McLaren confirms limited run of 12C GT Can-Am racers

Published: 19 November 2012

It’s been a busy weekend for McLaren: not only did Lewis win the 2012 US grand prix, but the car-making division confirmed it would build the most powerful MP4-12C yet – the new 12C GT Can-Am Edition.

It’s the track-focused 12C racer and Woking has sanctioned a limited run ‘of no more than 30 examples.’

McLaren MP4-12C Can-Am: the background

It’s a maxxed-up version of the MP4-12C road car, which has so impressed us since launch. Here the 3.8-litre V8 bi-turbo is derestricted and boasts a maximum power output of 621bhp.

A track-biased aero pack dominates the exterior of the 12C Can-Am. You won’t exactly miss the giant carbonfibre rear wing, which squashes the car onto the circuit with 30% more force than the 12C GT3 racer.. The door mirrors, engine cover vents and – get this – badges are all carbonfibre.

Inside the Can-Am are an FIA-spec rollcage, two racing buckets with full six-point harnesses and a steering wheel shaped on the MP4-24 F1’s car’s helm.

Brill! Can I drive my 12C Can-Am on road too?

Sadly not. It’s not homologated for road use, but then if you’re rich enough to afford this, you’ll probably have a second 12C to drive to your private race track in the south of France.

The Can-Am costs £375,000 – roughly double the normal MP4-12C. Production starts in March 2013.

McLaren Can-Am: a history lesson

The eponymous company founder, Bruce McLaren, raced in the Can-Am series and the marketing wizards from Woking are keen to say the 2012-spec racer doffs its cap to the history books.

Andrew Kirkaldy, the chief of McLaren GT which builds the Can-Am, said: ‘The 12C Can-Am Edition concept shown at Pebble Beach earlier this year was purely that, a one-off design study. However, the reaction and response following the unveil was remarkable. It is a real testament to the performance and results of the McLaren GT customer teams this year, still only in the debut competitive season, that there is such a strong demand for this type of track-day special.

‘The Can-Am name holds significant historical provenance for the McLaren brand, and those early racing cars of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme were truly incredible machines. To be able to produce this unshackled limited edition version of the 12C, I think is a fantastic way to resurrect a glorious chapter in the company’s past.’

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By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet