McLaren MP4-12C GT3 Set for Competitive Race Debut – Video

Earlier this month we caught a glimpse into the new GT3 MP4-12C race car from McLaren and the British automaker has finally announced its 2012 race plans.

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.

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Lexus LFA Heading to FIA GT1 Series to Take on Nissan GT-R

Lexus aims to prove just how impressive its new LFA supercar is by competing in what is arguably the world’s most prestigious sports car series, the FIA GT1 Championship. The carbon-chassis 552-hp V10 exotic will reportedly take on rivals such as the Lamborghini Murciélago, Ford GT, Aston Martin DB9, Maserati MC12 and domestic rival Nissan with its race-spec GT-R.

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FIA GT1 Nissan GT-R Teams Confirm Silverstone Participation [video]

After reporting yesterday on the possible boycott of Round 2 of the FIA GT1 World Championship by both Nissan GT-R teams due to a controversial weight penalty assessed to them prior to the season opener in Abu Dhabi, we have since learned that the  Swiss Racing Team and Sumo Power GT have confirmed their attendance at Silverstone this weekend (Apr. 30th to May 2nd).

This is good news for GT-R and GT1 fans alike, since earlier reports of a possible boycott along with the travel difficulties caused by the volcano eruption in Iceland were both sources of concern. Swiss Racing Team principals had to call in a favor from long-standing friendly motorsports relations with Jetalliance in order to get their crew back to Europe in time to prepare for Silverstone. “Many thanks to the AUA, to Jetalliance CEO Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer and Werner Langer. They supported us enormously. It was an organisational masterpiece,” said SRT managing director Othmar Welti. “We are working at the limit and on Wednesday morning we will travel to Silverstone. The team is still busy assembling the cars and is doing a great job,” team manager Erich Kolb said praisingly.

UK-based Sumo Power GT also faced travel difficulties and they too had to get creative to find their way home prior to Silverstone. According to team manager Allen Orchard, “It’s been a race in itself to get the cars, kit and all the team back from Abu Dhabi in time for this next race. With a few days still to go there’s still a lot to be done and we, like all teams, will be working flat out to ensure we make it to the grid. After all we’ve been through over the past few days, I sincerely hope that the Balance of Performance will be corrected so we can compete on an equal basis and the Championship can put on a great show for the spectators.”

It’s still unclear what, if any, action the FIA will take regarding the penalty weight assessed to the GT-Rs, but at least we now know that both Nissan teams will be in attendance and fighting as best they can for the race win at Silverstone.

For more information on the FIA GT1 World Championship, go to GT1 World.  For a video recap of Round 1 at Abu Dhabi, watch the video after the jump.

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Report: Nissan GT-R Teams Threaten Boycott of FIA GT1 Championship

As reported in Autosport Magazine, the two Nissan teams competing in the new FIA GT1 World Championship have threatened to boycott the next round and to launch a protest unless the weight penalty heaped on the GT-R ahead of the Abu Dhabi series opener is removed.

The first race of the season took place last weekend (April 17th/18th) at Abu Dhabi’s F1 masterpiece Yas Marina Circuit, where the FIA held a controversial test session prior to the race in an effort to equalize performance between the varied machinery being campaigned. Former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen took each of the six types of cars in the series for a few hot laps, but rather than taking the planned 10 to 15 laps in each car it has been reported that he took fewer and that those were unevenly distributed amongst the six types of cars that compete in the series (Nissan GT-R, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Ford GT, Aston Martin DB9, Maserati MC12, and Lamborghini Murcielago R-SV).

The result of Frenzen’s testing was 66 lbs of penalty weight being added to the Nissan GT-Rs (the stiffest penalty of the bunch, with the Maserati receiving a 55 lb penalty and the Corvette and Lamborghini taking on 22 lb each), which turned out to render them uncompetitive during the season opening race.

Both teams campaigning Nissan GT-Rs argued that the test done by the FIA was unfair, citing the limited time Frentzen spent in each car and the varying track conditions during the tests. There were also allegations of gamesmanship leveled at the Ford, Chevrolet and Aston Martin teams. The Ford GT, which went on to win the main race, apparently did not break the 2-minute 10-second mark during the FIA test and yet lapped in the 2-minute 7- to 8-second range during the race.

GT-R runners  The Swiss Racing team stated “We will not go to Silverstone under these conditions. We cannot be a grid filler.” The other GT-R squad, British-based Sumo Power, stated “We have to go to Silverstone because it is our home event. We have tried to argue our car with facts and figures, but we are prepared to put our money down and protest.”

For highlights of the Yas Marina 2010 FIA GT1 Championship opener, watch the video after the jump.

[Source: Autosport]

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FIA GT1 Nissan GT-Rs From Sumo Power GT and Swiss Racing Team Unveiled

2010 will mark the beginning of a new era of racing. GT racing goes global with 20 races spanning nine countries across four continents on ten of the world’s leading circuits. Only six manufacturers will compete in the inaugural season of the FIA GT1 World Championship with Nissan being the sole representative from the Land of the Rising Sun. They will be campaigning a quartet of similarly-built GT-Rs, a pair from Sumo Power GT (#22, #23) and the other two from Swiss Racing Team (#3, #4). Drivers Peter Dumbreck and Michael Krumm, for the Sumo Power GT GT-R, and Karl Wendlinger, multiple FIA GT race-winner and driver for Swiss Racing Team were present at the press conference held at the Automobile Club de France in Paris. “I have been racing in the FIA GT Championship for many years, but now I’m very excited about the new world championship – and very happy to be driving the Nissan GT-R,” said Wendlinger.

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Nissan Announces Racing Initiatives for 2009

Despite all of Nissan’s troubles, the company isn’t shying away from motorsports for 2009, with four factory backed cars running in Japan, as well as several privateer teams running in Japan, China, South Africa and even in Europe.

“Motorsports is an important part of Nissan’s strategy for building a strong brand with consumers who share our passion for high-performance driving,” said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. “In addition to being an important touch-point for consumers, motorsports serve as a dynamic proving ground for automotive innovation.”

That being said Nissan plans to back four teams in the SUPER GT series in the GT500 class. Team NISMO, Team Impul and Kondo Racing have all decided on running the Nissan GT-R, however, Hasemi Motorsport has not decided which platform it will use.

Some of the most exciting news, however, is that Gigawave MotorSport will run a NISMO-developed car in the FIA GT1 class in the U.K. The car will only run four races in 2009 and, therefore, won’t compete for the championship. The driver’s names are not official but are expected to be Michael Krumm ( a NISMO driver) and Darren Turner of Gigawave, a team that has compete in the FIA GT series since 2007.

Now if only a NISMO GT-R could make its way to the American Le Mans Series.

Official release after the jump:

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