The 650S GT3 has big shoes to fill, as the 12C GT3 continues claiming trophies at race tracks around the world, however it has been designed to do just that. The menacing and purposeful-looking racer is the second-generation GT3 car from McLaren GT, the GT race car building arm of McLaren, and follows in the slipstream of the 12C GT3.
To date, the 12C GT3 has secured three championship titles, 51 race victories and a further 71 podiums, a number that continues to rise on a weekly basis, and the 12C GT3 currently leads the Blancpain Endurance Series and the GT Asia championship.
Based on the recently unveiled McLaren 650S, and built around the same lightweight carbon fiber MonoCell chassis, the GT3 iteration has been honed using CFD technology. At the front, an aggressive splitter and larger air intakes dominate the new look, incorporating the now familiar McLaren ‘face’. The fixed carbon fiber rear wing works in tandem with the large carbon fiber splitter to complete the management of air as it is worked across, through and beneath the 650S GT3.
The 650S GT3 is equipped with the latest generation of the 3.8-litre McLaren V8 twin turbo ‘M838T’ engine. Race-prepared and offering increased functionality to incorporate turbo boost and transmission shift control, the engine is coupled to an all-new six-speed sequential motorsport transmission. The 650S GT3 produces around 500PS.
Existing owners of the 12C GT3 are also able to benefit from the updates and enhancements offered by the 650S GT3, due to the use of the shared chassis structure and award winning engine. This upgrade package further extends the life of existing 12C GT3 cars allowing them to continue racing competitively through a second GT racing life cycle. For many McLaren GT3 owners this allows them to race their existing car for an average of six seasons.
Around 15 examples of the 650S GT3 are planned to be produced and delivered for the start of the 2015 season. With the optional upgrade package for 12C GT3, this could see an additional 15 cars running the new design from next season.
Chris Goodwin, Chief Test Driver, McLaren Automotive “This is a car that is improving on a race-winning formula, and is designed and built to offer even greater levels of driver involvement, but also to be easier to drive. This is a crucial factor in any racing car, but especially with long-distance and endurance racing, where drivers can double or even triple stint, where we compete on a huge variety of circuits and where weather and track conditions vary regularly throughout a race.”
The car unveiled carries the Goodwood Festival of Speed theme of ‘addicted to winning’, with its livery including the number 59. The number was carried by the now legendary McLaren F1 GTR chassis #01R at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995, and claimed victory on its debut – a feat that had never been achieved previously, and has not been repeated since. Deliveries of the 650S GT3 will commence from late 2014, and the competitive debut with customer teams in GT3-homologated series will start in 2015, 20 years on from the famous race victory.