Garage 59 has confirmed its plans for 2023. The McLaren squad will run a two-car programme for the full Fanatec GT Europe season, as well as overseeing the Sky Tempesta Racing entry at Endurance Cup rounds.
Significantly, the British squad has finalised a return to the Pro ranks. The #159 McLaren will fight for overall Endurance Cup honours with the young crew of Benjamin Goethe, Nicolai Kjærgaard and Marvin Kirchhöfer sharing the wheel. At Sprint events, Goethe and Kjærgaard will go for glory.
Just 19 but entering his fifth season in the series, Goethe steps up to the top class following a successful Silver Cup programme with Team WRT, which included victory at the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa and a pair of Fanatec GT titles.
“I’m very excited about the upcoming Fanatec GT Europe season with Garage 59,” said Goethe. “It’s a great challenge for me to be racing in the Pro category with a new team and a new car and I can’t wait to get started.”
Kjærgaard is set for his third campaign with Garage 59 team and his first in a Pro car. The 23-year-old Danish racer looked to be hitting his stride towards the end of the 2022 season, showing especially well at Valencia. Kirchhöfer, meanwhile, is a McLaren factory driver who moves over from the JOTA squad.
The sister #188 McLaren will also contest the full season. Regular teammates Miguel Ramos and Henrique Chaves will be at the wheel throughout, competing in the Bronze Cup class, with Louis Prette joining their crew at Endurance rounds.
Ramos and Chaves have enjoyed plenty of success together, winning a pair of Fanatec GT Europe titles in the Pro-Am class sharing a Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini. Ramos successfully defended both in 2022 and, with his fellow Portuguese back in the picture, must be considered a strong contender to make it three in a row.
Prette, meanwhile, joins the series full-time having previously made a one-off start at the 2021 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa in a Saintéloc-run Audi. The Monegasque already has experience of international sports car racing and has been coached by series veteran Vince Abril.
“I’m really looking forward to driving with Garage 59 again, this time in Fanatec GT Europe,” said Prette. “It has been a steep learning curve for me with both the team and the car in Asian Le Mans and I feel confident about the coming season.
"Henrique and Miguel were my competitors throughout the 2020 season and it was tight all season long. They are both very good drivers and I’m happy to have them with me rather than against me this time! With this line-up we definitely have a shot at the championship and this is our target.”
In addition to its own cars, Garage 59 will also oversee the #93 McLaren for Sky Tempesta Racing, which will go up against the #188 car for Bronze Cup honours at Endurance events. Despite changing manufacturer, this line-up is among the most stable in the series, with Chris Froggatt, Jonathan Hui and Eddie Cheever III continuing a partnership that goes back to 2019.
The trio have enjoyed success in the series, including a class title for Froggatt and Hui in 2021. They move to the McLaren camp after a season running Mercedes-AMG equipment and, prior to that, three years with Ferrari.
“I am very excited about the partnership between Sky Tempesta Racing and Garage 59 and to be driving the new McLaren 720S GT3 Evo,” said Froggatt. “We can't wait to see what we can achieve together. This is a new chapter for Sky Tempesta Racing and we're excited to take on the challenges of the upcoming season with the support of our partners, fans, and sponsors.”
Garage 59 will join its rivals at the official Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS test days, which take place next week at Circuit Paul Ricard (7-8 March). The Endurance season launches at Monza on 21-23 April, while the Sprint campaign gets under way at Brands Hatch on 13-14 May.