WEC: 6 Hours of Spa delivers top-four finish

McLaren United Autosports LMGT3 at Eau Rouge, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
McLaren United Autosports LMGT3 at Eau Rouge, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Yesterday, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps delivered fourth place for the #59 McLaren LMGT3 EVO – our strongest result of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship so far – while it was heartbreak for the #95 team, who suffered a DNF.

For the #59 crew, it was a strong start with James Cottingham upgrading P4 to P2 in his opening double stint. 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, the race was extended and restarted with one hour and 44 minutes on the clock. For Saucy and the #59 crew, however, the timing of the red flag 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.

For the #95 crew, it was a rollercoaster weekend with Josh Caygill securing P2 in Hyerpole. The British racer started at the back of the grid, however, after it was discovered the #95 was unintentionally non-compliant with weight regulations. On race day, Caygill made great progress, gaining seven places to P11. Nico Pino continued to build, reaching P5 before a gearbox issue brought the #95 to a halt at pit entry, officially retiring the McLaren LMGT3 EVO from the race.

Next up, it’s the big one. The 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place on 15-16th June at Circuit de la Sarthe. Stay up to date with the team on social @unitedautosports.

James Cottingham, Nicolas Costa and Gregoire Saucy - McLaren United Autosports racing drivers
James Cottingham, Nicolas Costa and Gregoire Saucy - McLaren United Autosports racing drivers



James Cottingham: “We’ve progressed massively over the weekend. The spec we raced in was, for me, spot on. I had a mega first couple of hours, 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. To come into the pits in second place and handover the car felt great. The other guys did a great job too. We weren’t unlucky … we just lacked a bit of luck when it came to 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 all 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?”

Josh Caygill, Nico Pino and Marino Sato - McLaren United Autosports drivers
Josh Caygill, Nico Pino and Marino Sato - McLaren United Autosports drivers



Josh Caygill: “The weekend that could have been. As always, I am mega proud of everybody. It’s coming together. We had great quali pace which was a positive step forward after Imola. The race was looking pretty strong … and then there was the gear box issue. There’s not much to say to make it palatable. I don’t feel like the result is a reflection of where we are. I am truly proud of this team. Thank you to Marino and Nico for coaching me, helping me improve and doing a great job on track too. It will come our way, I am sure.”

Nico Pino: “The race was far from ideal for us. We had to retire the car after a few hours. But the team did a great job all weekend and Josh put down that P2 quali lap which was mega, even though it was disqualified later. I am 100% sure we will keep improving … we’ll be pushing really hard at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a couple of weeks time. So yeah, I’m a bit gutted about the final result in Spa but that’s how racing works.”

Marino Sato: “I’m gutted for the whole team. Everyone did a stellar job from the start. Josh drove a great stint and we were fully back in the game after the Safety Car. Nico was looking strong as well so we should have been fighting for a good position … but this is part of racing. I’m really happy with the all the progress we have made so far. I think we have a good momentum.”


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 from 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 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 United Autosports executing strong pit stop strategies, we should be on the top step soon.”