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McLaren MP4-12C GT3 rendering – Click above for high-res image

Some automakers also race. Some racing teams also make cars. Ferrari is one example of the latter, but it's not alone. With the launch of the MP4-12C, longtime on-track rival McLaren is getting serious about its automotive division. And you know what that means: a racing version.

We've seen reports and spy shots of a competition-spec MP4, but this is the first official confirmation to come straight out of Woking. And it comes with a press release, rendering, video and even a dedicated website.

Rather than develop the MP4-12C racer in-house, McLaren has teamed up with CRS Racing. And while the famous McLaren F1 GTR may have competed in the top tiers of sportscar racing – even beating the prototypes for outright victory at Le Mans – with the MP4, the British outfit has confined its competition (for now, at least) to the GT3 category. Only a limited number of cars will be fielded through privateer entries in the 2012 European FIA GT3 Series before McLaren takes on other championships, so if you run a team interested in getting on board, follow the link to register your intent.

[Source: McLaren]

Show full PR text

  • 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, UK (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 UK-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 with 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 with 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 with 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 with manageable running costs and good residual value that will provide its owner with 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 with 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 with 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 UK Championship and as Atech CRS in the GP3 Series.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      love the old F1 to death! this one shouldnt really be a successor to the F1... and indeed i dont think it is...? :S is it?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Nope. This car is targeted to a bigger market then the F1. A proper F1 'replacement' is due in a couple of years.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It will be interesting to see how the McLaren fares against the Ferrari 458 next year. The GT3 category promises to be hot.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @elmo: I was misinformed. Thanks for the rectification.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The 458 GTC is a GT2 car, not a GT3. The ALMS GTC class hasn't incorporated GT3 rules fully yet to allow the Audi R8 LMS and this to compete. This will be competing in the same class as the Audi R8 LMS in both VLN and FIA GT3.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder if another company would understand the MP4-12C like McLauren does...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Huh? And who's McLauren?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I bet consumers would love some to hear about something completely unexpected and extraordinary.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't wait to see it race it should be a colourful season next year. I didn't realise until recently that the Mclaren F1 is 19 years old next year! Its about time had we had another mid engined sports car from the Mclaren stable, I was always confused by the later Mclaren Mercedes, a great car but I wanted a new F1 and hopefully here it is!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Love this car. Looks absolutely great. The best color is McLaren Orange of course.
      • 4 Years Ago
      With the Rolex Series adopting GT3 as its GT class hopefully we will see one of these on the Highbanks of Daytona in 2012!
      • 4 Years Ago
      It will make for an interesting 2011 Racing Season because not only will I be following some drivers & teams in a few series, I will also keep tabs on some very interesting race cars where ever they are racing - MP4-12C certainly being one one of them.

      Given the early successes of the Mclaren F1, I have high expectations but time will tell.
      • 4 Years Ago
      FYI, MP4-12C GT3 FTW!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm going to have to upgrade my Xmas tree. Maybe something with a bit more "clearance" underneath.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder how it will compete against 458 at all, cause 458 races in GT2

      but then SLS & R8 are both in GT3, so it should be fine
        • 4 Years Ago
        They do, but 24 Hours of Le Mans only allow GT2 or higher to compete in the race
        • 4 Years Ago
        I may be mistaken, but doesn't the 24 hours of lemans allow ALMS cars to compete?
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