Gemballa Racing to hit the 2012 motorsport season with the McLaren MP4-12C GT3

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 28, 2011

GEMBALLA is the latest team to enter the realm of racing. As GEMBALLA celebrates its 30th anniversary, it aims to set another milestone. For the 2012 motorsport season, the new team will enter two McLaren MP4-12C GT3 cars. Sascha Bert was hired by Steffen Korbach, the team owner and GEMBALLA investor, to oversee the new motorsport venture. Bert is famous for being a terrific racing instructor and driver.

He used to be a former German kart champion, Formula 3 and FIA GT driver, and he has experienced being on the winners' podium at the Nürburgring VLN 24-hour race. Korbach described Bert of being an “absolute pro” and of being capable to manage its new racing team.

For the last 30 years, GEMBALLA has earned a reputation of having high performance, reliability and outstanding qualities. GEMBALLA aims to commemorate the launch of the McLaren F1 GTR at the 24-hours of Le Mans 17 years ago and will rely on McLaren’s competition pedigree.

The McLaren MP4-12C GT3 features world-class technology. The GT3 racecar is based on the MP4-12C supercar and it is powered by a 3.8-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine. It is also equipped with a bespoke racing gearbox, carbon safety cell, race front splitter, large fixed rear wing, optimized air vents at the front and a racing diffuser at the rear.

The latest from McLaren, the MP4-12C GT3, will offer a suspension arrangement that has been specifically modified for racing with a distinct calibration of its engine. It will also have the bespoke racing transmission that was made in collaboration with Ricardo, the same one who developed McLaren’s engine. Much like how the 12C road car was developed, the company worked with a number of specialist suppliers in order to come out with a car that was lightweight and innovative.

While the MP4-12C GT3 is equipped with the same engine as the 12C, which is the twin turbo 3.8-liter 'M838T' V8 engine, it has been detuned from 600 PS to 500 PS. With this, the MP4-12C GT3 is able to get optimum power from the engine. Indeed, this new offering is a race car that is performance-balanced. McLaren GT also utilized the TAG-400 Engine Control Unit for the new model. This data logger and self-contained compact engine management system is conceptualized and created by McLaren Electronic Systems. Components used were purchased from a supplier who had previously worked with other companies involved in Formula 1.

What this simply shows is that the McLaren GT has truly achieved its goal of having a GT3 car whose reliability and quality are unmatched. According to Mark Williams, while the McLaren GT is indeed smaller compared to McLaren Racing, it continues to apply methods learned in Formula 1 for each possible area. He added that for a number of years now, the company has partnered with Akebono for Formula 1 and he is more than happy to have for McLaren GT a reliable and committed partner.

Not only will Akebono be the one to supply its brake calipers, it had also developed the MP4-12C GT3’s bespoke brake pad. In addition, the company made sure that experts coming from McLaren Racing would be able to work hand-in-hand with Michelin in order to make the correct tyre model. Since having strong relationships is just as crucial for suppliers, Williams continued by stating that he is sure both Ricardo and Mobil 1 will learn a lot by working as partners especially on the innovative lubricants to be used for the new transmission.

Going back to the MP4-12C GT3, Williams continued by saying that since racing tyres for the GT3 come with a tyre grip balance, it was important the vehicle’s center of gravity was moved a bit forward. However the only way to do this would be to have lower weight at its rear portion.

Because of this, Ricardo chose the race-specific sequential shift 6-speed gearbox. The reason is that when compared to the 7-speed Seamless Shift gearbox generally used by road cars, it is lighter by 80 kilograms. McLaren GT did not stop there. Instead, Williams issued a challenge to Ricardo to find a way to lower the vehicle’s weight even further. This meant the MP4-12C GT3 would need to have a customized casing design. Of course, he continued, this is merely an example of how McLaren GT continues to find ways to lower the weight and at the same time improve the efficiency.

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