McLaren 650S GT3 race car at 2014 Festival of Speed

Published: 30 June 2014

The all-new McLaren 650S GT3 was officially revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, wearing McLaren’s historic number 59 livery.

This is the latest track-focused race car bound for 2015’s GT3 championship and is based on the McLaren 650S and the same carbonfibre MonoCell chassis.

McLaren 650S GT3: the detail

Large air intakes and a massive front splitter dominate the new McLaren’s front end, giving it a more aggressive look while new lightweight carbonfibre bodywork wraps around redesigned air intakes for better cooling. A massive carbonfibre wing works together with the carbon front splitter to manage air keeping the 650S GT3 on the track.

McLaren has been pushing to deliver ‘the ultimate in driver engagement on the road’ and uses the same approach when it comes to the 650S GT3. A 52mm wider track, revised suspension geometry and upgraded components are claimed to give the car greater drivability and adjustability for all types of drivers wanting to go GT racing.

The 3.8-litre McLaren V8 twin-turbo engine churning out 493bhp has been race-prepped and includes a purpose-built ECU offering better functionality for turbo boost and gearshifts. That power output is, ironically, lower than the roadgoing 650S’s, owing to GT racing regs.

As befits a hardcore GT3-spec racer, many of the components are unrecognisable from the road car’s. The engine is mated to a new six-speed sequential motorsport gearbox while the brakes feature six-pot callipers up front and four-piston items at the rear, grabbing huge 380mm ventilated discs.

What about inside the McLaren 650S GT3’s cockpit?

The cabin is more driver-focused, with the driving seat bolted directly to the chassis and the steering wheel and pedal box are adjustable to suit the driver. Better protection is provided by an additional FIA-approved rollcage, which is said to afford a greater degree of comfort with more head and leg room.

A bespoke motorsport digital dash greets the driver behind the unique steering wheel, itself inspired by the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car’s helm. There’s also a new McLaren GT-developed race seat with a six-point harness as standard.

The McLaren 650S GT3 comes after the 12C race car, which has already secured three championship titles, 51 race victories and 71 further podiums.

What makes McLaren’s  #59 so special?

The #59 number was worn by the legendary McLaren F1 GTR at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1995 where it won on its debut, a feat that remains unique to this day. 

What if I want to buy a McLaren 650S GT3?

If you are an owner of a 12C GT3 race car, McLaren is offering an upgrade package to extend its race life by keeping the cars competitive through another GT season. Reducing the cost of ownership was a priority during the initial designs of the new 650S GT3 racer and the company achieved that by extending component life which includes a longer interval between engine and gearbox rebuilds, together with body panel design that will potentially reduce the pit lane repair time.

Fifteen examples of the 650S GT3 race car will be produced and delivered by the beginning of the 2015 race season. Prices have been confirmed at £330,000 plus local taxes.