McLaren is going back to sports car racing in a big way. It’s assembled a new division, dubbed McLaren GT, which includes McLaren Automotive and McLaren Racing. Along with CRS Racing, the group launched the MP4-12C GT3 and has announced plans for a full racing development program in 2011.
The new GT3 will be homologated for the FIA GT3 Sports Car series and its return to the track will mark the first time McLaren has competed since 1997. It features much of the same engineering and technology as its street going counterpart, but the engine has been tuned specifically for racing (said to develop around 500 metric horsepower) and the GT3 will feature a specific bespoke race gearbox and suspension tuning.
The car is set to make its competition debut this year at the Blancpain Endurance Series race at the Circuito de Navarra in Northern Spain, followed by events at Magny-Cours (France) and Silverstone (Great Britain) and will be driven by CRS Principal Andrew Kirkaldy, along with 2010 McLaren Mercedes test driver Oliver Turvey and Portuguese wheelman Alvaro Parente.
The car has already undergone extensive testing and McLaren hopes to have some 20 examples ready for privateer teams to run in 2012. For more information on the company’s new GT3 program, hit the jump to see the official video.