McLaren GT will show 12C Can-Am Edition Concept at Pebble Beach

Article by Anita Panait, on August 15, 2012

The new race car making unit of the McLaren Group, McLaren GT, is showcasing a track-focused concept at the Pebble Beach Concours. The 12C Can-Am Edition marks the debut of a 12C racing variant outside Europe.  The carmaker gave the 12C Can-Am Edition a McLaren Orange finish, as homage to the cars of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme that met extraordinary success throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

The McLaren Orange finish is in sharp contrast to the roof, door and bumper sections, which are finished in satin black. 12C Can-Am Edition also features carbon fibre side radiator vanes, wing mirrors and engine cover.

McLaren badges on the front and rear of the 12C Can-Am Edition are also finished in carbon fibre. The 12C Can-Am Edition is underpinned by the same carbon fibre MonoCell chassis that supports the conventional 12C road car. Since the 12C Can-Am Edition is just a pure concept, designed as the ‘ultimate track car’ and despite being based on the 12C GT3 race car, it is not subject to any regular racing regulations.

The 12C Can-Am Edition is powered by a revised version of the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, which features a distinct engine calibration and augmented cooling system, allowing the power unit to provide up to 630hp. This surge of power alone makes the 12C Can-Am Edition the most powerful 12C derivative ever shown.

Having an overall dry weight of 1,200kg (2645.5lbs), the 12C Can-Am Edition features unique aerodynamics that is developed and designed by McLaren Racing using Formula 1 technology and simulation to optimise downforce by around 30 percent more.

The optimised aerodynamic package includes a carbon fibre front splitter, carbon fibre dive planes, and a carbon fibre wing at the rear. To further maximise the aerodynamic package, the 12C Can-Am Edition is fitted with an imposing carbon fibre diffuser beneath the two-tone rear bumper.

Serving as the heart of the 12C is the Carbon MonoCell that employs carbon composite construction. McLaren was the first one to employ carbon composite construction in the 1981 Formula 1 MP4/1 model. Since then, all other Formula One teams followed suit. McLaren first employed carbon composite construction on road cars with the 1993 McLaren F1. The carmaker built on this groundbreaking experience, and further improved it to create a carbon fiber chassis and body for the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

Carbon chassis used to be reserved for most expensive and the most exotic cars. This is primarily because building a chassis and body made from carbon fiber isn’t only expensive but is also complex. But the new 12C changes everything as it employs Carbon MonoCell, which also is light, strong, rigid and durable. However, since the Carbon MonoCell is engineered as a one-piece molding, it was possible to build a carbon fiber chassis in a less expensive and more affordable manner.

Aside from these dynamic benefits, the Carbon MonoCell also allows engineers to take advantage of its structural attributes. For instance, the Carbon MonoCell allows for a narrower structure, thereby making the 12C more compact.

Being underpinned by carbon technology isn’t the only great thing about the new 12C as this new McLaren super boasts of having highest specific power output. In addition, its power-to-weight and torque-to-weight ratios are also overwhelming. These power levels are supported by the so-called Proactive Chassis Control system, which allows the 12C to offer superb handling and ride comfort as centered on its occupants.

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