McLaren is to return to GT sports cars racing and from 2012, in partnership with CRS Racing, will supply and support a 'limited number' of GT3 racing cars based on the McLaren MP4-12C for European-based privateers, it has been announced.
As part of the development programme aimed at turning the 12C road car into a race-winning GT3 sports car, McLaren and CRS Racing will compete at a limited number of European GT races next season.
“Racing is in our blood – it was natural to develop a GT3 car alongside the 12C road car,” said McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh. “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.
“The 12C's architecture and design was always aimed at high-performance and ease of maintenance - two key criteria for potential customers.
“Combine that with the vast amount of racing experience in our automotive team, and CRS Racing's specialist development experience, and the 12C GT3 should be an exciting proposition for the top teams planning to race in GT3 from 2012.”
“This is a rare opportunity to work with a company like McLaren and we are proud to be involved,” added Andrew Kirkaldy, CRS Racing team principal. “Together, we aim to produce the highest quality GT car on the grid. The level of engineering experience at McLaren is unparalleled and this will be reflected in the 12C GT3.
“One of the most important aspects of this programme will be customer service and for that reason we will be building a limited number of cars at a competitive price. The result will be an incredible GT car with manageable running costs and good residual value that will provide its owner with an unrivalled experience.”
Further details about the McLaren 12C GT3 racing car programme will be announced in 2011.
Initial plans are for a limited run of 12Cs developed for the 2012 European FIA GT3 Series, but, as with the McLaren road car business, 'conservative growth and expansion will be considered'.