27 January, 2017
Rob Bell, McLaren GT factory driver and highly experienced sportscar driver, has confirmed that he will be driving the McLaren 650S GT3 in the Bathurst 12 Hours race next week with Tekno Autosports. He will also be campaigning the Blancpain GT Series Asia with Clearwater Racing and the International GT Open Series with Balfe Motorsport.
Rob kicks off his 2017 season with at trip down under, joining his fellow McLaren GT factory drivers, Alvaro Parente and Come Ledogar, in the #1 car. It will be Rob’s second attempt on this prestigious Australian endurance race, after finishing eighth last year and the sister car of the team taking the win.
Reigning Blancpain Endurance Series champion, Rob, says, “I’ll start my year with a long-distance event, both in terms of my travelling to it and the event itself, but who wouldn’t want to fly to the other side of the world for this unique race – and some sunshine. I really enjoyed the event last year and I’m definitely expecting a really strong performance, sharing the car with Alvaro and Come, so expectations are high.”
The Blancpain GT Series Asia is a new-for-2017 championship that is being contested by Singapore-based team, Clearwater Racing, a highly professional outfit which Rob raced with last year, taking the Asian Le Mans Series title at the start of 2016. The new six round Blancpain GT Series Asia visits Malaysia, Thailand, Japan and China. Rob will partner with Richard Wee for this series and although the pairing hasn’t driven together they have been team mates previously.
Rob looks ahead to this championship saying, “The Asian motorsport scene is expanding very quickly, so it’s no surprise that SRO have introduced a GT Series in the region. I’m pleased to be re-joining Clearwater – a great bunch of people who I really enjoy working with and have had some great results with, including our championship win. With the package we have there’s no reason why weren’t not fighting at the front right from the off.”
The International GT Open Series is also familiar territory for Rob, with the McLaren GT driver having contested a few rounds with Teo Martin Motorsport in 2014 and JMB Racing in 2011. Rob partners Shaun Balfe in a Balfe Motorsport McLaren 650S GT3 for the seven-round Europe-based championship.
Rob comments, “I’ve raced a few rounds of GT Open in the past, but not done a full campaign, so it’ll be great to add another championship to my tally. I’m keen to start work with the team and build on their great work in 2016 when they came second in the series. I’m aiming to go one better than that this time and I’m sure with the strength and depth of the team it’s an achievable goal.”
He adds, “2017 is already stacking up to be very busy and I’m expecting to be confirming a drive in another series in the coming weeks, so I’ll be racking up the miles, both in and out of the car.