From 2012, McLaren and CRS Racing will supply and support a limited number of GT3 racing cars based on the McLaren MP4-12C high-performance sports car for European-based privateers.
15 years since the McLaren F1 GTR famously won the 24 Heures du Mans on its debut, and 12 years since six 'Longtails' last raced at Le Mans, McLaren and British-based CRS Racing have begun development aimed at turning the 12C road car into a race-winning GT3 sports car.
As part of the development program, McLaren and CRS Racing will compete at a limited number of European GT races in 2011.
With the 12C's revolutionary lightweight one-piece molded carbon chassis (the 'MonoCell'), its high levels of downforce and aerodynamic performance, it's hoped the 12C will prove to be a great platform on which to develop a racing car.
Martin Whitmarsh, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal said: "Racing is in our blood, so 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 program, and any future sports car projects that may evolve.
"The 12C's architecture and design was always aimed at high-performance and ease of maintenance - two key criteria for potential customers. Combine that with the vast amount of racing experience in our automotive team, and CRS Racing's specialist development experience, and the 12C GT3 should be an exciting proposition for the teams planning to race in GT3 from 2012."
Initial plans are for a limited run of 12Cs developed for the 2012 European FIA GT3 Series. CRS Racing will build, sell and support the 12C GT3 cars in close collaboration with McLaren. The Leicestershire-based racing team has a strong pedigree in GT racing in the Le Mans Series, the FIA GT Championship, the International GT Open and the British GT Championship. CRS also runs two single-seater teams in the Formula Renault UK Championship and as Atech CRS in the GP3 Series.