McLaren’s MP4-12C already outmuscles Ferrari’s 458 Italia in some of the most vital metrics, but the British firm currently has no answer to Ferrari’s new 458 Speciale, which has proven to be significantly faster than the stock 458 and comes close to rivaling the much more powerful F12 Berlinetta in the performance stakes. That looks set to change in the coming year as McLaren is reportedly working on its own hardcore 12C variant.

Autocar is reporting that McLaren will launch a hardcore 12C variant later this year and, based on information from a McLaren source, the car will outperform the 458 Speciale. It will utilize the 12C’s basic structure, including the carbon fiber MonoCell, but will get a host of upgrades including a version of the company’s twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 delivering close to 650 horsepower.

The Ferrari 458 Speciale develops 597 horsepower from its 4.5-liter V-8 engine and will sprint to 62 mph in 3.0 seconds flat and hit a top speed of 202 mph. The vehicle’s dry weight is an impressive 2,843 pounds.

Expect a number of weight-saving mods on the McLaren as well as beefed-up suspension, carbon ceramic brakes and new aero aids. No doubt lessons learned in developing the P1 flagship will be applied to the new hardcore 12C variant.

“The 12C is already incredible, but the P1 was designed as the ultimate car aerodynamically, and those lessons can help every car in the range,” the source is claimed to have said.

McLaren’s 12C GT Sprint pictured above hints at what’s possible. Stability and dynamics on the track special are further enhanced through a drop in ride height of 40 millimeters, while a more aggressive front bumper, GT3-inspired hood with radiator exit ducts and front wing louvers improve downforce.


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