Parente joins Ross for AEC New Zealand rounds

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Factory McLaren GT driver Alvaro Parente will join Fraser Ross aboard the YNA Autosports, McElrea Racing McLaren 650s GT3 for the final two rounds of the Australian Endurance Championship in New Zealand.

The pairing will share driving duties at this weekend’s Hampton Downs 500 (October 27-29) and the Highlands 501 (November 10-12) season finale.

It will also mark Parente’s Australian Endurance Championship debut, having previously  been part of the 2016 Bathurst 12-Hour winning squad, and more recently, claimed third for K-PAX Racing in the California 8 Hour at Laguna Seca.

“To have Alvaro is a big boost, not just for the team but for myself to be partnered with him,” said Ross, who won his maiden Australian GT race at Sandown last month in the final round of the sprint championship.

“We met at the Bathurst 12 Hour, and we’ve spoken all year – he sent me a nice text after I won at Sandown, which was really good!

“I’ve a really good rapport with him, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Ross and new Portuguese co-driver; Parente, will campaign a new livery on the YNA Autosports McLaren for the New Zealand leg of the season.

The revised scheme will pay tribute to McLaren’s deep motorsport heritage and New Zealand roots, boasting the original McLaren Racing Team logo.

“I think it’s fantastic to go back where McLaren originated from with this livery, I’m a big fan of McLaren so it’s great,” added Ross.

“To have this level of heritage with a race car, and a factory driver like Alvaro, is really a highlight of my career.”

Ross heads into the New Zealand rounds off the back of a podium in the opening Australian Endurance Championship race at Phillip Island in May, stating that things are looking equally strong as Hamptons Downs and Highlands approach.

“We feel we’ve now made a step in the right direction with the car, but with the experience and knowledge that Alvaro has it’s only going to boost that for Hampton Downs and Highlands,” outlined Ross.

“McElrea Racing have done a number of things with the car and turned it around from a tough Sydney Motorsport Park 501 to Sandown, where the track wasn’t as well suited to the McLaren, to where it turned out to be our strongest weekend to date.”

The Hampton Downs 500 begins on Sunday at 10:30 AEDT.