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New Zealand officially has a new international-standard road track. Highlands Motorsport Park is a 2.8-mile circuit with three complete tracks that can be safely operated at the same time. Designed to serve as a members-only facility, the boots on the ground say track is likely one of the best in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Think of the name McLaren and you're likely to conjure up images of two different things: grand prix racing and exotic supercars. Each of these two core areas of competence has its own division under the McLaren Group umbrella, but in between them sits a third division called McLaren GT.

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When a McLaren hits the race track, the competition had better watch out. The British outfit is, after all, one of the most successful in Formula One, having won 176 grands prix, a dozen drivers' championships and eight constructors' titles. But McLaren's prowess extends beyond F1. The Woking firm was a force to be reckoned with in Can-Am in the late 60s, and the last time it built an endurance racing sportscar – the famed F1 GTR back in 1995 – it trounced even the advanced prototype

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Think of the name Gemballa and you're bound to conjure up images of hyper-tuned Porsches. That is, after all, what they're known for. But Gemballa today is different than the company we knew just a couple of years ago. After the company's namesake founder was murdered under rather suspicious circumstances, Gemballa was restructured and by necessity put under new management. And that new management appears to be ready to do things a little differently.

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The moment of truth is upon McLaren this weekend. After rolling out its MP4-12C road car to positive reviews, the racing team turned automaker is turning itself back into a racing team with the new McLaren GT division and its MP4-12C GT3 – the first GT racer from the Woking, UK outfit since the celebrated F1 GTR.

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McLaren MP4-12C GT3 spy shots – Click above for high-res image gallery

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