It doesn't usually matter what number an automaker puts on the side when it reveals a new racecar, but when McLaren introduced its new 650S GT3 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this past weekend, it wore the number 59. It was the same number which the McLaren F1 GTR wore when it took the checkered flag at Le Mans in 1995, and now word has it that the British outfit could be plotting a return.

The new 650S racer was designed to meet the GT3 regulations used in second-tier sportscar racing series around the world, like the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Pirelli World Challenge. Top-tier series like the FIA World Endurance Championship and United SportsCar Championship, however, use their own GTE regulations (adapted from the previous GT2 regulations). Discussions over converging the two sets of rules (like DTM and Super GT have since) had commenced when McLaren GT was developing the previous 12C GT3, but those discussions ultimately fell apart, keeping the two categories separate... and in separate series.

Autosport reports, however, that in redesigning the 650S GT3, McLaren's GT racing division kept that disparity in mind so that the GT3 could be set up as well in GTE spec, enabling it to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and associated series like the WEC, United SportsCar Championship, European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans Series.

We're waiting on word from McLaren as to the verasity of the report, but even if a 650S GTE would stand little chance of overtaking the faster LMPs like the F1 GTR did nearly 20 years ago, it would still be interesting to see McLaren (whether as a works entry or through customer teams) competing at Le Mans again.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      John Ralphio
      • 5 Months Ago
      Cool! Enter a P1 racer while you're at it.
      • 5 Months Ago
      I have to say, I ragged on the 650S a bit premature. It seems to have grown on me. This GT car is gorgeous.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Everyone should embrace the GT3 concept. Many more stock components, many more eligible cars, and with a bit more freedom in tires, brakes and suspensions they are easily just as fast as GT2/GTE cars (point in case the R8 LMS (supposed to be GT3 cars) at the nurburgring were just as fast as the M3 GTR E90 from the GT2 category)
      • 5 Months Ago
      Yes please! That GT is stunning.
      Eduardo Martinez
      • 5 Months Ago
      they gonna fail like they did with the shitty mp3-12c gt3
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Eduardo Martinez
        You mean the race winning MP4-12C GT3?
      Peter Middleton
      • 5 Months Ago
      • 5 Months Ago
      sorry to be a pedant but it's veracity...