McLaren executive director Zak Brown has said that he finds the provisional plans for the new premier class at Le Mans “compelling” as the Formula 1 team considers a works return to sports car racing.

McLaren last raced at Le Mans in 1998, having claimed a famous outright victory three years earlier.

The British marque has been evaluating a possible Le Mans comeback as part of an expansion of its racing interests alongside its Formula 1 operation following its return to the Indianapolis 500 last year with Fernando Alonso.

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“McLaren has a long history in additional forms of motorsport, whether that was CanAm, IndyCar, or Le Mans,” Brown said.

“So that is something with the new regulations coming out for World Endurance Championship, we’re participating in those meetings and reviewing what that looks like.”

Talks regarding the future of the top class at Le Mans and in the WEC have been ongoing, with rules for new ‘GT Prototype’-style cars set to be confirmed next month by the World Motor Sport Council. These would come into force for the 2020/21 WEC season.

FIA president Jean Todt confirmed last week at Spa that cost control would be a key focus for the class while retaining its hybrid technology in the hope of attracting at least five manufacturers to enter.

McLaren has been part of the discussion group helping to form the new class that would replace LMP1, and Brown said he was impressed by the direction that was being taken.

“The rules as they’re being proposed, we find compelling,” Brown said.


“We would consider running the new whatever they’re going to call it - GTP, Silhouette, LMP1 - I’ve heard various phrases.

“But I think what’s exciting is trying to go to Le Mans to win outright. That’s the highest value for a racing team.”

Asked by Crash.net how receptive McLaren’s shareholders were to the idea of a Le Mans return, Brown said he was receiving encouraging signals.

“They like the idea, so long as what we do is financially viable, makes sense for our brand and is a brand fit, and we can be competitive,” Brown said.

“Our shareholders are a group of racers, which makes it a lot of fun to work for them.

“The Indianapolis 500 project last year, when I brought that forward and told them that I thought it was commercially viable and that we would be competitive, it didn’t take them very long to say ‘great idea, let’s go do it’.

“From that standpoint, they’re great to work for.”