Sunday, July 31, 2011

McLaren MP4-12C GT3 (2011)

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McLaren MP4-12C GT3

McLaren GT, a new race car manufacturer which brings together the expertise of McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive and CRS Racing, unveiled the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 race car and plans for a 2011 development programme.

The new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 will be the first McLaren car built for FIA GT series racing since the McLaren F1 GTR finished production in1997. The 12C GT3 is based on the new MP4-12C high-performance sports car and a team of engineers, designers and test drivers with vast experience in Formula 1 and GT racing has been assembled to undertake the process of adapting the carbon chassis-based 12C to racing specification.

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren Group Chief Executive Officer said: "McLaren has racing in its blood and it was a natural step to take our MP4-12C road car and turn it into the most reliable, efficient and easy to drive GT3 car. Every car on the grid will have its performance balanced by race rules, meaning our objective must be to select a technical specification that ensures any driver is able to access the 12C GT3's performance limit with ease.

McLaren-MP4-12C_GT3-2011
McLaren MP4-12C GT3 (2011)
"We have worked with CRS Racing to ensure the 12C's design and development programme is as close as possible to one McLaren Racing would employ in developing a Formula 1 car. The team at CRS is well qualified to shape decisions in this area as they have an outstanding record in racing GT3 cars, and understand what is required to be successful in that level of competitive motorsport.

"In return, McLaren Racing is able to bring new levels of technology to GT3 racing. No other GT3 car in 2012 will be supplied with a road-car carbon chassis, or a steering wheel and other associated technology from a Formula 1 car.

"The 12C GT3 will be supplied with the 12C's carbon MonoCell and the same steering wheel design employed by Lewis Hamilton in his MP4-24 Formula 1 car. Plus, we are working closely with Formula 1 suppliers past and present: Akebono, Mobil 1, McLaren Electronic Systems, Ricardo and Michelin for example. This blend of road car and Formula 1 technology and experience will be a great advantage to anyone racing a 12C GT3 in 2012."

Drivers and FIA approved races confirmed for 2011

McLaren GT aims to deliver the highest quality, most reliable and most driveable car on the GT3 grid when 20 cars are delivered to privateer teams for racing in Europe in 2012. The unique combination of McLaren and CRS Racing's technology and development methodology is matched by McLaren GT's appointment of experienced and successful racing drivers to develop the 12C GT3 at challenging races over the 2011 season.

McLaren GT plans to debut the new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 at this season's Blancpain Endurance Series race at Spain's Circuito de Navarra, followed by Magny-Cours in France and Silverstone in England. As part of the development programme for the 12C GT3, McLaren GT also expects to enter the Total 24 Hours of Spa endurance race.

CRS Racing Team Principal Andrew Kirkaldy will be joined by 2010 Vodafone McLaren Mercedes test driver Oliver Turvey and Portuguese racing driver Álvaro Parente in the McLaren GT driver line-up for the 2011 development programme.

McLaren fans eager to see McLaren's first GT racing car since the legendary McLaren F1 GTR can expect to see the new 12C GT3 driven up the famous Hill at Goodwood Festival of Speed from 01-03 July 2011.

McLaren MP4-12C GT3 development targets

McLaren GT comprises a team of designers, engineers and test drivers with vast experience in developing successful race and road cars. Marcus Waite, McLaren GT Chief Engineer, began his career working with the McLaren Formula 1 Simulation Group. A move onto the Formula 1 team where he was Senior Test Team Engineer for many years was then followed by his appointment to McLaren Automotive as Test Team Leader responsible for the new MP4-12C sports car. Combining practical experience of Formula 1 car development methodology and a deep understanding of the 12C road car's technical specification is invaluable to McLaren GT.

Marcus Waite said: "We have defined the technical requirements for the 12C GT3 in the McLaren simulator and I am pleased to say that feedback from the three new drivers in the team means we can immediately focus on fine-tuning the set-up of the car, rather than address any fundamental changes.

"There is no substitute for having the 12C GT3 pound around the European circuits on which we plan to race, so that is exactly what we are doing. A varied circuit programme is vital. Circuito de Navarra in Spain is a great track: a mixture of slow and fast corners and long straights, meaning the new engine calibration we are testing has to undertake relentless accelerations from low speeds. A successful shakedown there means we are now confident of powertrain durability.

"We followed Navarra with a test session at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal. The long, sweeping and fast bends of that circuit were a good test for the new oil tank we have designed for the 12C GT3. The oil is constantly moving and yet the new tank proved robust in that environment.

"These are just two examples of the way we will test every component of the 12C GT3 before delivering cars to race teams in 2012. I personally will not be satisfied until we have undertaken test programmes that significantly surpass the requirements of 3hr and 24hr endurance racing. We are committed to dealing with emerging issues that race teams often face in their first season running a new GT3 car and we will ensure our first customers receive a very reliable race car next season."

The McLaren MP4-12C: The essence of a race car

Racing experience and development tools have played a key part in readying the 12C GT3 for its 2011 race programme. But, before the racing car takes to the competitive grid, McLaren, in the form of McLaren Automotive set out to develop a high-performance sports car that set new standards for speed, handling, efficiency, braking and driveability: formed from an obsession for aerodynamic purity and lightweight engineering. Assets and goals that make the McLaren MP4-12C a perfect road car from which to develop a race-winning GT car.

Once plans were agreed to take the 12C racing, key members of McLaren Automotive's design and engineering teams were eager to support this natural step at McLaren.


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