The British GT Championship is delighted to announce McLaren Automotive as the series’ official Safety Car partner for its 2016 season, which begins at Brands Hatch this weekend (April 16/17).

The partnership sees McLaren’s new 570S Coupé take the leading role in safely managing one of the most competitive grids of GT3 and GT4 machinery ever assembled in the UK.

Fittingly, safety is at the very core of the 570S Coupé, which features a lightweight, inherently strong carbon fibre chassis in keeping with every McLaren built for road or track since the MP4-1 Formula 1 car that contested the 1981 season.

The rear wheel-drive 570S Coupé should have little trouble keeping pace with its race-bred pursuers thanks to a 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine, which generates 562bhp (570PS) and 600Nm (443lb ft) of torque. Packing a power-to-weight ratio of 428bhp (434PS) per tonne, the car achieves 0-62mph in just 3.2 seconds and 124mph in 9.5. But those figures pale into insignificance when compared to the 570S Coupé’s top speed: a staggering 204mph…

The car is the first of the McLaren Sports Series to be launched. This third model tier joins the Super Series and Ultimate Series, and brings McLaren technology to the sportscar market for the first time. With motorsport-derived technologies and performance figures to rival many supercars in the segment above, the 570S Coupé is as at home on track as it is on the road.

The 570S Coupé will be one of three different McLarens on show over the course of this year’s nine races; joining it each weekend are the Ecurie Ecosse-entered 650S GT3 and 570S GT4, which is being developed exclusively in British GT this season ahead of its 2017 customer programme.

SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO Stephane Ratel believes the championship’s new partnership with McLaren Automotive says much for the health of British GT.

“We are very pleased to confirm McLaren Automotive as the official Safety Car partner for British GT in 2016,” he said. “I believe it is testament to the growing stature of the championship that such an icon of British and world motorsport recognises British GT as the ideal platform to showcase its road and GT racing products. That is reinforced by the decision by McLaren to develop its all-new 570S GT4 car exclusively in British GT this season.”

Ansar Ali, Motorsport Director at McLaren Automotive, echoed Ratel’s sentiments.

“Motorsport is a key element to the make-up of McLaren – both in terms of our hugely successful history but also the extremely exciting future,” he said. “This latest partnership with the British GT Championship underlines the common links between McLaren road-going and track-dedicated models.

“The 570S Coupé has received universal praise from the media and customers since it was launched, equally at home on road as it is on track and so is a natural fit as the Safety Car for the Championship. It also complements a strong McLaren presence on the grid, joining the 650S GT3, which has already proven itself as hugely competitive and successful on the world stage, and the 570S GT4, which is being put through its toughest test this season during its final development phase.”

Free practice and qualifying for the opening round of this season’s British GT Championship gets underway at Brands Hatch tomorrow, while Sunday’s two-hour race starts at 13:30 BST.