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2015 650S MCLAREN
When McLaren rolled out its new 650S, we knew it would only be a matter of time before it would completely replace the 12C altogether.
And that would include the racing version – not least because McLaren officials told us as much. And with the Goodwood Festival of Speed now getting underway in the UK, Woking's GT racing division has revealed its new GT3-spec racer.
The new McLaren 650S GT3 benefits from several key upgrades over the MP4-12C GT3 that's been competing for the past three seasons in racing series like the Blancpain Endurance Series and GT Asia championship – both of whose standings it currently leads – as well as the Pirelli World Challenge, European Le Mans Series and countless local racing series.
For starters, McLaren gave its GT racer a new face that not only more closely resemble the 650S (which, like the previous GT3, is also based on the 12C's chassis) but, along with the rest of the revised bodywork (and some rather intriguing-looking wing mirrors), is also more aerodynamically efficient to provide more downforce, better cooling and less drag. McLaren says the 650S GT3 also has a wider track, revised suspension geometry and will cost privateer teams less to run in whichever series they choose thanks to more robust components and a powertrain that can run longer between rebuilds. The cockpit has also been updated to make it more accommodating for drivers who often have to run it over long distances around the clock.
McLaren's familiar 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 provides the motivation, mated to a six-speed competition-spec sequential gearbox. But while the same engine produces 641 horsepower in road-going spec, the FIA's Balance of Power regulations mandate it be limited to 493 hp. That actually makes it the least powerful model McLaren makes, but then, of course, the same regulations apply to all the cars against which it will be competing, so customer teams will be counting on the other revisions to help them stay at out ahead of GT3-spec versions of models like the Porsche 911 GT3, Aston Martin V12 Vantage, Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Ferrari 458 Italia and Bentley Continental GT.
McLaren GT says it plans to build 15 examples in time for the start of next season, each selling for £330,000 (before tax, or about $560k). However, teams already running the current 12C GT3 will have the opportunity to upgrade theirs to 650S spec as well.
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