Sébastien Loeb Racing will be entering the new FIA GT Series with two McLaren MP4-12C’s piloted by nine-time World Rally Rally champion Sébastien Loeb and Portuguese driver Alvaro Parente, plus a second driver pairing still to be announced.
The team will be building on a strong 2012 season which saw them finish third in the French GT Championship. “The FIA GT Series fits all of our criteria, with 100% professional driving squads and sprint-type races” explained team manager Dominique Heintz.
“On one hand, we wanted to take the next step in GT. On the other, Sébastien wanted to make a solid re-conversion to circuit racing.” he added.
Loeb will be taking part in the full championship for the first time since one-off appearances on circuit racing and is looking to gain experience ready for the Citroën WTCC project.
“I like sprint races and I appreciate GTs,” said Loeb. “Which are cars that are very nice to drive. I don’t yet know all the ins and outs of circuit racing and I really wanted to drive with another pro to learn and progress. Sharing the wheel with one of the best GT drivers is the ideal solution.”
Loeb will be partnered by 28-year-old Alvaro Parente who has taken a solid career behind him already and is a official McLaren driver, taking part in the GT1 World Championship in 2012.
“I’m simply very happy” said Parente. “Two big names are joining together, Sébastien Loeb Racing and McLaren. This package gives me the confidence to have a solid season. Everyone knows Sébastien’s talent and he’s shown his ability to adapt quickly to new situations. To be driving with him is incredible!
“I discovered the team during a test at Navarra, with a perfect working environment. As always, the target will be to be fast and aim for the highest position. I’m looking forward to drive for Sébastien Loeb Racing and McLaren, with the MP4-12C that I know very well and that I enjoy.”
Loeb is confident that despite his circuit racing inexperience he will be fighting at the front: “I know we will be up against experienced teams and we have several things to fine tune. We are all very motivated and want to do well. We’ve joined several elements to gives us the best chance to be in the top positions, both with the choice of McLaren, which is a quick car, as well as Alvaro, a competitive driver who knows the MP4-12C well.”