The McLaren 12C GT3 has been blazing a successful trail in GT racing for the best part of three years. Often to be found at the front of the grid in various global competitions such as the Blancpain Endurance Series and the GT Asia championship, the track-bred 12C has scooped no less than three championship titles and 51 race victories in that time.
However, the 12C GT3 is about to be superseded and at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Woking based supercar makers finally revealed to the world the machine that will be taking on the GT baton from the 2015 season.
As anticipated, the 12C GT3 replacement will be based on McLaren’s newest road-going model, the 650S which has already built up quite a reputation for itself among supercar fanatics. The latest generation track-focused racer, like its predecessor, will be eligible to contest GT3 championships across the globe and features various changes and upgrades to the 12C GT3 formula. The same lightweight carbon fibre MonoCell chassis from the 650S coupe constitutes the skeleton of the race car. Naturally, the overall look now more closely resembles that of its commercially produced counterpart; particularly noticeable at the front are the familiar boomerang headlights. In order to go racing, the 650S GT3 is kitted out with a full cooling and aerodynamics package incorporating front and rear splitters, larger front air intakes and a fixed carbon fibre rear wing. In addition, the track has been slightly widened and the race-tuned suspension altered compared to that of the 12C GT3. Latest generation larger diameter racing tyres will ensure the car remains firmly sucked to the road at high speeds.
Inside, the cockpit is equipped with FIA-standard racing essentials such as a rollcage, race seats, motorsport dash and an F1 inspired steering wheel.
FIA GT racing regulations also limit all engines to a maximum of 493bhp, meaning the familiar 3.8-litre McLaren twin turbo V8 has its 641bhp wings clipped down to racing size. It does, however, retain its turbo boost and transmission shift control function which optimises shift times for the new six-speed motorsport gearbox.
Testing of the 650S GT3 is already underway and will continue throughout the summer as the customer car becomes available from this autumn. Around 15 examples of the GT3 version will be produced and customer teams wishing to take it racing will be able to do so for £330,000, although teams already running the existing 12C model will be offered a 650S-spec upgrade for the start of the 2015 season.