McLaren reveals first images, specs of MP4-12C GT3 car

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 16, 2011

McLaren has released the first images and results of the tests conducted on the MP4-12C GT3 car. McLaren confirmed in late 2010 that it is returning to GT racing and also that it has been preparing several McLaren MP4-12C GT3 cars for European-based private racers. In particular, the first McLaren MP4-12C GT3 tests were done at the MIRA proving ground facility and Silverstone Circuit in England.

McLaren GT Project Manager Andrew Kirkaldy and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin were behind the wheel during the tests. Based on the McLaren carbon MonoCell chassis, the 12C GT3 weighs only 75kg and is built in a revolutionary one-piece mould. The GT3 car has been given race specification composite body panels and a fixed rear wing.

The race car is powered by the same 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 as in the production car but it was tuned to race specification. McLaren will also put in a bespoke paddle-shift system operating an all-new Ricardo-designed gearbox developed for racing.

A new ABS system will be supplied by Bosch Motorsport for the 12C GT3. McLaren Racing developed a new aerodynamics package that complies with GT3 regulations, incorporating a new front splitter, door blade, rear wing, diffuser and louvres in the front fenders.

Other motorsport-specific braking and suspension components include bespoke callipers by Akebono, Official Supplier to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. To comply with regulations implemented by racing authorities, the 12C GT3 will not have the road-going 12C’s ProActive Chassis Control System. Instead, it will feature a configuration comprising race-specific roll bars and dampers.

MP4-12C GT3 and its 2011 development program plans have been unveiled by McLaren GT, a new car manufacturing company that will build the race car with the combined expertise of McLaren Automotive, McLaren Racing and CRS Racing. This will be the first McLaren car to be built for the FIA GT series racing after the McLaren F1 GTR stopped production in 1997. The MP4-12C GT3 is inspired by the latest MP4-12C high-performance sports car.

A group of designers, engineers and test drivers experienced in GT and Formula 1 racing were brought together to carry out the procedure of adapting the carbon-based 12C to racing specifications. According to McLaren Group Chief Executive Officer Martin Whitmarsh, racing is in the blood of McLaren and it is a natural step to take the MP4-12C and transform the road car into the most efficient, dependable and easy to drive GT3 car.

The performance of all cars on the grid will be balanced based on race rules. This aims to choose a technical specification that makes sure any driver will be able to gain access to the 12C GT3's performance limit without difficulty. Whitmarsh adds that they have worked together with CRS Racing to make sure that the design and development program of the 12C will stay as close as possible to the one McLaren Racing would use to develop a Formula 1 car.

The CRS team is competent enough to make decisions in this field since they have an excellent record in racing GT3 cars and know what it takes to succeed in such a level of competitive motorsport. As a response, McLaren Racing will bring new technology levels to GT3 racing. This is the only GT3 car in 2012 that will include a carbon chassis as well as a steering wheel, among other technology associated with a Formula 1 car.

12C GT3 car will include the carbon Monocell chassis plus the same design of steering wheel used by Lewis Hamilton in his Formula 1 car. In addition, the company is collaborating with previous and present Formula 1 suppliers like for instance Mobil 1, Ricardo, Michelin, Akebono and McLaren Electronic Systems. Combining a road car with Formula 1 technology plus experience will benefit any person who is racing a 12CGT3 in 2012.

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