Today in Woking, UK was the unveiling of the new McLaren MP4-12C GT3, the first McLaren GT racer since the McLaren F1 GTR in 1997. The GT3 is a product of a new partnership between McLaren and CRS Racing, called McLaren GT. In the area full of press, potential GT3 customers and MP4-12C retailers, over looking the production bays containing Formula One cars and the new MP4-12C, McLaren GT unveiled the new GT3 challenger.
The MP4-12C features the same ‘M838T’ twin turbo 3.8 liter McLaren V8 engine that is found in the road going car, only it has been de-tuned to 500PS, and limited to 7,500rpm, to provide optimum power for this performance-balanced race car. This is mounted to McLaren’s carbon fiber MonoCell with aluminium front and rear frames and bespoke carbon body panels. Also mounted to the V8 engine is a six-speed sequential gearbox that uses actuation via the steering wheel mounted paddles. The steering wheel for the GT3 has been derived from McLaren’s MP4-24 Formula 1 car, with a integrated driver display, paddle shift and switches. Aerodynamicly the GT3 features a front and rear diffuser, front splitter, dive planes and adjustable rear wing to complete the hardcore racer look and aid, most importantly, the performance of the car.
McLaren GT plan to début the GT3 at this season’s Blancpain Endurance Series race at Spain’s Circuito de Navarra, before attending the Magny-Cours and Silverstone rounds. They are also expecting to enter the Total 24 Hours of Spa endurance race. The driver line-up for these races will be CRS Racing Team Principal Andrew Kirkaldy, 2010 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Oliver Turvey, and Álvaro Parente. McLaren GT are aiming to deliver the highest quality, most reliable and most drivable car on the GT3 grid when it delivers 20 homolgated cars to privateer teams for the 2012 European racing season.
McLaren GT say that the initial demand for the first 20 McLaren MP4-12C GT3s was so high, that they could potentially sell the run five times over. However, with no desire to stretch the market and risk oversupply or restrictions on customer service, McLaren have limited the production to the twenty cars. This will also help retain the value of the GT3’s for their owners. Looking further into the future McLaren GT are planning around twenty more GT3’s in 2013 and 2014, as well as remaining open-minded and optimistic about developing racing cars for other series’ and markets. McLaren GT are also aiming to be the lowest cost team on the grid with cost of the GT3 being € 350,000 (£ 310,000) and coming with everything that is need to run the car from the off.
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren Group Chief Executive Officer said:
Every car on the grid will have its performance balanced by race rules, meaning our objective must be to select a technical specification that ensures any driver is able to access the 12C GT3’s performance limit with ease.
McLaren will also be attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed, between 01-03 July, with the GT3 being sent up the famous hill.
Also we found out the McLaren MP4-12C is a few weeks away from the first customer orders being delivered and has just racked up it’s 1,000,000th development mile! McLaren are expecting to deliver around 1,000 in the first year out of a total order book of 1,700. The MP4-12C will be launched in 35 cities around the world, from London, San Francisco, Cape Town and Sydney with a parts support network that will have every serviceable item at each dealer, to reduce the time that the car is away from the owner. All of this is while McLaren are in the process of moving to a new production center that has been designed around the production cycle of the MP4-12C.
McLaren also hinted at three more future models, Spyder, lightweight road going GT3 and a four-door coupe? These are all rumours at the moment but we hope to find out soon and be back at McLaren HQ for the release of them.