No one could accuse Mclaren of being lazy lately. On top of the 650S Special Edition that wowed Goodwood, the British manufacturer has also shown the world the GT3 racer that will replace the 12C's GT3 edition.
The 650S GT3 is built around the same carbon fiber chassis as the 650S, but gets a more aggressive front splitter and bigger cooling ducts, designed for professional GT3 racing. The bodywork on the car's flanks has been replaced with carbon fiber, all wrapped around bigger air intakes to feed the V8 that sits behind the driver.
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The aero package is crowned by the massive carbon fiber spoiler at the rear of the car.
Speaking of the engine, the turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 in the 650S GT3 makes roughly the same amount of power (500 hp) as the older 12C racer, due to the FIA's "balance of power" regulations. But the new 650S has more efficient cooling through the larger front and side air intakes, and a repositioned oil gearbox oil-cooler allows the 650S to cut a cleaner shape through the air. The 7-speed dual-clutch paddle shift gearbox in the standard 650S is replaced with a 6-speed sequential racing gearbox in the transition from road car to racer.
Ultimately, racing is about getting around corners quickly, so the 650S GT3 has a 52 mm wider track than the road-going car. The road car's adaptive suspension set up has been replaced with a race-tuned system, while the 18-inch lightweight forged-aluminum wheels are wrapped in slick tires to provide the best grip and feel possible for the driver. The whole package is finished off with ventilated discs, clamped by monoblock six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston calipers at the back.
Although race cars are very different to road cars, reliability still matters on the circuit, so while it might not be talking about fixed priced servicing, McLaren says that the 650S is more durable than the outgoing car, through the strengthening of individual engine and drivetrain components.
Unsurprisingly, luxury is no longer a priority when it comes to the car's interior. Instead of the comfy standard seats, the GT3 is fitted with McLaren designed race buckets and 6-point harnesses designed to provide better leg and headroom than the previous units. Cabin ventilation and cooling has been improved over the 12C, the dials found in the 650S have been replaced with a multifunction digital readout that sits behind the F1-inspired steering wheel, while the pedal box is a movable race set up.
All of this adds up to a package that promises to be hugely competitive in the 2015 GT3 race series, but McLaren won't have things all its own way if the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin and Audi have anything to say about it.
So how can you get your hands on one? Well, if you have the money (and talent) McLaren will sell you a 650S GT3 for €330,000 before tax, and 15 are set to be built for the start of the 2015 season. Existing 12C GT3 owners can have their car upgraded with some of the new components from the 650S, to provide the same reliability benefits as the new car.
Source: McLaren AutomotiveView gallery - 14 images