The first McLaren MP4-12C GT3 racecar to be built by McLaren GT has undertaken its debut tests at the MIRA proving ground facility and Silverstone Circuit in England. McLaren GT is a new company that brings together the expertise of the McLaren Group and CRS Racing. It has appointed a new test driver to its team, 26 year-old Portuguese driver, Alvaro Parente.
This initial shakedown tests undertaken with the 12C GT3, where new components were calibrated and bespoke aerodynamic parts appraised for the first time, will be followed by comprehensive tests scheduled throughout March and April at a number of FIA-certified circuits across Europe.
News on the development program, full driver line-up and planned competition for the 12C GT3 will be confirmed after these tests are completed.
McLaren GT Project Manager Andrew Kirkaldy and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin piloted the 12C GT3 on its first outings. These real-world tests followed months of virtual testing in the McLaren Simulator at the McLaren Technology Centre, which is also used to develop the 12C production car and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' Formula 1 cars.
In 2012, McLaren Automotive and CRS Racing will supply and support a limited number of FIA GT3 cars based on the McLaren 12C high-performance sports car for privateers.
The 12C GT3 race car is based on a standard 12C. It uses the McLaren carbon fiber MonoCell chassis, which weighs just 75kg and is produced in a revolutionary one-piece mold. Race specification composite body panels and a fixed rear wing have been added to the GT3 car.
The same 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 as in the production car will be used in the 12C GT3, tuned to race specification. A bespoke paddle-shift system operating an all-new Ricardo-designed transmission developed specifically for racing will be fitted.
New electrical architecture is being supplied by McLaren Electronic Systems Limited, including electronic dash and data technologies. Bosch Motorsport will supply a new ABS system.
A new aerodynamics package has been developed by McLaren Racing in compliance with GT3 regulations, incorporating a new front splitter, door blade, rear wing, diffuser and louvers in the front fenders.
The new GT3 car will feature motorsport-specific braking and suspension components. These include bespoke calipers by Akebono, Official Supplier to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Due to regulations imposed by racing authorities, the 12C GT3 will not feature the road-going 12C's ProActive Chassis Control System; negating the requirement for an anti-roll bar. Instead, the 12C GT3 will use a configuration comprising race-specific sway bars and dampers.
Video of the MP4-12C GT3 in its first tests can be viewed here: www.youtube.com/mclarenautomotivetv