After a photo preview at the end of last year, the racing version of McLaren's all-new supercar has been revealed in England, where the car undertook its first shakedown tests. Built by McLaren GT, a new company set up by the McLaren Group and CRS Racing, the MP4-12C GT3 had its debut test outings at the MIRA proving ground facility and the Silverstone Circuit.
Based on the standard MP4-12C, the GT3 version uses the same one-piece carbon MonoCell chassis, which weighs just 75 kilograms (165.3 lbs). Spectacular race spec composite body panels and a fixed rear wing have been added to the MP4-12C GT3, while the new aerodynamics package includes a new front splitter, door blade, rear wing, diffuser and louvres in the front fenders.
“The car is around 100mm wider than the standard production car and features a new suspension system which we have tested in the McLaren Simulator. Having now experienced this new set-up in the 12C GT3 car, I’m delighted with the progress we are making,” said Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GT project manager. The MP4-12 C GT3 uses the same 3.8-liter twin turbo V8 engine from the road car, tuned to race specification. The unit is linked to an all-new racing gearbox developed by Ricardo and fitted with paddle-shift system.
The tests were a good occasion for McLaren to introduce its newest test driver, 26-year-old Alvaro Parente, with the company planning to have a team of six test drivers by mid-2011. The shakedown will be followed by comprehensive tests scheduled throughout March and April at a number of FIA certified circuits across Europe. Details about the driver line-up and race programme for the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 will be revealed after these tests. Starting next year, McLaren GT will also supply and support a limited number of FIA GT3-compliant racing cars for privateers.
By Dan Mihalascu