Hutchison back for title push
Finlay Hutchison has confirmed he will return to the GT4 European Series for a second season this year to mount a major title bid with new team-mate Ricardo van der Ende. Making a strong impression during his rookie endurance racing season in GT4 in 2017 with top team Equipe Verschuur Autosport, the 18-year-old Scottish racing driver remains with the Dutch squad for the 2018 campaign.
Once again piloting a McLaren 570S GT4, with support from Hutchison Technologies, Evoson and In Home Displays, Hutchison will go into the 2018 GT4 European Series determined to add to the haul of silverware he achieved last season. Aiming to build on the top five championship finish he achieved in the Northern Series during his maiden season of GT competition, where the Dundee driver attained three podium results, he is now fully focused on challenging for the Silver Cup crown with 2017 champion van der Ende.
“I am really excited to pair up with Ricardo, last year’s champion, and the plan is to try and challenge for the title”, said Hutchison, “This year there is a huge grid with some new teams and drivers, so I am sure the competition will be even harder, but we know we have a good package. Equipe Verschuur Autosport is a fantastic team, we’ve built a great relationship and they prepare a great car. I’m looking forward to racing the McLaren again in GT4 and with a full year of experience under my belt of the car and the circuits, and with a fantastic new team-mate to learn more from, I’m confident we have a strong chance.”
Alongside his impressive performances in the GT4 European Series last year, Hutchison was TCR class winner in the 2017 Dubai 24 Hours and piloted an Equipe Verschuur-run Renaultsport R.S.01 to victory in November’s Zandvoort 500 with Dakar Rally star Bernhard ten Brinke. Just last month, the young Scottish sportsman was back on the Dubai 24 Hours podium but this time in the higher A6-AM Class where he took second position as part of the V8 Racing Chevrolet Corvette GT3 entry.
“Finlay is a young driver but he learns fast, we’re very happy we have Finlay and Ricardo together in our McLaren this year and I think we have all the opportunities to try and win”, said Frans Verschuur, owner of Equipe Verschuur Autosport, “Of course, you need to have the luck too in motorsport but we have a good car and two good drivers so we need to make the most of that. Last year was Finlay’s first year in GT4 and our first year with the McLaren, the tracks were new but he did a very good job. Now he has a very good team-mate with him in Ricardo and I think we have a very good chance. I’m really happy to be part of, what I believe will be, the most impressive and competitive GT4 grid we’ve seen.”
Hutchison’s new GT4 team-mate for the 2018 season, Ricardo van der Ende, not only arrives at Equipe Verschuur as the reigning overall and Silver Cup champion but also brings vast experience from a long and distinguished motorsport career. Past successes include European GT4 titles in 2011, 2013 and 2014 as well as the Dutch GT4 crown in 2011.
“First of all, I am delighted to be part of this project with Finlay, Verschuur and McLaren”, said van der Ende, “Last year when I drove behind Finlay at Zandvoort I was really impressed with him. I know the circuit like the back of my hand, I tried everything to break his concentration by looking left, looking right, flashing my lights, but he did not make a mistake and I couldn’t get past. This is why I am delighted to be team-mates with Finlay this season and with my experience in karts, formula cars and GT cars, I know I can help him and Equipe Verschuur to the next level and, hopefully, the European title. Everything is looking very promising, I am looking forward to the first race and helping the team altogether.”
Following an official pre-season test day at Zolder on Thursday, 8th March, the new season will commence at the Belgian track over the weekend 7th/8th April. From there, the championship visits Brands Hatch in the UK, Hutchison’s ‘home’ round, Misano in Italy, Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the Hungaroring in Hungary and the season concludes in mid-September at Germany’s Nurburgring.