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McLaren Celebrate 50 Years - and Launch 2013 MP4-12C GT3

‘Life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.’

When a 27-year-old Bruce McLaren penned those words in 1964, his new company, Bruce McLaren Motor Racing Ltd, was less than a year old.

On September 2nd 2013, the McLaren Group will celebrate its 50th anniversary marking five decades of progress from a small endeavour campaigning self-made cars to the present day McLaren Group which employs more than 2000 people in a range of cutting edge specialisms.

The McLaren Formula 1 debuted at the 1966 Monaco Grand Prix and since then has won more races (182) than any other constructor, started from pole position 155 times and scored 151 fastest laps.

In 2012, they achieved the fastest-ever time for a Formula 1 pitstop (2.31s at Hockenheim), recorded our 58th consecutive points-scoring finish, an all-time record, and have now led more than 10,000 racing laps.

Beyond F1 the McLaren legacy in North American sportscar racing is a mighty one too – crushing the opposition in the heyday of the mighty CanAm series, lifting five successive championship trophies (1967-1971) and winning an incredible 43 races in our iconic, thundering V8-engined sportscars.

Indycar has McLaren heritage too, the marque went to the Indy 500 for the first time in 1970, working their way up to a first win in 1974 with Johnny Rutherford, repeating the feat with Rutherford in 1976, too.
Today, every single car in Formula 1, the Indycar Series and NASCAR relies upon McLaren Electronics’ standardised ECUs to control their engines and feed data back to the garage.

And then there are the modern day road cars and GT racers:

Introduced back in 1993, the McLaren F1 road car is still considered by many to be THE definitive supercar.

To this day, it remains the fastest naturally aspirated production car in the world. In GTR racing guise, it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, also scooping third, fourth and fifth places on its debut in 1995.  It’s racing career, in original short tailed trim and with the later the later long tailed version lasted barely half a decade but the impact that thje cars made on the sport were profound.   

The next roadcar project was perhaps less inspirational in sporting terms, a collaboration with Mercedes-Benz saw the creation of the fast but somewhat ‘bling’ Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, that car though is still the best-selling carbon-based car ever.
And so to the present day and the 2010 launch of the 12C and the 12C Spider, supplanted in the range by a competition dedicated GT3 race car, the 12C GT3.

After some initial difficulties the new car found is stride and in September 2012 on the same day as the Formula One team won at Monza, customer GT3 McLarens won races in the British, French and Spanish championships.

And now in the company’s anniversary year there’s a new car about to hit the road, the P1, a more extreme interpretation of the basic 12C theme.

Away from the track, McLaren leads the world in the application of Formula 1 technology and expertise to other industries. McLaren Applied Technologies helped British cyclists, rowers, sailors and canoeists win 15 gold medals last summer and worked alongside Specialized to design Mark Cavendish’s world championship-winning S-Works Venge bicycle.

Working with Birmingham Children’s hospital, McLaren have improved the monitoring of sick children in intensive care. McLaren has also designed systems to help the Bay Area Rapid Transit railway in San Francisco to run more efficiently and to reduce the CO2 emissions from plane movements at airports.

And the GT racing effort isn’t standing still either, as we’ve already written here McLaren GT will produce further examples of the 12C GT3 available to compete in the 2013 season.

The 2012 season saw the 12C GT3 take part in 98 separate race events, and this was converted into 19 victories and a further 19 podium finishes for the 13 McLaren GT customer teams – a remarkable achievement for the car making its competitive debut. During the season, the 12C GT3 was only made available to European-based GT teams and, aside from a handful of standalone race events in Abu Dhabi, Azerbaijan and Macau, raced in championships across Europe. The 12C GT3 is now available to all GT teams globally and, for the first time, also collectors and non-race users.

The 12C GT3 will continue to be raced by all active GT teams who competed in 2012. In addition to this, several new teams have now taken delivery of the 2013 model year 12C GT3 and are confirmed for the forthcoming season.

Amongst them are Clearwater Racing join McLaren GT as a customer team and, as reigning back-to-back champions in the Asia GT Championship and Sébastien Loeb Racing will run two examples of the 12C GT3 in the new FIA GT Series. Loeb himself will be joined in the cockpit by McLaren GT factory driver Alvaro Parente for the six-date season.

The 2013-specification 12C GT3 features a number of changes, all of which are available as a package to existing car owners, and which are designed to offer enhanced drivability, reliability and efficiency, coupled with reduced complexity. The changes include a revised aerodynamics package, an upgraded ECU with a revised electrical system and alternative dampers.

The 2013 12C GT3 also benefits from an updated cooling system designed to optimise performance of the car in the more varied conditions found in global championships. These enhancements are evident through the updated bonnet and ducting, designed to ensure that the 12C GT3 can run competitively in higher temperatures than those experienced during 2012. The revised aerodynamic package will further improve the balance and tyre management of the 12C GT3.

The enhanced 2013 McLaren 12C GT3 costs £325,000, and is eligible for all FIA GT3-based race series.

2013 McLaren 12C GT3 technical specification

-      McLaren carbon fibre MonoCell with aluminium front and rear sub-frames
-      Bespoke lightweight carbon fibre body panels
-      Left hand drive
-      FIA approved safety roll cage  

-      Front splitter
-      Rear wing, fully adjustable with gurney
-      Front and rear diffusers

-      Race prepared 3.8L V8 twin turbo McLaren M838T
-      McLaren Electronics ECU interfacing with Bosch ABS and Shiftec transmission control units

-      Six-speed sequential motorsport transmission pneumatically actuated via steering wheel mounted paddles

Electrical System
-      Lightweight motorsport specification wiring and connectors
-      Electronic power management system
-      Membrane type switch panel

Data System
-      McLaren Electronics ‘ATLAS’ data system
-      Digital dash display

Front/Rear Suspension
-      Double wishbone adjustable for ride height, camber and toe
-      Four-way adjustable dampers with coil over springs
-      Motorsport axles with single wheel retaining nut
-      Adjustable anti-roll bars
-      Forged aluminium wheels: Front 12” x 18”, Rear 13” x 18”

-      Electro-hydraulic power assisted steering
-      Unique McLaren GT steering wheel developed from MP4-24 Formula 1 steering wheel

Fuel System
-      Motorsport ‘bag tank’ system with 120L capacity
-      Motorsport ‘quick-fill’ system

-      Mobil engine and transmission lubrication

Brake System
-      Akebono monoblock calipers with ventilated discs:
       Front – 6 piston caliper, 378Ø x 36mm disc
       Rear – 4 piston caliper, 355Ø x 32mm disc
-      Bosch motorsport ABS