2012 Geneva Motor Show: Gemballa GT based on the McLaren MP4-12C

Article by Christian A., on March 6, 2012

The Gemballa GT, which is based on the all-new McLaren MP4-12C, has finally made its debut. The car was created using the philosophy: "Pure performance with real passion.” It is actually the first non-Porsche-based car to carry the Gemballa GT name. There had been reports that the new McLaren is a distillation of the wide-ranging motorsport expertise of this company but this very advanced, empirical method has resulted in a car that had excellent abilities but with a slightly generic appearance and detached driving experience.

Gemballa CEO Andreas Schwarz said that it had aimed to instill the “missing emotion” into the Gemballa GT version of the MP4-12C. He said that its “starting point” is an aerodynamic styling kit and ultra-light forged alloy wheels. He added that they’re in development of a program to upgrade the engine too.

McLaren and Gemballa are both obsessed with lightweight, high-strength construction that has resulted to the significant usage of carbonfiber. It’s clear that McLaren MP4-12C is built on this philosophy from its F1-inspired carbonfiber centre tub to the body panels. It has a weight of only 1,434kg and is powered by a 608hp/441 kW bi-turbo 3.8 litre V8 motor.

The aerodynamic kit for the Gemballa GT includes a new front bumper/spoiler, side skirts, rear apron and a small rear wing, which are all produced in Germany. These parts make the car appear more purposeful and they also improve its stability in high speeds.

The original bodywork isn’t affected since they’re fitted to the factory mounting points. The Bespoke GEMBALLA forged alloy wheels are one size bigger than the factory model.

At the front, there are 20-inch diameter wheels while at the rear, the wheels are sized 21-inch. The arches are filled by these wheels and the car’s stance becomes more muscular. It also increases mechanical grip. The look of the McLaren MP4-12C is enhanced considerably with this Gemballa GT program. It’s believed that the upcoming modifications to its technical aspect add to the driving experience too.

The new McLaren MP4-12C takes pride at being fitted with the carmaker’s Carbon MonoCell, which is essentially a one-piece carbon fiber chassis that also served as a safety survival tub similar to those employed in Formula 1 racing cars. Interestingly, it was McLaren that pioneered the use of carbon composite construction. McLaren’s carbon chassis made its debut in a 1981 Formula 1 MP4/1 model, with all other Formula 1 teams following suit.

The 1993 McLaren F1 marked the first time that a carbon chassis was used in a road car, and soon enough, the carmaker commenced building carbon fiber chassis and body – in higher volumes for the SLR. However, a carbon fiber requires a complex design and build, which translated to skyrocketing costs. This also meant that cars with carbon chassis are usually limited for the super-rich.

However, McLaren soon discovered that by engineering a one-piece carbon composite molding, costs could be drastically reduced while still creating a strong, lightweight and durable tub. This has become the carmaker’s new pride – the Carbon MonoCell.

Aside from its dynamic advantages, this Carbon MonoCell also provides a number of engineering opportunities that allowed McLaren to shape the 12C’s true potential. For instance, the design of the Carbon MonoCell permits a narrower overall structure, which in turns enables the McLaren to create a more compact car that is easier to handle and drive.

Thanks to the superior power and lightweight nature of the 12C, the sports car boasts of having the highest specific power output in its class as well as having superior power- and torque-to-weight ratios. Moreover, since the 12C has the Proactive Chassis Control system, its splendid handling and ride comfort are complemented by a terrific occupant packaging with higher levels of comfort.

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