The first McLaren MP4-12C GT3 to be built by McLaren GT has successfully undertaken its debut tests at the MIRA proving ground facility and Silverstone Circuit in England.
The 12C GT3 race car is based on a standard 12C and the McLaren carbon MonoCell chassis, which weighs just 75kg and is produced in a revolutionary one-piece mould. Race specification composite body panels and a fixed rear wing have been added to the GT3 car.
The same 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 as in the production car on which it is based will be used in the 12C GT3, tuned to race specification. A bespoke paddle-shift system operating an all-new Ricardo-designed gearbox developed specifically for racing will be fitted. This system eschews the 7-speed SSG dual-clutch Graziano transmission supplied in the standard 12C.
McLaren GT Project Manager Andrew Kirkaldy and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin piloted the new 12C GT3 on its first outings. These real-world tests follow months of virtual testing in the McLaren Simulator at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, which is also used to develop the 12C production car and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' Formula 1 cars.
Andrew Kirkaldy said: "The 12C's carbon chassis and aerodynamic efficiency mean we started with a lightweight, dynamically-optimised sports car. Those characteristics are fundamental to any race car.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.
From 2012, McLaren Automotive and CRS Racing will supply and support a limited number of FIA GT3-compliant racing cars based on the McLaren 12C high-performance sports car for privateers.
New electrical architecture is being supplied by McLaren Electronic Systems Limited, including electronic dash and data technologies. Bosch Motorsport will supply a new ABS system for the 12C GT3. A new aerodynamics package has been developed by McLaren Racing in compliance with GT3 regulations, incorporating a new front splitter, door blade, rear wing, diffuser and louvres in the front fenders.
The new GT3 car will feature motorsport-specific braking and suspension components. These include bespoke callipers by Akebono, Official Supplier to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Due to regulations imposed by racing authorities, the 12C GT3 will not feature the road-going 12C's ProActive Chassis Control System; negating the requirement for an anti-roll bar. Instead, the 12C GT3 will use a configuration comprising race-specific roll bars and dampers.