The McLaren DDP programme, first run in 2018, involves four drivers being placed with a partner team in the British GT Championship’s GT4 division, split into two car crews.
The programme was managed in 2018 and 2019 by Tolman Motorsport, then by Team Rocket RJN in 2021 after a one-year hiatus for the scheme during the COVID-delayed 2020 season.
Autosport understands that McLaren is currently tendering for its partner squad to run the programme in 2022.
A total of 14 drivers featured in a two-day evaluation organised by McLaren at Snetterton last week, with factory drivers Rob Bell, Ben Barnicoat, Joe Osborne and Euan Hankey on hand as mentors.
The candidates had two free practice sessions on Tuesday in a McLaren 570S GT4, then a qualifying run and a race run on Wednesday.
The drivers were also subjected to simulator and fitness assessments at iZone Driver Performance, with media interviews included as part of the evaluation channels.
Among the drivers vying for selection were Bailey Voisin, who won the 2021 GT4 European championship with McLaren customer squad United Autosport, and Ginetta Junior champion Aston Millar, while two drivers that have won British GT races in McLarens – Gus Bowers (2020 Donington) and James Kell (2021 Snetterton) – were also present.
Harry Hayek / Katie Milner – Team Rocket RJN McLaren 570S GT4
The 2019 World and 2020 European karting champion Marijn Kremers, who won the Jacques Villeneuve-backed FEED Racing shootout in 2019 and was due to race in British F4 with Carlin last year before switching to the French series, and 2020 British GT runner-up with TF Sport Patrick Kibble were among the other intriguing names on the list.
The best result scored by this year’s DDP drivers, Michael Benyahia/Alain Valente and Harry Hayek/Katie Milner, was a second for the Moroccan/Swiss pair in the two-hour Donington finale after they had previously been denied victory by a puncture at Snetterton.
2022 McLaren DDP candidates