Image credits: © McLaren.

2011 McLaren MP4-12C GT3 news, pictures, specifications, and information

MCLAREN MP4-12C GT3: MCLAREN GT UNVEILS TEAM AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

• McLaren MP4-12C GT3: McLaren GT unveils team and development programme aiming to put 12C GT3 customers at the front of the grid

• McLaren Automotive, McLaren Racing, McLaren Electronic Systems and McLaren Applied Technologies join forces wîth CRS Racing in development and support of new MP4-12C GT3

• New MP4-12C GT3 specification features technology from Formula 1 team suppliers

• McLaren GT plans to offer MP4-12C GT3 owners access to advanced McLaren Simulator programmes from 2012

• 20 MP4-12C GT3 race cars homologated for GT3 racing in 2012

• McLaren GT announces 2011 race schedule for new MP4-12C GT3 wîth special appearance planned for Goodwood Festival of Speed

• Andrew Kirkaldy, Oliver Turvey and Álvaro Parente to race the 12C GT3 in 2011 as McLaren GT prepares to deliver a race car of unrivalled quality to privateer teams in 2012

• New video available at www.youtube.com/mclarenautomotivetv: the MP4-12C GT3 and its road car equivalent in action


McLaren GT, a new race car manufacturer which brings together the expertise of McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive and CRS Racing, today unveiled its GT3 car and plans for a 2011 development programme.

The new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 will be the first McLaren car built for FIA* GT series racing since the McLaren F1 GTR finished production in1997. The 12C GT3 is based on the new MP4-12C high-performance sports car and a team of engineers, designers and test drivers wîth vast experience in Formula 1 and GT racing has been assembled to undertake the process of adapting the carbon chassis-based 12C to racing specification.

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren Group Chief Executive Officer said: 'McLaren has racing in its blood and it was a natural step to take our MP4-12C road car and turn it into the most reliable, efficient and easy to drive GT3 car. Every car on the grid will have its performance balanced by race rules, meaning our objective must be to select a technical specification that ensures any driver is able to access the 12C GT3's performance limit wîth ease.

'We have worked wîth CRS Racing to ensure the 12C's design and development programme is as close as possible to one McLaren Racing would employ in developing a Formula 1 car. The team at CRS is well qualified to shape decisions in this area as they have an outstanding record in racing GT3 cars, and understand what is required to be successful in that level of competitive motorsport.

'In return, McLaren Racing is able to bring new levels of technology to GT3 racing. No other GT3 car in 2012 will be supplied wîth a road-car carbon chassis, or a §teering wheel and other associated technology from a Formula 1 car.

'The 12C GT3 will be supplied wîth the 12C's carbon MonoCell and the same §teering wheel design employed by Lewis Hamilton in his MP4-24 Formula 1 car. Plus, we are working closely wîth Formula 1 suppliers past and present: Akebono, Mobil 1, McLaren Electronic Systems, Ricardo and Michelin for example. This blend of road car and Formula 1 technology and experience will be a great advantage to anyone racing a 12C GT3 in 2012.'

Drivers and FIA approved races confirmed for 2011

McLaren GT aims to deliver the highest quality, most reliable and most driveable car on the GT3 grid when 20 cars are delivered to privateer teams for racing in Europe in 2012. The unique combination of McLaren and CRS Racing's technology and development methodology is matched by McLaren GT's appointment of experienced and successful racing drivers to develop the 12C GT3 at challenging races over the 2011 season.

McLaren GT plans to debut the new MP4-12C GT3 at this season's Blancpain Endurance Series race at Spain's Circuito de Navarra, followed by Magny-Cours in France and Silverstone in England. As part of the development programme for the 12C GT3, McLaren GT also expects to enter the Total 24 Hours of Spa endurance race.

CRS Racing Team Principal Andrew Kirkaldy will be joined by 2010 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Oliver Turvey and Portuguese racing driver Álvaro Parente in the McLaren GT driver line-up for the 2011 development programme.

McLaren fans eager to see McLaren's first GT racing car since the legendary McLaren F1 GTR can expect to see the new 12C GT3 driven up the famous Hill at Goodwood Festival of Speed from 01-03 July 2011.

McLaren MP4-12C GT3 development targets

McLaren GT comprises a team of designers, engineers and test drivers wîth vast experience in developing successful race and road cars. Marcus Waite, McLaren GT Chief Engineer, began his career working wîth the McLaren Formula 1 Simulation Group. A move onto the Formula 1 team where he was Senior Test Team Engineer for many years was then followed by his appointment to McLaren Automotive as Test Team Leader responsible for the new MP4-12C sports car. Combining practical experience of Formula 1 car development methodology and a deep understanding of the 12C road car's technical specification is invaluable to McLaren GT.

Marcus Waite said: 'We have defined the technical requirements for the 12C GT3 in the McLaren simulator and I am pleased to say that feedback from the three new drivers in the team means we can immediately focus on fine-tuning the set-up of the car, rather than address any fundamental changes.

'There is no substitute for having the 12C GT3 pound around the European circuits on which we plan to race, so that is exactly what we are doing. A varied circuit programme is vital. Circuito de Navarra in Spain is a great track: a mixture of slow and fast corners and long straights, meaning the new engine calibration we are testing has to undertake relentless accelerations from low speeds. A successful shakedown there means we are now confident of powertrain durability.

'We followed Navarra wîth a test session at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal. The long, sweeping and fast bends of that circuit were a good test for the new oil tank we have designed for the 12C GT3. The oil is constantly moving and yet the new tank proved robust in that environment.

'These are just two examples of the way we will test every component of the 12C GT3 before delivering cars to race teams in 2012. I personally will not be satisfied until we have undertaken test programmes that significantly surpass the requirements of 3hr and 24hr endurance racing. We are committed to dealing wîth emerging issues that race teams often face in their first season running a new GT3 car and we will ensure our first customers receive a very reliable race car next season.'

Formula 1 simulator readies the new 12C GT3 for its track debut

On March 4th, virtually 30 years to the day that the world's first carbon-based racing car, the McLaren MP4/1 was shaken down at Silverstone (March 5th 1981), the 12C GT3 also debuted at the ÚK circuit.

One week later, it took to the Circuito de Navarra in Spain for its first FIA circuit test. These shake down and test sessions followed months ofextensive testing on simulated versions of international race circuits including Silverstone, Circuit de Catalunya and Paul Ricard. In simulated tests, McLaren GT was able to fine-tune engine calibration, power §teering, spring rates, weight distribution, gear ratios and differential settings.

Mark Williams, Head of Vehicle Engineering at McLaren Racing, said:'The new 12C GT3 was initially developed in the Simulator where we were able to fully explore the parameter space before defining the power, weight and downforce targets. We used Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to develop the aerodynamic configuration and then tested the various map shapes in the McLaren Simulator, working wîth the McLaren Automotive simulation team to define the vehicle set-up and access the resultant driveability. Being able to review our aero package and car set-up using a simulator developed for Formula 1 prior to first track running is unique. No other GT3 car will have been specified using this level of technology.'

Following the Spanish shakedown session, Andrew Kirkaldy Team Principal at CRS Racing and McLaren GT Project Manager, said: 'The performance of the car in Navarra was testament to the work we were able to do in the McLaren simulator in selecting the right set-up for the car. The virtual and real world versions of the 12C GT3 felt near-identical.

'The new aerodynamic body panels and features designed for the 12C GT3 are of outstanding quality and markedly increase the dynamic performance of the car. This level of quality can only be achieved using FE design analysis and knowing how best to apply carbon fibre. McLaren has this knowledge in abundance.

A new aerodynamics package produced entirely from carbon fibre has been developed by McLaren Racing in compliance wîth GT3 regulations, incorporating a new front splitter, door blade, rear wing, diffuser and louvres in the front fenders.

In partnership wîth McLaren Applied Technologies, McLaren GT plans to offer its clients the opportunity to develop their 12C GT3 using bespoke programmes in the McLaren Simulator. Chris Goodwin said: 'The simulator is a huge competitive advantage to McLaren Racing in developing its Formula 1 cars and to McLaren Automotive in developing its future range of sports cars.

'We recognise that the teams racing the 12C GT3 next year will be ahead of their competitors if they are able to use a bespoke McLaren simulation programme throughout the race season. We plan to announce full details of the simulation programme available to 12C GT3 owners and other potential clients later this year.'

The McLaren MP4-12C: The essence of a race car

Racing experience and development tools have played a key part in readying the 12C GT3 for its 2011 race programme. But, before the racing car takes to the competitive grid, McLaren, in the form of McLaren Automotive set out to develop a high-performance sports car that set new standards for speed, handling, efficiency, braking and driveability: formed from an obsession for aerodynamic purity and lightweight engineering. Assets and goals that make the McLaren MP4-12C a perfect road car from which to develop a race-winning GT car.

Once plans were agreed to take the 12C racing, key members of McLaren Automotive's design and engineering teams were eager to support this natural step at McLaren.

Mark Vinnels, McLaren Automotive Programme Director, said: 'It was an obvious decision to take the 12C racing. From the early stages in the car's development we were integrating key members of McLaren Racing into the road car development team and this blend of experience and skill, combined wîth a ‘can-do' attitude and desire to push what is technically possible, has led to both a great road car and a unique racing car. At the McLaren Technology Centre headquarters we walk past the McLaren F1 GTR that won Le Mans in '95 every day. Racing has changed since then, and we have no plans to develop a McLaren to win Le Mans outright again, but car number 59 is truly inspirational for us all.'

Frank Stephenson, McLaren Automotive Design Director, said: 'Conceptually, the 12C road car and future McLaren road cars are ‘easy' cars to design. We strive for form that is driven by aerodynamic efficiency, and this rules out arguments over styling or unnecessary bodywork details that can easily become dated as fashions change. Our design team is passionate about designing cars that tell you what's going on under the skin and remain relevant: we are an engineering company at heart and we shouldn't hide that fact. That's why supporting the development of the GT3 car was a great project to work on: the car needs more air to breathe and needs even greater downforce to hug the track. Yet it also has to quicken pulses as it goes about its business. The GT3 car really gets the heart racing!'

Únder the McLaren Orange skin, the 12C GT3 shares the same 75kg carbon ‘MonoCell' chassis as the 12C road car. Since the modern McLaren was formed in 1981, the company has used only carbon fibre for the chassis construction of all its road and race cars: it was a natural choice for the heart of the MP4-12C. Lightweight construction and manufacturing innovation through Resin Transfer Moulding was a priority for the engineers and designers responsible for the 12C's chassis. The result is a road car that, at1301kg**, is the lightest in the ‘core'*** sector of the high-performance sports car market.

Andrew Kirkaldy said: 'I believe the MP4-12C is an engineering masterpiece and that starts wîth its carbon chassis. A rigid chassis is hugely important to a racing driver. The McLaren MonoCell is unequalled as a safety cell, and our engineers can be sure that any changes made to the chassis set-up will have the desired effect because of its structural rigidity and predictability.

'The 12C is the first road car I have driven on a track and been truly overwhelmed by its dynamic performance. We have had to engineer certain aspects of our GT3 car to race specification, but I can't think of a better place to start than the new 12C.'

CRS Racing to deliver on expectations of a new McLaren race car

The prevailing design concept of the new McLaren MP4-12C road car is ‘designed around the driver', and this is just one example of McLaren's uncompromising commitment to offering a new driving experience in road and race cars. CRS Racing Team Principal Andrew Kirkaldy brings a decade of GT-level racing experience to McLaren GT and, as the team's project manager, Kirkaldy was able to specify the cockpit and other attributes of the 12C GT3 to ensure restrictions normally associated wîth GT3 race cars are removed from the McLaren.

Andrew Kirkaldy said: 'CRS Racing is delighted to be working wîth McLaren. The expectations are high and rightly so. Together we share the passion for design, engineering innovation and racing success that will ensure the 12C GT3 is the most competitive in the series from 2012.

'When Martin Whitmarsh first approached CRS Racing I was delighted that his main objective for McLaren GT was to make the needs of customers and drivers an absolute priority. That message transcends everything we are now undertaking. The development programme will be rigorous to ensure reliability, the technical specification of the 12C GT3 will surpass rival cars due to the links we have wîth Formula 1 technology suppliers, build quality will reflect the high standards introduced in the 12C road car, and the maximum performance will be accessible to drivers of varied experience levels.

'Before McLaren GT, CRS was a customer of race car manufacturers. On occasion, it became accepted that GT cars are unreliable straight out of the box because manufacturers deliver cars before the technology is proven for racing. At McLaren GT we know expectations are higher. We want our customers to experience outstanding performance wîth metronomic reliability.

'Our combined experience means we can identify problems encountered previously by race teams or drivers and address them. In the cockpit of the 12C GT3 for example, we have ensured that the pedal position is exactly in line wîth the seating and §teering wheel positions. The driving position in many GT3 cars is compromised by comparison.'

Specification and performance reflect McLaren expectations

Just as wîth the 12C road car, McLaren is working closely wîth specialist suppliers to deliver an innovative and lightweight car. The 3.8-litre McLaren V8 twin turbo ‘M838T' engine supplied in the road car also features in the 12C GT3, but de-tuned to 500 PS (from 600 PS) in order to provide optimum power for this performance-balanced race car.

The new MP4-12C GT3 will feature a unique engine calibration, bespoke racing transmission developed in partnership wîth Ricardo (who also developed the engine wîth McLaren) and a suspension arrangement tuned specifically for racing.

Mark Williams said: 'With the tyre grip balance moving forward on the GT3 racing tyres it was necessary to move the centre of gravity further forward and the only way to do this was to reduce weight at the rear. A six-speed sequential shift gearbox by Ricardo was selected because a race-specific transmission is 80kg lighter than the Seamless Shift, seven-speed gearbox used in the road car. All the internal components have been proven in other racing series. We then challenged Ricardo to reduce weight further, meaning the unit has a bespoke casing design. That is just one example of how we are continually lòòking to reduce weight and increase efficiency.'

McLaren GT has selected the TAG-400 Engine Control Únit for the new 12C GT3. The TAG-400 is a compact, self-contained engine management system and data logger for race engines designed and built by McLaren Electronic Systems. The procurement of components from suppliers used to working wîth partners in Formula 1 is another example of McLaren GT delivering on its objective to build a GT3 car of unrivalled quality and reliability.

Williams said: 'McLaren GT is a smaller organisation than McLaren Racing, but we are applying Formula 1 methodology in every possible area.

'We have worked wîth Akebono in Formula 1 for many years, and I am delighted to be able to call on such a committed and reliable partner for McLaren GT. Akebono will supply brake callipers and has also designed a bespoke brake pad for the 12C GT3. Our own experts from McLaren Racing have worked closely wîth Michelin to develop the correct tyre model for the 12C GT3 simulation programme. And strong supplier relationships are important to the suppliers themselves. I am sure that Mobil 1 and Ricardo will learn a lot working together on advanced lubricants for the 12C GT3's new transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)'

MP4-12C GT3: the customer commitment

With a rigorous development programme complete at the end of the 2011 GT3 season, McLaren GT will put in place a robust support programme to ensure all customers of the MP4-12C GT3 are able to stay competitive throughout the 2012 season.

Martin Whitmarsh said: 'We speak regularly wîth prospective customers for the 12C GT3 now and these relationships will only strengthen when teams take delivery of the 20 cars we plan to build for next season.

'This is the first step into GT3 racing for McLaren and we understand that our focus on quality must be consistent through design, development, technology, finish and customer service. I am proud of the relationships McLaren Racing has wîth sponsors and partners now and I look forward to extending this to customers of the new MP4-12C GT3.'

Initial demand for the first 20 McLaren MP4-12C GT3s is high, wîth interest suggesting that McLaren and CRS Racing could sell the run five times over. However, neither company has any desire to stretch the market and lead to a risk of either oversupply or restrictions on customer service. Retained value in each GT3 car is also of high priority to McLaren and CRS, and the first customers when they take delivery.

Looking further ahead, around 20 more GT3s plan to be built through 2013 and '14, but both McLaren and CRS remain open-minded and optimistic about developing racing cars for other series' and markets.

Andrew Kirkaldy summed up the customer-oriented attitudes at both companies: 'We will treat our customers wîth respect. Having spent time now at McLaren's amazing headquarters, and seen at close hand their aspiration to launch a new type of sports car company, it is clear that they are, as ever, keen to do things better. Whether this is through race support, parts supply, or even the simple fact that the car's list price is its price – there are no hidden extras – we want to make doing business wîth us a pleasure. If we can celebrate race wins together in spring 2012 then even better!'

Source - McLaren

MP4-12C GT3 PRICING ANNOUNCEMENT CAPTURED IN NEW VIDEO OF McLAREN GT LAUNCH PRESS CONFERENCE

- Ready-to-race new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 to be priced at £310,000*
- 12C GT3 pricing and development programme details announced at a McLaren Technology Centre press conference and captured in new short film:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0QV_QNwuqg

McLaren GT will build 20 new MP4-12C GT3 cars for privateer teams to race in 2012. At a press conference held at the McLaren Technology Centre, senior McLaren GT executives revealed to the world's media and a group of prospective 12C GT3 clients the price and development programme details of the first non-Formula 1 race car built by McLaren since the McLaren F1 GTR. A short film covering important news from the press conference is available to embed from McLaren Automotive's official You Tube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0QV_QNwuqg

Andrew Kirkaldy, CRS Racing Team Principal and Project Manager for McLaren GT said: '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.

'We will spend the 2011 season developing the car wîth a team from McLaren Racing, McLaren Applied Technologies and McLaren Automotive and make sure this is the most efficient, reliable and easy to drive GT3 car on the grid when we deliver cars to customers next year.'

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren Group CEO said: 'The new MP4-12C sports car is the essence of a race car and we used Formula 1 simulation technology to get us ahead in our development programme. 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 ÚS, to France, to Japan and there is no reason why we can't repeat that success in sports cars after 2012.'

Source - McLaren
• McLaren and CRS Racing in partnership to develop GT3 racing car based on new McLaren MP4-12C road car

• First customer cars planned for 2012 season

• 12C's innovative carbon chassis, light weight and aerodynamics promise winning performance from race-bred road car

WOKING, ÚK (Dec 17, 2010) – McLaren today confirms its plans to bring back the McLaren name to GT sports cars racing. From 2012, McLaren and CRS Racing will supply and support a limited number of GT3 racing cars based on the McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car for European-based privateers.

15 years since the McLaren F1 GTR famously won the world-famous 24 Heures du Mans (Le Mans) on its debut, and 12 years since six 'Longtails' last raced at Le Mans, McLaren and CRS Racing, a successful and experienced ÚK-based racing team, have begun development work aimed at turning the 12C road car into a race-winning GT3 sports car. As part of the development programme, McLaren and CRS Racing will compete at a limited number of European GT races in 2011.

With the 12C's revolutionary lightweight one-piece moulded carbon chassis (the 'MonoCell'), its high levels of downforce and aerodynamic performance, and its focus on form and function, the 12C should prove to be a great platform on which to develop a racing car, as well as visually setting pulses racing at European race tracks.

Martin Whitmarsh, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal said: 'Racing is in our blood – it was natural to develop a GT3 car alongside the 12C road car. We have a legendary history in global motorsport, including GT racing, and we aim to maintain that reputation wîth this GT3 programme, and any future sports car projects that may evolve.

'The 12C's architecture and design was always aimed at high-performance and ease of maintenance - two key criteria for potential customers. Combine that wîth the vast amount of racing experience in our automotive team, and CRS Racing's specialist development experience, and the 12C GT3 should be an exciting proposition for the top teams planning to race in GT3 from 2012.'

Andrew Kirkaldy, Team Principal, CRS Racing said: 'It is a rare opportunity to work wîth a company like McLaren and we are proud to be involved. Together, we aim to produce the highest quality GT car on the grid. The level of engineering experience at McLaren is unparalleled and this will be reflected in the 12C GT3. One of the most important aspects of this programme will be customer service and for that reason we will be building a limited number of cars at a competitive price. The result will be an incredible GT car wîth manageable running costs and good residual value that will provide its owner wîth an unrivalled experience.'

Further details about the McLaren 12C GT3 racing car programme will be announced in 2011 and interest from prospective customers can be registered on www.mclarengt.com.

Initial plans are for a limited run of 12Cs developed for the 2012 European FIA GT3 Series, but, as wîth McLaren Automotive's road car business, conservative growth and expansion will be considered.

CRS Racing will build, sell and support the 12C GT3 cars in close collaboration wîth McLaren. The Leicestershire-based racing team has a strong pedigree in GT racing in the Le Mans Series, the FIA GT Championship, the International GT Open and the British GT Championship. CRS also runs two successful single-seater teams: in the Formula Renault ÚK Championship and as Atech CRS in the GP3 Series.

Source - McLaren

REVISED MCLAREN MP4-12C GT3 TAKES TO THE HILL FOR ITS DYNAMIC WORLD DEBUT AT 2011 GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED

The first McLaren car built for racing outside of Formula 1 since the McLaren F1 GTR will make its public dynamic world debut at the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed, held from 30 June-03 July. The new GT3 car, based on McLaren's MP4-12C high-performance road car, will appear in its revised form, honed during a recent intense period of development.

New components designed to optimise the car's aerodynamic performance include a front radiator, which increases the maximum ambient temperature at which the car can run, along wîth a new gearbox cooler mounted on the rear Aerodeck. These features complete an aerodynamics package incorporating a new front splitter, door blade, rear wing, diffuser and louvres in the front fenders, all of which is produced entirely from carbon fibre by McLaren Racing, following design input from McLaren Automotive.

The 12C GT3 is being developed by the recently established McLaren GT. Led by McLaren Group CEO Martin Whitmarsh and CRS Racing Team Principal Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GT is spending the 2011 race season developing the 12C GT3 before delivering 20 cars to privateer teams for GT3 racing in Europe in 2012.

Like the 12C road car, the MP4-12C GT3 features a unique one-piece carbon fibre chassis, the ‘MonoCell'. McLaren introduced a carbon fibre monocoque to Formula 1 in 1981, and the 12C GT3 will feature several other Formula 1-derived technologies. The 12C GT3 will be supplied wîth the same §teering wheel design used by Lewis Hamilton in his MP4-24 Formula 1 car. Formula 1 suppliers past and present including Akebono, Mobil 1, McLaren Electronic Systems, Ricardo and Michelin are working wîth McLaren GT to create a race car specification technologically superior to the GT3 competition in 2012.

Since the 12C GT3 was unveiled to the media and prospective team owners in May 2011, McLaren GT has tested its new car at a mixture of proving grounds and FIA approved circuits across Europe. This development phase is an opportunity for McLaren GT to optimise the technical specification and durability of the 12C GT3.

Andrew Kirkaldy from McLaren GT said: '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 wîth 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.'

Confirmed drivers of the GT3 car for the 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed weekend are Andrew Kirkaldy, 2010 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Oliver Turvey, and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin.

Source - McLaren

TRIO OF MP4-12C GT3 RACE CARS TO STAR FOR McLAREN GT AT TOTAL 24 HOURS OF SPA

-Ten drivers to compete in three MP4-12C GT3 race cars at Spa-Francorchamps on 30-31 July
-12C GT3 is the first race car converted from a McLaren road car to make a 24 hour race debut since the McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans in 1995
- McLaren GT customer VonRyan Racing to manage third MP4-12C GT3 in Pro-Am Cup category

McLaren GT returns to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend for Total 24 Hours of Spa, following a successful race debut there in the British GT Championship early in July. The second race in the MP4-12C GT3's development programme will see ten experienced racing drivers pilot three cars in the 12C GT3's first ever 24 hour race.

The McLaren GT driver line-up for the Total 24 Hours of Spa includes CRS Racing Team Principal Andrew Kirkaldy and McLaren Automotive Chief Test driver Chris Goodwin. Both are Directors of the new McLaren GT company, which is led by McLaren Group CEO Martin Whitmarsh and includes McLaren Racing Head of Vehicle Engineering Mark Williams.

McLaren MP4-12C GT3 drivers for Total 24 Hours of Spa:

Pro-Cup category
Car 58 (McLaren GT):
Rob Bell - GB
Chris Goodwin - GB
Tim Mullen – GB

Car 59 (McLaren GT):
Andrew Kirkaldy - GB
Álvaro Parente - POR
Oliver Turvey - GB

Pro-Am Cup category


Car 60 (McLaren GT and VonRyan Racing):
Adam Christodoulou - GB
Glynn Geddie – GB
Phil Quaife - GB
Roger Wills – NZL

McLaren GT is using the 2011 race season to develop the 12C GT3, wîth 20 cars due for delivery to privateer teams for GT3 series racing in 2012. Chris Goodwin said: 'I was very happy wîth the performance of the 12C GT3 in its debut race at Spa. We secured an amazing pole position at the first attempt and importantly for future customers; the 12C GT3 was reliable, fast and easy to drive.

'I'm delighted wîth the quality of the drivers we have enlisted as we take the 12C GT3 to its first 24 hour race. This level of endurance racing is a crucial test for the car technically, and we need the best possible team working wîth 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.

'We will be taking the opportunity at Spa to work wîth a future McLaren GT customer, VonRyan Racing. We want to develop close relationships wîth all our customer race teams and this experience will be valuable in developing our customer support programme for 2012 and beyond.'

McLaren's Racing Pedigree

- Defined by race wins in a broad series of global racing championships, McLaren is the most successful motor racing team in history. No other racing team has won the ‘triple crown' of Le Mans (on debut), Indy 500 (three wins) and Formula 1 World Championships. In the North American Can-Am race series McLaren won 43 of 71 races, taking five titles between 1966 and 1972.
- In Formula 1, McLaren has won 171 races: better than one in four of the races in which it has competed since 1966, and more races won per season competed than any rival (3.75). These wins have resulted in eight Constructors' Championships and 12 Drivers' Championships. McLaren, and Ron Dennis' influence on Formula 1 has been manifest. In 1981 (Dennis' first season as team principal), the McLaren MP4/1 became the first-ever race-winning car featuring a carbonfibre-based monocoque chassis.
- This revolutionary design, inspired by aerospace technologies, has since become the standard chassis structure for racing teams: lightweight, safe, strong, and dimensionally predictable.
- McLaren's Road Car Heritage
- 1993 - 1997: McLaren F1: The McLaren F1 was, and in many eyes remains, the definitive sports car: the first road car wîth a carbonfibre construction.
- Just 106 examples of this iconic supercar were made (72 road cars, 28 racing cars, six prototypes), but recent auction prices for F1s value the standard F1 road car at between £2 - £2.5 million, almost five times its original retail price: appreciation unheard of in a modern car. It was also the last true road car to win Le Mans and the first to achieve this feat since the ‘60s.
- 2003 – 2009: Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren: The SLR was conceived and styled by Mercedes-Benz as a powerful, touring sports car before being presented to McLaren Automotive to engineer, develop and manufacture. The SLR was prodigiously fast, exclusive and a technological tour de force. With over 2,100 examples produced, the SLR became the most successful ultimate supercar ever built, selling twice as many as the next best-selling carbon based car (Porsche Carrera GT).
- McLaren F1 in Le Mans
- 1995: wîth an F1 GTR piloted by J.J.Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya, McLaren won on debut; four other F1s finished 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th.
- 1996: six F1 GTR ‘LM's finished 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 11th.
- 1997: two ‘Longtail's finished 2nd and 3rd.
- 1998: one ‘Longtail' finished 4th, wîth a second withdrawn after an accident.

Source - McLaren

POLE POSITION AND A DOUBLE FINISH FOR 12C GT3 AT THE GRUELLING TOTAL 24 HOURS OF SPA

•12C GT3 claims pole position for McLaren GT customer team, Von Ryan Racing
•Five 12C GT3s qualify in the top 20 of a competitive group of more than 65 cars
•Von Ryan Racing bring home both cars entered, claiming 4th place in Pro-Am class

The 2012 Total 24 Hours of Spa was another challenging test of endurance and reliability for the McLaren GT customer teams competing at the headline event of the Blancpain Endurance Series over the weekend, 27-29 July. All nine examples of the 12C GT3 performed well around the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit despite harsh conditions throughout, but the incident-filled race took its toll. The punishing circuit and challenging weather saw an extremely high attrition rate throughout the field, but two 12C GT3s successfully crossed the line to claim P9 and P30.

The #88 12C GT3, run by Von Ryan Racing and driven by Alvaro Parente, Rob Barff, Roger Wills and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver, Chris Goodwin, battled hard into an impressive 4th place in the Pro-Am class, and P9 overall. The team's #60 blue-and-black car piloted by Julian Draper, Matt Draper, Stephen Jelley and Stef Dusseldorp crossed the line P30 after a tough 24 hours.

Each of the nine cars showed strong pace throughout the weekend's qualifying sessions, wîth five 12C GT3s in the top 20 for the start of the race. The striking dragon-liveried #88 car was the top-qualifying McLaren, claiming pole position in the highly-competitive Pro-Am class, and 3rd overall.

The opening stint was headlined by the #9 Gulf Racing ÚK car driven by McLaren 'works' driver, Rob Bell. After showing good pace during the weekend's free practice sessions, a difficult qualifying saw the car line up in P51. However, by the end of his double stint, Bell's strong pace in the 12C GT3 had moved him up to 7th position. The Belgian Boutsen-Ginion Racing team also put in an impressive performance in front of a home crowd wîth two cars, and the #5 orange-and-black 12C GT3 was the front-running McLaren as the light faded, leading the Pro-Am class, and in P5 overall.

The 4.352-mile (7.004 km) Spa-Francorchamps circuit, notorious for its own micro-climate, saw extreme changes in weather throughout the 24 hours. The opening laps took place in the dry, but conditions quickly changed, and a heavy downpour over part of the circuit during the first scheduled pit window resulted in some teams requiring an additional stop for wet tyres. Further rain showers throughout the remainder of the race ensured the teams and drivers were challenged until the end of the race.

During the 24 hours, the harsh conditions saw more than half the grid forced to retire. As darkness fell, a bold call to change to slick tyres by the Gulf Racing and Von Ryan Racing teams proved successful as the track dried, and gained both teams an advantage over the rest of the field. However, the track's slippery conditions off the dry line were unforgiving and caused both Gulf Racing cars to retire after leaving the track.

The Lapidus Racing team showed good race pace after qualifying P12 on the grid, but an early collision saw the team lose time. The team worked hard to get the 12C GT3 back on track, and were making progress before coming together wîth the fast-charging #5 Boutsen-Ginion Racing car, bringing a premature end to the race for both teams. The ART Grand Prix and ASM teams also ran well in the opening 12 hours of the race posting competitive lap times, but the demanding circuit and treacherous conditions saw both teams forced to retire.

Chris Goodwin, McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver, and driver of the #88 Von Ryan Racing 12C GT3, explained: 'The Spa 24 hour race is unlike any other race on the GT calendar; it is a real event from the minute the teams arrive here, and it was fantastic to see the nine 12C GT3s in the parade through the town's streets before the race. Then, to see them on track, and having five qualify in the top 20, is a real testament to the performance of the teams, and the developments that have been made throughout this season. This is the ultimate test of endurance and reliability for the cars, the drivers and the teams.'

Goodwin continued: 'Doing anything non-stop for 24 hours is difficult, but putting in consistently competitive laps, around one of the most demanding circuits in such changeable conditions, is extremely tough. The fact that more than 30 cars were forced to retire from this event shows just how demanding a race it is. To have two cars finish, one in the top 10, in this, the debut competitive year for the 12C GT3, is a big result.'

Exclusive short films were produced during the Total 24 Hours of Spa, and these can be viewed or embedded at the official McLaren Automotive YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/McLarenAutomotiveTV.

Source - McLaren
 
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