On the heels of the announcement that McLaren Automotive has chosen United Autosports in a bid to compete in the LMGT3 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship last week, the super car manufacturer has partnered with Pfaff Motorsports to campaign a 720S GT3 Evo in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD PRO class. It will mark McLaren’s first GTD PRO effort in the WeatherTech Championship, where it before had a single full-time customer team (Inception Racing) in GTD. It’s unlikely that the timing of the announcements is coincidence.

“The impetus is really the excitement around the brand and where they’re heading,” explained Pfaff Motorsports General Manager Steve Bortolotti. “We believe there’s so much opportunity for growth within McLaren brand both on the retail side of our automotive business, but also in the motorsport landscape as well. Ultimately when the chips are on the table, that was a deciding factor – McLaren being a true partner of ours, we weren’t just like any other customer, which is something we’ve been striving to achieve for our program for a number of years. But then also looking ahead to the future what may be coming down the pipeline. Obviously there’s no guarantees in this sport that anything goes the way you want it to, but making sure that we’re positioned appropriately for any future opportunities that may come our way.”

This weekend’s Petit Le Mans will be the final race for the Plaid Porsche, and Bortolotti says plaid won’t be a prominent feature on the Canadian team’s McLaren livery, expected to be a bit more in McLaren’s corporate vein. It’s a big switch for a team that has raced Porsches for the entirety of its tenure in the WeatherTech Championship. It’s no secret that the latest iteration of the Porsche 911 GT3 R, based on the 992 platform, races very differently than its predecessors and the teams racing it have not alw ays had an easy time of it. Pfaff, which earned the GTD title in 2021 and the inaugural GTD PRO championship last season, only has a single victory in 2023 in the Twelve Hours of Sebring, earned on a risky strategy call.

So, enter McLaren. While drivers have yet to be announced, Bortolotti hints that a McLaren factory driver will be in the lineup. And while a latter December delivery date means that Pfaff will miss the December homologation test at Daytona, Bortolotti says there will be plenty of time to get the car sorted.

“The opportunity came together a bit late with with McLaren, but that’s no no reason not to proceed. So still plenty of time ahead of the Roar for us to get the car and get a couple of test days in with it ahead of the Roar. And then IMSA does a great job of giving us plenty of track time, over the Roar and the Rolex 24 weekends to ensure we’re prepared in time for the 24 hour. Ultimately pace isn’t the name of the game for that race anyway, so we’ll be sure to do plenty of testing at Sebring and other tracks in February and March to make sure we’re ready for the bulk of the IMSA WeatherTech season,” he said.

Where McLaren eventually goes with its sports car racing programs is yet to be seen, but the company certainly appears to be positioning itself for a bigger push. For right now, both McLaren and Pfaff’s priorities seem to be getting more McLaren GT racecars into the world.

“We want to make sure it ultimately comes down on a business case, right?,” said Bortolotti. “We want to get more McLarens in this market and more McLaren GT3 cars racing globally. And that’ll trickle down to GT4 and in the Artura series as well. So yeah, maybe a little bit of pre-planning on that, but it’s certainly exciting to see a lot of McLaren content in the news these days for sure.”