Ecurie Ecosse GT3 at Black Bull Huntly HQposted in GT20 | 09 | 2016

    TO CELEBRATE THE 60th anniversary of Scotland’s iconic race team, Ecurie Ecosse, winning the Le Mans 24-Hours in 1956, the team brought its 2016 McLaren 650S GT3 to Scotland for the only time this year. The event — at the Huntly HQ of the team’s title sponsor, Black Bull Scotch Whisky — marked the end of the car’s debut season in the ultra-competitive British GT Championship, the world’s foremost domestic sportscar championship.

    The Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse team has run two McLarens in this year’s British GT Championship. In addition to the McLaren 650S GT3 driven by Edinburgh’s Alasdair McCaig and Rob Bell, the all-new McLaren 570S GT4 was raced by Scottish young guns, 16-year-old Sandy Mitchell from Forfar, and 20-year-old Ciaran Haggerty from Johnstone.

    The team headed to Scotland after claiming double success in the season finale at Donington Park, when both the team’s cars won their respective GT3 and GT4 races.


    And while the GT3 duo bagged a podium finish at Oulton Park earlier in the season, Mitchell became the youngest-ever race winner in the British GT Championship when, aged 16 years and 169 days, he partnered Haggerty to McLaren’s debut win at Snetterton last month. The young duo also qualified on pole position at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

    Euan Shand, chairman of the team’s title sponsors Black Bull Scotch Whisky, highlighted the Huntly-based company’s commitment to Scottish motorsport and the development of the cream of the country’s young racing drivers.


    Ecurie Ecosse GT3 duo win season finale

    Ecurie Ecosse GT4 young guns win again

    “We pride ourselves in that we are the leading Scottish company investing in sportscar racing in Scotland, and specifically Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse,” Shand said. “In addition, our investment also contributes to developing the Ecurie Ecosse Young Drivers Programme which has has already helped the early race careers of Sandy and Ciaran.

    “This is the third year of investment by Black Bull Scotch Whisky in Ecurie Ecosse, and to have the McLaren 650S GT3 race car here today is not only something very special for the area, but demonstrates our commitment to the sport. 


    “Our young drivers have shown a steely determination this year and we are delighted to have played a part in their success. They are the future of racing, and I have no doubt Sandy and Ciaran will go on to have greater success in the future.”

    It was a sentiment echoed by Alasdair McCaig, director of Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse and driver of the McLaren 650S GT3 car.

    “Black Bull and Ecurie Ecosse are two brands rich in Scottish heritage,” McCaig said. “The hard work that has gone in to our partnership has really paid off and this can clearly be seen in the results achieved and ascent of the motor racing ladder.  

    “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Black Bull for their continued support and I look forward to the next chapter.”

    History-maker Sandy Mitchell, meanwhile, admitted his debut season in the British GT Championship had been “amazing”, and looked forward to continuing the relationship with Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse.


    “Driving for Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse has been amazing,” the 16-year-old Dundee High School pupil said, “and to create history as the youngest-ever race winner in the British GT Championship was exhilarating, especially coinciding with the 60th anniversary of the Le Mans 24-Hours victory. 

    “It’s very much a team effort, and it’s great to come to Aberdeenshire with the McLaren race car and thank our sponsors properly, because without them we wouldn’t be achieving the success we’ve delivered this season.”

    Ciaran Haggerty, meanwhile, was delighted with the way the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse had finished the season.

    “Donington was a great way to end the year, with both the McLaren 650S GT3 and McLaren 570S GT4 winning in the season finale,” the 20-year-old from Johnstone said. “We’ve all faced some challenges throughout the season, but to finish the year on such a high was fantastic, and augurs well for Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse in 2017.”


    After appearing at the Huntly HQ of Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse McLaren 650S GT3 was transferred to an exclusive event at Meldrum House in Oldmeldrum, where it was joined by the team’s British GT Championship-winning BMW Z4.

    The evening event, attended by a specially-invited selection of guests from around the world, also featured a Black Bull Scotch Whisky tasting hosted by Euan Shand, and Sir Charles MacLean, Scotland’s leading whisky expert and Keeper of the Quaich.

    The event ended with the launch of a special limited edition Black Bull Scotch Whisky to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the famous Le Mans 24-Hours victory by Ecurie Ecosse in 1956.


    DRIVER GROUP CAPTION (MAIN PIC): Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse drivers (from left) Sandy Mitchell, Ciaran Haggerty and Alasdair McCaig with the McLaren 650S GT3.



    GROUP PHOTO CAPTION: (from left to right) Alasdair McCaig, director and driver Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse; Moji Shand, chief executive Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky; Kok Woon Teo, Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky; Euan Shand, chairman Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky; Ciaran Haggerty, driver Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse; Sandy Mitchell, driver Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse.

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    Jim McGill

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