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In total, 25 MP4-12C GT3 race cars in total will be campaigned throughout Europe and in the 2012 FIA GT1 World Championship. The McLaren MP4-12C race car was also selected to be the safety car for FIA GT1 World Championship race at Nogaro on April 8 and 9.
After an intensive development program in 2011, prototype models of the MP4-12C race car covered more than 35,000 miles on real world and simulated test tracks last year. All that effort went into building a reliable and hopefully rewarding race car for the 2012 season.
There will be 10 MP4-12C GT3s entering the Blancpain Endurance Series while Gemballa Racing and Doerr Motorsport will be competing in the German VLN series, which includes the infamous 24 Hours of Nürburgring. Gemballa Racing will also be competing in ADAC GT Masters with Molitor Racing, while Hexis Racing will take part in the FIA GT1 World Championships.
Apex Motorsport will enter an MP4-12C GT3 in select rounds of this year’s British GT Championship, and Lapidus Racing Team will participate in the International GT Open series and the 24-hour races at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.
The MP4-12C GT3 race car shares the same V8 twin-turbo engine and carbon “MonoCell” chassis found in the road car counterpart.
Check out a video on the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 after the break.
McLaren hasn’t competed in endurance sports car racing since the F1 GTR ran at Le Mans back in 1995. That, however, will all change on July 30th with the storied British marque announcing a three car team of MP4-12C GT3 race cars will attempt to endure the 24 Hours of Spa.
Two teams will compete in the GT class, while a third will hit the track in the Pro-Am Cup class, with a total of 10 drivers.
Earlier this year McLaren did run the MP4-12C GT3 in the British GT Championship, but this marks the first 24 hour race for the vehicles.
“I’m delighted with the quality of the drivers we have enlisted as we take the 12C GT3 to its first 24 hour race,” said McLaren Automotive Chief Test driver Chris Goodwin. “This level of endurance racing is a crucial test for the car technically, and we need the best possible team working with us to ensure we receive intelligent, objective feedback on the 12C GT3 driving experience. We will use this feedback as we continue to develop the car in readiness for customers to go racing next year.”
In total, McLaren is planning to deliver 20 MP4-12C GT3 race cars to customer teams to compete in motorsports in 2012.
GALLERY: McLaren MP4-12C GT3
Hit the jump for a run-down of the cars and drivers for the 24 Hours of Spa.
The McLaren MP4-12C GT3 will make its first official public appearance at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed, taking place from June 30th to July 3rd.
The GT3 will differ from the MP4-12C through aerodynamic performance upgrades including a front radiator, which increases the maximum ambient temperature at which the car can run. Other upgrades include a new gearbox cooler mounted on the rear aerodeck. A new front splitter will also be fitted to the GT3 along with a door blade, rear wing, diffuser and louvres in the front fenders. These components will be produced entirely from carbon fibre by McLaren Racing.
Only 20 of these cars will be delivered to private GT3 racing teams in Europe for 2012. The GT3 will also feature Formula 1 derived technologies including the same steering wheel design used by Lewis Hamilton in his MP4-24 Formula 1 car. Respected Formula 1 suppliers such as Akebono, Mobil 1, McLaren Electronic Systems, Ricardo and Michelin are working to create race car specification technology superior to the GT3 competition in 2012.
Andrew Kirkaldy from McLaren GT explained that: “The reaction to the 12C GT3 at the circuits we have visited has been phenomenal. I can’t wait to see how it goes down at Goodwood this weekend.”
“CRS Racing was clearly excited to be confirmed as partner in this project as we were only too aware of McLaren’s short, but unbelievable GT history with the F1. But the anticipation amongst circuit owners and race teams to McLaren’s return to GT racing has still surprised us. I’m delighted that we have the opportunity to drive the 12C GT3 up the hill at Goodwood and raise the interest even further” said Andrew Kirkaldy.
Drivers accompanying the GT3 at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed include Andrew Kirkaldy, 2010 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Oliver Turvey, and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin.
Gallery: McLaren MP4-12C GT3
At a recent press conference, McLaren announced pricing on the 20 MP4-12C GT3 race cars it will build for privateer teams to race in 2012 at a significant £310,000 excluding taxes (roughly $495,000 U.S.).
Andrew Kirkaldy, head of CRS Racing, who was also project manager on the GT3 program said that, “having been a customer of GT car manufacturers for many years I’m delighted we are now able to offer a carbon chassis based GT3 car for £310,000. There will be no hidden costs and we will work as hard as we can to support as many races as we can.”
McLaren Group CEO Martin Whitmarsh, added, “we have a unique mix of experience in the McLaren GT team and I expect the 12C GT3 to be the start of our GT racing plans. We have had great success outside of Formula 1, from the US, to France, to Japan and there is no reason why we can’t repeat that success in sports cars after 2012.”
Watch the press conference below:
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.
McLaren previewed what a race-ready version of their MP4-12C sports car will look like, when a small batch of GT3 class cars goes on sale in time for the 2012 FIA GT3 Series in Europe.
Apparently the GT3 version was developed alongside the road car, and considering that the race-trim McLaren F1 was able to win LeMans back in 1995, we’re optimistic that the MP4-12C GT3 will be an awesome performer – even if the name is an alphabet soup.
Customers can register their interest at the website below, but be advised that McLaren probably won’t even look at you unless you have some kind of offshore account to pay for this thing.
While it’s been assumed for quite some time now, McLaren’s M4-12C supercar will be hitting the racetrack in 2012. McLaren already has plans of releasing the M4-12C for sale next year, and with the aid of British CRS Racing will be unleashing a GT3 variant in 2012 with a GT2 version in 2013 (that could be racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans).
15 of McLaren’s MP4-12C GT3s will be unleashed in 2012, with some of the earlier developed vehicles attending races at the end of the 2011 season.
And no future race car would be complete without renderings. Thankfully Jon Sibal took his creative juices and did several McLaren MP4-12C’s and applied a ton of classic McLaren F1 GTR liveries to them. We’re very excited to see McLaren’s new pride and joy hitting the track in true race form.