#95 McLaren LMGT3 EVO in the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Imola
#95 McLaren LMGT3 EVO in the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Imola
Last night, the McLaren duo crossed the line P6 (#95) and P11 (#59) in the 6 Hours of Imola - marking a significant step forward in the new LMGT3 campaign, and our first points on the championship leader board. 

Qualifying drivers James Cottingham (#59) and Josh Caygill (#95) kicked off proceedings in the Italian sunshine - Cottingham starting P10 after the Hyperpole shootout on Saturday afternoon. The British GT vice-champion quickly gained four places, running P6 while fellow Brit Caygill, who started P15, also made progress in the first hour, moving up to P11.

For Cottingham and the #59 crew, progress was hampered by a right rear puncture - but as we headed into the second hour, both cars were in the top 10. Nicolas Costa (#59) and Nico Pino (#95) took over and continued the good work, sitting P7 and P9 respectively at the half-way point – before the weather took a turn, the track was declared wet and the spotlight focussed on tyre strategy.

Car #59 put on wet tyres when Gregoire Saucy took over, changing to slicks at the mid-point of his 50-lap session as the conditions cleared. The Swiss racer gained a couple of places to finish the race P11 - but after running within the top half of the field for the majority of the race, the team deserved more.

On an alternative strategy, the #95 crew committed to slick tyres on a partially wet track, with Nico Pino working hard in the McLaren LMGT3 Evo in increasingly greasy conditions. When Marino Sato took over with 80 minutes to go, it was a determined push to the finish – securing P6 at the checkered flag and our first championship points of the 2024 season. 

The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship is the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on 11th May 2024. Stay up to date with the team in the meantime on social @unitedautosports. 

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

CAR #59


James Cottingham: “Super happy with the progress we made this weekend after Qatar and all the testing we’ve done. United Autosports and McLaren have done a solid job throughout. We were unlucky with the puncture, after having such strong race pace, and then the Virtual Safety Car within a lap or two of Nicolas’ first stop which put us out of the game. We will come back to Spa even stronger with this really fast race car.”

Nicolas Costa: “It was a very interesting race. James did a fantastic job in the beginning. We were unlucky with the flat tyre … losing maybe 40 seconds. We made it back to P7 or P6 but we pitted under green flag. Then the rain came and everyone pitted under Safety Car, putting wet tyres on. We took a gamble to see if it would dry out, so we stayed out for 20 minutes with the slicks which was a big challenge. Unfortunately it didn’t pay off in the end so we finished P11. But we had the potential to be in the top three today I think.”

Gregoire Saucy: “The conditions were not so easy when I started. It was between slicks and wets. But we have to take the positives - the pace is good! My two teammates did a mega job too. I want to thank them and all the team. We will keep pushing for the next one.”

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

CAR #95


Josh Caygill: “I had a solid stint. Good start, good first couple of laps and I stayed out of trouble. Then I got my head down. The pace was strong and I felt really good in the car. I kept chipping away and the race came to us a little bit in the first couple of stints. The lads have done a mega job, the car was great. Nico got in and carried on the good work. He was super fast in the dry and he did a good job in tricky wet conditions too. Then Marino got in and smashed it – super quick, really consistent and fighting to the end. There have been massive steps forward since Qatar. I’m really proud of everybody. Thanks to McLaren and United Autosports. It’s been a good weekend.”

Nico Pino: “Difficult race with changing conditions. Strategy didn’t quite play out as we expected. The rain in between was not ideal for the tyre management I was working on. But overall it’s a huge step forward from Qatar. Really happy with how the team is performing and their determination. Everyone has been working so hard to get us ready for Imola. Now, I’m looking forward to Spa, working on even more improvements so we’re in a really competitive place when we get to Le Mans.” 

Marino Sato: “Josh did a great stint. Qualifying on Saturday was not the best he could do but he did a great job in the race, made up a few places and put down some really quick times. Nico also did a good stint. It looked really difficult on slick tyres in the rain, but he managed it. I got in at the end … I was really pushing. I managed to gain us one or two places. We had really strong pace. It’s a huge improvement from Qatar … really happy with the huge team effort.”


Richard Dean, United Autosports CEO: “This is a big step forward from Qatar. It has been six weeks of solid work to get both cars in a position to race to the finish with no real technical issues. We didn’t have a good Qualifying which put us on the back foot but the race pace of both cars and all six drivers was really impressive. I’m very grateful for the work that the United Autosports team, McLaren and the drivers have done to get us to this point. Onwards from here.” 

Mick McDonagh, Director of MSO Motorsport, McLaren Automotive: “I’m delighted with the result and really pleased that all the hard work put in by both United Autosports and us has shown we’re making positive steps. We know we have a competitive package, but we have always been measured in our expectations. Since Qatar we have been working extensively, applying what we learned during the opening race weekend to improve the cars, and I’m pleased to say the results are showing the fruits our labour. We are competing against rivals who have been racing in the WEC for years and have a body of experience that they can call on, this is only our second race weekend, so to come away with points is very gratifying and a promising step toward further improvement as we progress through the season.”