McLaren MP4-12C GT3 racer (2011): first pictures

Published: 17 December 2010

McLaren has announced it will be building a GT racing car, based on the McLaren MP4-12C, with Leicestershire-based racing team CRS Racing.

The two companies will supply and support a limited number of GT3 racing cars based for European-based privateers in 2012. A development programme will come first in 2011, with a limited number of European GT races.

So this is the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 you scooped last month?

Yep. It’s been a badly kept secret that Woking wanted to go racing with its new 12C. One fan online even doctored the official shots of the 12C in a variety of race colours which have proved popular in chatrooms across the web.

The initial plan is for a limited run of 12Cs to be developed for the 2012 European FIA GT3 Series, but McLaren has said that it may consider more in the future.
McLaren says the 12C’s one-piece moulded carbon chassis and the car’s high levels of downforce and aerodynamic performance make it a good platform for a racing car.

A McLaren MP4-12C racer? Am I right to feel nostalgic?

Yes you are. The news comes 15 years since the McLaren F1 GTR won the Le Mans 24 hours on its debut, driven by JJ Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya. Four other F1s finished 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th that year. A ‘longtail’ version of the F1 followed three years later, but there’s sadly no mention of a similar edition for the 12C GT3.

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, said: ‘it was natural to develop a GT3 car alongside the 12C road car. We have a legendary history in global motorsport, including GT racing, and we aim to maintain that reputation with this GT3 programme, and any future sports car projects that may evolve.’

The future sounds quite exciting, doesn’t it?

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