Three weeks ago we brought you some of the first images on the Internet of a GT3 racing prototype of the 2012 McLaren MP4-12C. Today, McLaren confirmed the program, revealing a computer rendering and its plans for the race car.

Partnered with CRS Racing, McLaren will deliver the first MP4-12C-based GT3 race cars in time for the 2012 season. The first MP4-12C GT3 racers to hit track will be factory McLaren/CRS efforts though: a handful of European GT races during the 2011 season will be used as part of the car's development.

"Racing is in our blood--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 programme, and any future sports car projects that may evolve," said Martin Whitmarsh, team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

It wasn't just a natural decision for the McLaren team: it was also a natural landing place for the MP4-12C itself. The carbon fiber chassis, high downforce in production form, and mid-engine/rear-drive design all lend itself to a motorsports version. Surprise, surprise.

If you're one of the lucky few with the budget and inclination to get involved with the McLaren 12C GT3 program, you can learn more and register with the company at McLaren GT.

[McLaren Automotive]