At the Goodwood Estate during the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed, McLaren unveiled the latest of the 650S GT3 supercars meant for limited production and to premier in the 2015 race season. Current 12C GT3 owners can get upgrade kits to extend the life of their current stable to match performance with the new 650S GT3.
This is the second-generation GT3 car from McLaren’s GT arm and is meant to replace the 12C GT3, which is now in its third season. The 12C has garnered three championship titles, 51 race wins, and 71 podiums on top of those wins. The car also leads the current-year Blancpain Endurance Series as well as the GT Asia championship.
Based on the recently unveiled McLaren 650S, and built around the same lightweight carbon fibre MonoCell chassis, the GT3 iteration has been honed using CFD technology and the latest in automotive and motorsport simulation to offer enhanced aerodynamics and improved levels of cooling. At the front, an aggressive splitter and larger air intakes dominate, while on the flanks, the all-new lightweight carbon fiber bodywork wraps around re-profiled air intakes, which offer further optimized cooling. The fixed carbon fiber rear wing works in tandem with the large carbon fiber splitter.
Reduced cost of ownership has been a priority during the design and development of the 650S GT3, and this has been achieved through extended component life, including increased engine and gearbox rebuild intervals, together with re-designed components and systems to reduce parts costs. Body panel design and fit have also been optimised which will not only minimise pit lane repair times but also aids weight distribution through the use of lighter components.
Improvements for driver safety were also incorporated, with a new, FIA-approved rollcage which was redesigned to be lighter but with greater safety enhancement and driver comfort. The steering wheel was designed with inspiration from the McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 car and the motorsport digital dash display was enhanced for better visibility and optimization.
With the seat being fixed in place, McLaren created an adjustable system to allow the gearbox shifter and controls as well as the steering wheel to be tuned to the driver quickly. Ventilation and driver cooling were also updated for better air flow.
The latest-generation 3.8-liter V8 twin turbo from McLaren is now the M838T engine and in the GT3 it’s race-prepared with a new ECU offering increased functionality and control. Transmission shift control comes through a new six-speed sequential motorsport gearbox. The car produces 500PS, on par with the 12C GT3 and in compliance with FIA Balance of Performance regulations. Cooling has been improved thanks to the larger intakes within the front bumper and re-profiled side intakes. The gearbox oil cooler was relocated to the side intakes, allowing a cleaner, more aerodynamic rear end.
The 650S GT3 uses an all-new race-tuned suspension system with a 52mm wider track than the 12C GT3. The front suspension also allows the fitment of the latest generation larger diameter racing tires . In conjunction with the optimized aerodynamic package, this provides increased levels of front-end grip and steering feel on turn-in. Newly designed forged aluminium wheels (front – 12.5” x 18”, rear – 13” x 18”) are held in place with a single wheel retaining nut on motorsport axles, while a revised hub bearing assembly and extended-life suspension components are another example of a simplified service item, and reduced maintenance costs.
The 650S GT3 development program has pulled significant data from the findings and lessons learned from the 12C GT3 program. Testing of the 650S GT3 will continue throughout the summer with customer car production commencing in the autumn. Pricing for the 650S GT3 has been confirmed – £330,000 ex works, plus tax.