It has been over 16 years since the Kokusai Kaihatsu Racing Mc Laren F1 speed through the night to emerge in the victor’s circle in the early morning mist at LeMans. The McLaren F1 became the first road car since the Ford GT40 captured the checkered flag at LeMans four times from 1966-1969. However, the era of production-based car winning endurance races came to end soon after McLaren’s 1995 victory, and prototype based vehicles have been atop the podium ever since. -Something that McLaren hopes to change with the MP4-12C GT.
- Ten drivers to compete in three MP4-12C GT3 race cars at Spa-Francorchamps on 30-31 July
- 12C GT3 is the first race car converted from a McLaren road car to make a 24 hour race debut since the McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans in 1995
- McLaren GT customer VonRyan Racing to manage third MP4-12C GT3 in Pro-Am Cup category
McLaren GT returns to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend for Total 24 Hours of Spa, following a successful race debut there in the British GT Championship early in July. The second race in the MP4-12C GT3’s development programme will see ten experienced racing drivers pilot three cars in the 12C GT3’s first ever 24 hour race.
The McLaren GT driver line-up for the Total 24 Hours of Spa includes CRS Racing Team Principal Andrew Kirkaldy and McLaren Automotive Chief Test driver Chris Goodwin. Both are Executives of the new McLaren GT company, which is led by McLaren Group CEO Martin Whitmarsh and includes McLaren Racing Head of Vehicle Engineering Mark Williams.
McLaren MP4-12C GT3 drivers for Total 24 Hours of Spa:
Car 58 (McLaren GT):
Rob Bell – GB
Chris Goodwin – GB
Tim Mullen – GB
Car 59 (McLaren GT):
Andrew Kirkaldy – GB
Álvaro Parente – POR
Oliver Turvey – GB
Pro-Am Cup category
Car 60 (McLaren GT and VonRyan Racing):
Adam Christodoulou – GB
Glynn Geddie – GB
Phil Quaife – GB
Roger Wills – NZL
McLaren GT is using the 2011 race season to develop the 12C GT3, with 20 cars due for delivery to privateer teams for GT3 series racing in 2012. Chris Goodwin said: “I was very happy with the performance of the 12C GT3 in its debut race at Spa. We secured an amazing pole position at the first attempt and importantly for future customers; the 12C GT3 was reliable, fast and easy to drive.
“I’m delighted with the quality of the drivers we have enlisted as we take the 12C GT3 to its first 24 hour race. This level of endurance racing is a crucial test for the car technically, and we need the best possible team working with us to ensure we receive intelligent, objective feedback on the 12C GT3 driving experience. We will use this feedback as we continue to develop the car in readiness for customers to go racing next year.
“We will be taking the opportunity at Spa to work with a future McLaren GT customer, VonRyan Racing. We want to develop close relationships with all our customer race teams and this experience will be valuable in developing our customer support programme for 2012 and beyond.”
McLaren’s Racing Pedigree
· Defined by race wins in a broad series of global racing championships, McLaren is the most successful motor racing team in history. No other racing team has won the ‘triple crown’ of Le Mans (on debut), Indy 500 (three wins) and Formula 1 World Championships. In the North American Can-Am race series McLaren won 43 of 71 races, taking five titles between 1966 and 1972.
· In Formula 1, McLaren has won 171 races: better than one in four of the races in which it has competed since 1966, and more races won per season competed than any rival (3.75). These wins have resulted in eight Constructors’ Championships and 12 Drivers’ Championships. McLaren, and Ron Dennis’ influence on Formula 1 has been manifest. In 1981 (Dennis’ first season as team principal), the McLaren MP4/1 became the first-ever race-winning car featuring a carbonfibre-based monocoque chassis.
· This revolutionary design, inspired by aerospace technologies, has since become the standard chassis structure for racing teams: lightweight, safe, strong, and dimensionally predictable.
· McLaren’s Road Car Heritage
· 1993 – 1997: McLaren F1: The McLaren F1 was, and in many eyes remains, the definitive sports car: the first road car with a carbonfibre construction.
· Just 106 examples of this iconic supercar were made (72 road cars, 28 racing cars, six prototypes), but recent auction prices for F1s value the standard F1 road car at between £2 – £2.5 million, almost five times its original retail price: appreciation unheard of in a modern car. It was also the last true road car to win Le Mans and the first to achieve this feat since the ‘60s.
· 2003 – 2009: Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren: The SLR was conceived and styled by Mercedes-Benz as a powerful, touring sports car before being presented to McLaren Automotive to engineer, develop and manufacture. The SLR was prodigiously fast, exclusive and a technological tour de force. With over 2,100 examples produced, the SLR became the most successful ultimate supercar ever built, selling twice as many as the next best-selling carbon based car (Porsche Carrera GT).
- McLaren F1 in Le Mans
- 1995: with an F1 GTR piloted by J.J.Lehto, Yannick Dalmas and Masanori Sekiya, McLaren won on debut; four other F1s finished 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th.
- 1996: six F1 GTR ‘LM’s finished 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 11th.
- 1997: two ‘Longtail’s finished 2nd and 3rd.
- 1998: one ‘Longtail’ finished 4th, with a second withdrawn after an accident.