McLaren has used the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed to reveal its all-new GT3-spec race car based on the latest 650S supercar. McLaren had said it was planning to showcase the latest track-focused car developed by its McLaren GT motorsport arm, and now we have it in the form of the 650S GT3.
Just as the road-going 650S is an evolution of the 12C, McLaren’s new 650S GT3 is an evolution of the 12C GT3. To date, the 12C GT3 has secured three championship titles, 51 race victories and 71 further podiums, and it currently leads the highly competitive Blancpain Endurance Series and the GT Asia championship. However, as with any car, there is always ways to improve performance. According to McLaren, in developing the new 650S GT3, the key areas of improvement have been cooling, handling and safety.
At the front, an aggressive splitter and larger air intakes dominate the purposeful new look, while on the flanks the all-new lightweight carbon fiber bodywork wraps around revised air intakes, which offer further optimized cooling. The fixed carbon fiber rear wing works in tandem with the large splitter to complete the management of air as it is worked across, through and beneath the sleek lines of the car.
Underneath the pretty carbon fiber body, revised suspension geometry, a wider track (up 52 millimeters) and updates to the overall setup can be found. The front suspension also allows the fitment of larger diameter tires. In conjunction with the optimized aerodynamic package, this provides increased levels of front-end grip and steering feel on turn-in. New forged aluminum wheels measuring 18 inches across are held in place with a single wheel retaining nut on motorsport axles. The braking system is also new and consists of monoblock six-piston callipers on the front and four-piston on the rear.
Inside the cockpit, the 650S GT3 provides improved levels safety for the driver. Protection offered by the carbon fiber MonoCell chassis is further enhanced with the addition of an FIA-approved roll cage. Redesigned and lighter than that of the 12C GT3, the 650S GT3 roll cage provides a greater degree of driver comfort, with increased leg and headroom.
Also new to the 650S GT3 is a fully FIA-approved McLaren GT-developed race seat, fitted with a six-point race harness as standard. This seat offers increased levels of support and driver comfort through the use of bespoke moulded seat inserts. The seat is directly mounted to the chassis, with the steering wheel and pedals being adjustable.
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The powertrain is the familiar twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V-8 fitted to all McLaren cars. In the 650S GT3, the engine is coupled to an all-new six-speed sequential gearbox and matches the 493-horsepower rating of the 12C GT3. Cooling is improved through larger intakes within the front bumper and revised side intakes. In addition to this, the gearbox oil cooler has been relocated, now incorporated into the larger side intakes, giving the rear of the car a cleaner, more aerodynamic flow.
Around 15 examples of the 650S GT3 are planned to be produced and delivered for the start of the 2015 motorsport season, and pricing is set at £330,000 ($561,900) plus taxes. Any teams that have just bought a 12C GT3 will be happy to note that McLaren is offering an upgrade package that will transform their cars into the 650S GT3, further extends the life.
As mentioned, the 650S GT3 is on show at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed currently taking place in the U.K. Also on show is a special version of the 650S developed by the McLaren Special Operations personalization department.