The McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme (DDP) will resume this year, with all four of the drivers originally selected in late 2019 now set to contest the Intelligent Money British GT Championship in 570S GT4 cars run by Team Rocket RJN.
The DDP was suspended last year because it was not possible to carry out the programme with the social distancing requirements and compressed racing season resulting from the COVID pandemic. With the UK coming out of lockdown shortly and a full calendar of British GT races set to commence in May.
Michael Benyahia was retained to drive with the DDP this year and will make his British GT debut at Brands Hatch on the 22-23 May.
The Morrocanm driver returns to familiar surroundings in 2021 after racing a McLaren in ADAC GT4 Germany two years ago. Of particular note was his performance with Team GT at the Nürburgring where the 20-year old scored victory, which helped him to finish sixth in the final standings.
His GT4 switch came two seasons after winning Formula Renault NEC.
Michael will contest the highly-competitive GT4 class in 570S GT4 cars prepared by Team Rocket RJN, a McLaren Customer Racing team. The outfit has proven experience in nurturing driver talent, having starred in British GT last year with McLaren GT Driver Michael O’Brien and World’s Fastest Gamer James Baldwin – the latter in his debut season of racing.
After being launched by McLaren Automotive in 2018, the Driver Development Programme saw a milestone victory during the 2019 Snetterton 300 race with a first victory, as Jordan Collard and Lewis Proctor took top honours.
This result was one of two victories and five further podium finishes for the two 570S GT4 entries run in partnership with Tolman Motorsport. These results saw McLaren secure second place in the GT4 Teams championship standings.
Collard and Proctor claimed fourth spot in both the GT4 Drivers and GT4 Silver championships and have since graduated to McLaren Academy Driver status.
The McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme is partnered with Prosource, Richard Mille and Pirelli once again for the 2021 season.