McLaren confirms limited production of MP4-12C GT3 race cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 19, 2010

It had been 12 years since the last time the company’s racers appeared at Le Mans, but McLaren finally announced a comeback to GT sports racing with the development of a new racing car converted from the McLaren MP4-12C high performance sports cars. The new car was developed in cooperation with UK-based CRS Racing. The new GT3 race car was made available exclusively to European privateers since 2012.

Each recipient of the GT3 received full support from both MacLaren and CRS Racing. The 12C-based GT3 boasted of lightweight construction and excellent aerodynamics. The new design, which made use of a moulded carbon chassis called the Monocell, generated just the ideal downforce and aerodynamic factor to ensure excellent racing performance.

In addition to ensuring great functionality, the McLaren-CRS tandem created a car that was also visually appealing to racing car enthusiasts. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh explained that the development of the new GT3 from the 12C is an effort towards maintaining the company’s excellent reputation in GT Racing and other racing events in the world.

Describing the history as “legendary,” Whitmarsh said that the 12C was a natural choice to convert into a GT3 car, adding that potential customers will certainly be drawn to the base architecture’s ease of maintenance and excellent performance record.

Whitmarsh then said that the collaboration with CRS Racing should create a 12C GT3 that should be a hit amongst European racing teams beginning in 2012. Andrew Kirkaldy, Team Principal for CRS Racing, expressed the team’s pride at being able to collaborate with a global brand name in developing a high quality GT-qualified vehicle.

Kirkaldy then said that excellent results can be expected from the 12C GT3, which he said will be a testimony to the engineering experience of the McLaren staff. As to why the 12C GT3 was produced in a limited run, Kirkaldy said that the decision was made in order to ensure good customer service and experience.

The limited-edition 12C GT3 was made available for pre-order by prospective customers through the McLaren GT website. CRS Racing will be manufacturing the 12C GT3 and is set to provide after-market customer support services to buyers. CRS Racing brings its experience in GT Racing to the development and the maintenance of the limited edition 12C GT3.

With Fia GT, International GT Open, British GT and Formula Renault UK Championships under its belt, 12C GT3 buyers are in good hands with CRS Racing.

The 12C GT3 comes after a 12-year absence in the 24 Heures du Mans racetrack. McLaren’s last race in Le Mans involved six McLaren Longtails. Three years before the last McLaren participation in Le Mans, the company had achieved a groundbreaking victory with a McLaren F1 GTR in the same racetrack.

Press Release

McLAREN CONFIRMS GT3 RACING PROGRAMME FOR MP4-12C

McLaren today confirms its plans to bring back the McLaren name to GT sports cars racing. From 2012, McLaren and CRS Racing will supply and support a limited number of GT3 racing cars based on the McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car for European-based privateers.

15 years since the McLaren F1 GTR famously won the world-famous 24 Heures du Mans (Le Mans) on its debut, and 12 years since six 'Longtails' last raced at Le Mans, McLaren and CRS Racing, a successful and experienced UK-based racing team, have begun development work aimed at turning the 12C road car into a race-winning GT3 sports car. As part of the development programme, McLaren and CRS Racing will compete at a limited number of European GT races in 2011.

With the 12C's revolutionary lightweight one-piece moulded carbon chassis (the 'MonoCell'), its high levels of downforce and aerodynamic performance, and its focus on form and function, the 12C should prove to be a great platform on which to develop a racing car, as well as visually setting pulses racing at European race tracks.

Martin Whitmarsh, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal said: "Racing is in our blood – it was natural to develop a GT3 car alongside the 12C road car. We have a legendary history in global motorsport, including GT racing, and we aim to maintain that reputation with this GT3 programme, and any future sports car projects that may evolve.

"The 12C's architecture and design was always aimed at high-performance and ease of maintenance - two key criteria for potential customers. Combine that with the vast amount of racing experience in our automotive team, and CRS Racing's specialist development experience, and the 12C GT3 should be an exciting proposition for the top teams planning to race in GT3 from 2012."

Andrew Kirkaldy, Team Principal, CRS Racing said: "It is a rare opportunity to work with a company like McLaren and we are proud to be involved. Together, we aim to produce the highest quality GT car on the grid. The level of engineering experience at McLaren is unparalleled and this will be reflected in the 12C GT3. One of the most important aspects of this programme will be customer service and for that reason we will be building a limited number of cars at a competitive price. The result will be an incredible GT car with manageable running costs and good residual value that will provide its owner with an unrivalled experience."

Further details about the McLaren 12C GT3 racing car programme will be announced in 2011 and interest from prospective customers can be registered on www.mclarengt.com.

Initial plans are for a limited run of 12Cs developed for the 2012 European FIA GT3 Series, but, as with McLaren Automotive's road car business, conservative growth and expansion will be considered.

CRS Racing will build, sell and support the 12C GT3 cars in close collaboration with McLaren. The Leicestershire-based racing team has a strong pedigree in GT racing in the Le Mans Series, the FIA GT Championship, the International GT Open and the British GT Championship. CRS also runs two successful single-seater teams: in the Formula Renault UK Championship and as Atech CRS in the GP3 Series.

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