The organizers of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) have confirmed the McLaren 12C GT3 to be eligible after having a strong competitive debut season in Europe. This means that for the first time, this British-produced racer can now be a race participant in North America. During the 2012 season, the 12C GT3 got 19 victories and 19 podium finishes.
Nevertheless, it received more improvements for the 2013 season that optimized the car’s performance in the more diverse conditions seen in global championships. These upgrades include the updated bonnet and ducting, which are meant to guarantee that the 12C GT3 could still be competitive in temperatures hotter than those experienced in 2012.
Pirelli World Challenge, which is currently on its 24th straight season, is one of the leading production car-based racing championships in North America. It’s also considered to be a support series for the IZOD IndyCar calendar. Every race is a sprint that takes 50 minutes. It is comprised of a grid visit to several of the best purpose-built tracks and street circuits throughout the US and Canada.
The series is sanctioned by SCCA Pro Racing and races at North America's premier road and temporary street courses. According to McLaren Group CEO Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren has a highly renowned racing history in the U.S., leading the iconic Can-Am series with a record-high of 43 race wins and five championships from 1967 to 1971.
Taking credit for these achievements are founder Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme, his team-mate. Mark Donohue and Johnny Rutherford are responsible for the well-known Indy 500 race three times in 1972, 1974 and 1976.
McLaren was able to get the 12C GT3 for its 2011 race program by applying the lessons learned from its racing experience and by employing development. Even before it takes the 12C GT3 to the races, McLaren Automotive embarked on a project to build a high-performance sports car – employing aerodynamic purity and lightweight engineering -- that would create new standards in terms of speed, handling, braking as well as efficiency and drivability. This is why the McLaren MP4-12C could be considered as the perfect road car from which a race-winning GT car would be born from.
Following an agreement to take the 12C to the track, key players of McLaren Automotive's design and engineering teams found it easy to support this endeavor.
Mark Vinnels, McLaren Automotive Programme Director, remarked that taking the 12C racing was an obvious decision. He noted that even from the early stages of the 12C’s development, key members of McLaren Racing were integrated into the road car development team. He added that their experience and skills as well as their positive attitude have resulted to the creation of a great road car and a unique racing car.
He quipped that the Le Mans-winning McLaren F1 GTR displayed at the McLaren Technology Centre headquarters served as their inspiration. He added that since then, racing has changed and the team isn’t aiming to develop a race car that could win Le Mans on the spot.