will visit five countries and as many famous circuits in 2013. The first three races will be run over three hours at Monza on 14th April, Silverstone on 12th May and the Paul Ricard HTTT layout on 30th June.
The 65th Spa 24 Hours will take place on its traditional date in the last weekend of July. The season ends on the classic distance of 1000 km at the legendary Nürburgring. In 2012, an average of 52 cars started each race.
Among the 12 makes entered BMW, Porsche and McLaren (with Hexis) won at least one race while Audi, the double title holder, has emerged victorious in the last two Spa-24 Hour events.