Belfast Telegraph

Watson drafted in for Bathurst race role with Aussie GT team

 

By Sammy Hamill

Andrew Watson will return to Australia for one of GT endurance racing's big events of the season, the Bathurst 12 Hours, at the beginning of next month.

The 22-year-old from Donaghmore has been called into the YNA Autosport team where he will share a McLaren 650S GT3 with Australians Scott McLaughlin and Fraser Ross, as well as Sweden's Alexander West.

Watson, a member of the McLaren Driver Academy for the past three years, made his Bathurst debut in 2016 and ran as high as third with team-mates Rob Bell and Will Davison before their McLaren was damaged and they lost four laps while it was repaired. They completed the race in ninth place.

A race winner in the International GT Open series and class winner at the Sepang 12 Hours, Watson drove for the Strakka McLaren team last season along with fellow Ulsterman Jonny Kane. The partnership didn't work out and Strakka have switched to Mercedes for 2018.

Watson remains linked to McLaren and is looking forward to returning to Australia and the unique Mount Panorama circuit.

"Going back to Bathurst is an amazing chance as we had a lot of speed in the McLaren in 2016, so I know the 650s GT3 is good around the mountain," said Watson.

"I already know Fraser and Alex, and I'm looking forward to teaming up with Scott as I know how handy these Australian Supercar V8 drivers are after racing with Shane van Gisbergen in 2016 in Europe."

Watson is likely to line up against fellow Ulster driver Steven Kane, who is expected to be part of the Bentley team for the February 2-4 race weekend.

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