The Goodwood Festival of Speed kicks off this weekend, and it promises to be a veritable smorgasbord of high-performance machinery. Not the least of them will be the new MP4-12C GT3, which McLaren has been fine-tuning since its debut barely two months ago.
Following extensive ongoing development work, McLaren has given the 12C GT3 a new radiator and gearbox cooler, as well as a retuned aerodynamics package with a new front splitter, rear wing and diffuser, louvered fenders and door blade, all of which promise to help the first GT racer produced by McLaren since the F1 GTR running fast and running long ahead of the pack.
To support the field of 20 cars that will be fielded by privateers starting next season, the Woking-based outfit has also launched the new McLaren GT division in conjunction with the CRS Racing Team.
The updated GT3 will run in its latest form up the hill at the Goodwood estate this weekend, and to mark the occasion, McLaren has released a fresh batch of high-resolution images which we've added to the launch photos. Check 'em out along with the press release after the jump.
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 with 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 with the same steering 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 with 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 with 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.
A brand new website is launched this weekend to celebrate the GT3 car's public debut: www.mclarengt.com