Shane van Gisbergen wins for McLaren at Circuit Paul Ricard 1000

Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen, with teammates Rob Bell and Côme Ledogar, has won the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000KM. It's the team's second win of th 2016 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.


After skirting the leading positions for the majority of the race, van Gisbergen's #58 Garage 59 McLaren 650S GT3 only emerged as a race threat in the closing two hours of the race — the New Zealander having taken over its controls for the run to the flag.


They sat in second, behind the #8 M-Sport Bentley, and ahead of the #50 AF Corse Ferrari 488. The Ferrari appeared to be the car to beat, running down and then passing van Gisbergen for second with driver Alessandro Pierre Guidi with 1.5 hours left in the race. His race with Guidi was a race highlight, as the pair diced in the pitch black darkness while threading through traffic.


Guidi was the fastest car on track, then received further incentive to take down the leading Bentley when the team incurred a pit-lane penalty for allegedly being too slow to react to a virtual safety car calling. 


While the focus was on the battling Guidi and the Bentley, driven at the time by Andy Soucek, van Gisbergen pitted during a full-course caution. This put their entry off sequence to their main rivals. As they eventually made their final stops, the #58 McLaren took over the race lead. Guidi in second had a 20-second margin to chase down in the final half hour, but wasn't able to chase down van Gisbergen — finishing 3.3-seconds behind the McLaren.


The #3 Audi of Felipe Albuquerque, Jan Magnussen, and former Toyota Racing Series driver Rodrigo Baptista rounded out the podium placings.


Photo: Garage 58