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Nico Verdonck completes successful pre-season test at Paul-Ricard

The Gulf Racing UK team has undertaken a successful two-day test with the McLaren 12C GT3 at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France, ahead of the 2013 Blancpain Endurance Series season opener next month.

Newly announced McLaren GT works driver Adam Carroll joined the British-based team for the first time, and shared the testing schedule in the 12C GT3 with the team’s co-owner Mike Wainwright, and new teammate Nico Verdonck, who will be part of a three-strong Pro line-up alongside Carroll and fellow McLaren GT factory driver Rob Bell.

Reflecting on his first outing with Gulf Racing UK, Carroll explained: ‘I had a really good first test with the team, and I have been made to feel very welcome by everyone. I have really enjoyed working with Matt our engineer and Nico, and we have made good progress with the car over the two days. With Rob, Nico and myself, and the support of the team, I believe we will be very strong this season. With 50 cars running out on track, there is still the risk of getting caught up in traffic, but it is still a good chance to get used to that and learn to deal with it.’

Nico Verdonck, also completing his debut run with the British-based team, relished his first opportunity running the 12C GT3 in Gulf Racing colours: ‘I feel very much at home already. I must admit, everyone within the team has made me feel very welcome, and I am really looking forward to working intensively with these people, who share all the same passion as me, do everything to perform maximum!'

‘Gulf Racing is a very professional team, who look into every detail, and our engineer Matt Beers worked a rigorous test programme. We completed this schedule, trying out various set-ups for different conditions. All teams were trying out different test programmes throughout the sessions, but having topped the timesheets at Paul Ricard, I'm confident we will be competitive from the first race in Monza, and I have faith in Gulf Racing, and my teammates, that they will do what it takes to be fighting at the front of the grid.’

Mike Wainwright, who will run in the Pro-Am entry for the 2013 season alongside Andy Meyrick, completed the trio of drivers running the McLaren at Paul Ricard: ‘It has been good to finally get back in the car, after what feels like a long winter break. The updates and modifications to car seem strong, and I hope that we are competitive from the first race in Monza.’

Matt Beers, who recently took over the position as team manager for Gulf Racing UK, added: ‘We had a great two days of testing, completing nearly 1,000km with no significant issues. We covered some good ground and now have a greater understanding of the updated 12C GT3. Our new Pro drivers have settled in well and were immediately up to speed and, at the moment, I can't see a weakness in our driver lineup, which is very encouraging. Mike was also competitive very quickly, and completed a good amount of mileage in the dry for a change!! On top of that our practice pitstops were beating our best from last year after only three runs, so it’s not just the drivers who are rapid! I am really looking forward to the season getting started now.’

Alongside the McLaren, Roald Goethe and Stuart Hall also completed a testing session running the team’s Lamborghini Gallardo. Goethe, co-owner of the team with Mike Wainwright, will campaign the Gulf Racing Aston Martin Vantage run by Aston Martin Racing during 2013.

Preparations for the 2013 Blancpain Endurance Series continue for Gulf Racing UK as the team now heads back to England, and the pre-season test schedule will see them attend a test session at Silverstone next week, when the full 2013 driver line-up will be present for the first time. In addition to the McLarens which will run in the Blancpain Endurance Series, the team will attend the test session with a number of other liveried models from the current collection.

The first race for the Gulf Racing UK 12C GT3s is at Monza, Italy over the weekend 12-14 April 2013

For further information about Gulf Racing UK, visit www.gulfracing.com or follow the team on Facebook or Twitter.