Number 59 Mclaren Achieves Season Best Result So Far, Claiming P4 at Spa

Last weekend, the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchaps netted the #59 Mclaren LMGT3 EVO its best result this season so far, piloted by DK's own James Cottingham. After achieving a strong P5 in Hyperpole qualifying on Saturday, James' opening double stint saw him move up to P2. Just after the two-hour mark, Nicolas Costa took over, and within four laps, he was leading the race. Thrilling battles ensued, with the #59 running consistently within the top three. Gregoire Saucy joined in a strategically strong position before a lengthy red flag just four laps into his stint brought the race to a halt.

Almost two hours later, a historic first took place when the decision was made to wind back the countdown for the race and leave a remaining one hour and 44 minutes on the clock. As much as this was a popular decision and a spectacle for the fans, for the number #59 McLaren, the timing threw out the fuel strategy, reducing a likely podium to P5 at the checkered flag, which was later upgraded to P4 after a post-race ruling.

James Cottingham: “We’ve progressed massively over the weekend. The spec we raced in was, for me, spot on. I had a mega in the first couple of hours, and I felt very comfortable in the car. I’m now very used to it in terms of procedures and controls … I didn’t feel stressed at any point, and I was really happy with our pace. Coming into the pits in second place and handing over the car felt great. The other guys did a great job too. We weren’t unlucky … we just lacked a bit of luck regarding the red flag and the splash and dash at the end, which we had to do. I think we can all go to Le Mans confident in our understanding and feeling for the car. Hopefully, we’ve saved all the luck we need for there!”

Nicolas Costa: “The race was mostly really good. We had a clean race, and we did everything we could. The guys did a mega job with the car set up, and the pit stops were amazing, gaining us some time. In the end, we were unlucky with the red flag, which put us on the back foot with fuel, so we had to stop three laps short. That took away our chance of a podium. Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes. We take home P4 – it’s our first top four, and we’re hopeful that is the first of many.”

Gregoire Saucy: “The race was a bit strange for me because I started my stint, and then after two or three laps, we got the red flag. It’s mainly the red flag that means we aren’t on the podium, but it was still a really good race. We learned a lot … there has been so much progression since the start of the season. I want to thank the team for that – United Autosports and McLaren. Let’s keep pushing for the next one. We are progressing race by race, so the next one can be the good one … and why not in Le Mans?”

Richard Dean, United Autosports CEO: “It should have been a podium finish for the #59 crew. The drivers did a great job battling at the front, and I know there is lots more great racing in store for them this season. For the #95, it was a weekend of highs and devastating lows. Josh did a fantastic lap, putting down that time in Qualifying and making up ground at the start of the race. The gearbox issue was a tough way to end. The thought, time and effort that is being invested into this programme is evidently clear, with huge steps forward since Qatar and Imola. Thank you as always to the team, I am confident we will get the results you all deserve.”

Mick McDonagh, Director of MSO Motorsport, McLaren Automotive: “We’ve made further progress and demonstrated that we have a race-winning pace. This weekend, there was a genuine chance of a podium, and everyone was disappointed that we didn’t achieve that. That only goes to show the stage we are now, and it only spurs us on to achieve next time. The car is quick, the drivers are more than capable, and with our racing partners at United Autosports executing strong pit stop strategies, we should be on the top step soon.”

The next round of the World Endurance Championship is arguably the most significant race in the world - The 24 Hours of Le Mans. This marks the 101st edition of the race, which is taking place on the 15th of June, now just 5 weeks away.

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