First McLaren MP4-12C GT3 race cars available are already sold

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 18, 2011

McLaren GT said that the first 20 MP4-12C GT3 race cars made available to purchase for racing in 2012 have all been sold. The new GT race car manufacturer is currently in preparations for two of its cars to participate in the Blancpain Endurance Series race on August 27 at Magny Cours.

The supply ran out early, similar to what happened with the 12C road car used as the basis of the 12C GT3 race car. McLaren intended for the production of the 12C GT3 to be limited as it aims to develop close relationships and offer continuing engineering support to its customers racing in 2012 and even after.

The distribution of the race cars will be limited to private owners and race teams for racing in Europe in 2012. McLaren GT started to develop the 12C GT3 in March.

This was when the first iteration of the race car was tested at the MIRA proving ground and Silverstone Stowe Circuit in the UK. Tests were also undertaken at Circuito de Navarra in northern Spain and Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal – two of the toughest new circuits in Europe.

The car then had its race debut in the British GT Championship at Spa-Francorchamps last July. During the Total 24 hours of Spa, McLaren GT, three units of the 12C GT3 had competed. This was also the time that the price of the new MP4-12C GT3 was set at £310,000. The automaker is assuring customers that there are no hidden costs and that they can work with McLaren GT engineers throughout 2012 to develop the 12C GT3 to their particular race specifications.

A full list of clients for the new 12C GT3 will be published in advance of the 2012 season, and will include: ASM Team, Andrew Tate, Apex Motorsport, Boutsen Energy Racing/Ginion Group, Doerr Motorsport, Gulf Racing, J.A.S. Motorsport, Klaas Hummel, Leon Price, Von Ryan Racing.

The 12C road car is one of the most advanced vehicles ever produced by McLaren. However, in order to develop a lightweight car such as the new MP4-12C GT3, McLaren teamed up with one of the highly respected car-engineering consultants in the industry.

The latest 1.3litre M838T V8 Twin Turbo engine was developed with Ricardo. To deliver optimum power performance, the team came up with 500 PS for the new 12C, which is a far cry from the much heavier road car at 600 PS. The McLaren MP4-12C GT3 also features a new suspension, engine calibration and bespoke 6-speed transmission designed for racing.

Mark Williams, McLaren’s Head of Engineering explained that the GT3’s racing tyre grip balance is at the centre of gravity. Therefore, a significant amount of weight needs to be decreased at the rear. This is the reason why they chose Ricardo’s 6-speed sequential shift gearbox. The bespoke transmission is in fact 80kg lighter as compared to the road car’s 7-speed transmission. Nonetheless, all major parts that were used on the new 12C have been tested for racing. And to further reduce the weight and improve its efficiency, Ricardo created a bespoke casing design.

McLaren also used the TAG-400 Engine Control Unit technology. It provides an independent engine management system for the latest GT3. The TAG400 is also developed and designed by McLaren Electronic Systems as data logger for racing engines.

If not for its friends in Formula 1, it would be impossible for McLaren to deliver unparalleled quality and reliability for the new GT3. In fact, Williams also thinks that the GT organisation is smaller than its counterpart in racing. Still, they are employing Formula 1 principles in every aspect that requires the same.

He also justified how they worked with Formula 1’s Akebono over the years and that they are grateful to work with a dependable team for the GT series. McLaren will obtain the 12C GT3’s bespoke brakepad and brake callipers from the same partner. In line with this, McLaren and Michelin are also teaming up closely for the perfect tyre design. On the other hand, Ricardo and Mobil 1 will handle the new transmission’s lubricants.

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