In a season of firsts, the 2012 season marked the competitive debut of the McLaren 12C GT3, with 23 examples campaigning in 14 different series with 13 McLaren GT customer teams. Between them, the teams have claimed a total of 19 victories, and covered more than 106,000 kms collectively. With this successful return to the world of customer GT racing, the 12C GT3 is considered by teams to be the ‘GT car to own and race’, and McLaren GT has now confirmed a batch of additional cars are to be produced and be made available to race in 2013.
The gruelling 2012 campaign saw the 13 McLaren GT customer teams visit 14 countries and cover more than 106,000 competitive kilometres. Throughout this, the 12C GT3 ended the season well, and claimed victories in the Blancpain Endurance Series, FIA GT1 World, Barcelona 24h, Avon Tyres British GT, City Challenge Baku, FFSA French GT and GT Cup.
After a challenging start to the season, McLaren GT has worked with each of the teams to optimise the 12C GT3, and the first win was recorded for the French-based Hexis Racing team in the FIA GT1 World Championship. The result saw the team claim back-to-back victories over a weekend at the Circuito de Navarra in Spain. From here, a string of strong results, including eight wins and eight further podiums in all competitions, saw Hexis Racing narrowly miss out on retaining the championship by a single point.
The Blancpain Endurance Series saw the largest number of 12C GT3s racing together throughout the six-date calendar, and competed on some of the most famous circuits in the world. The headline event of the Series, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, attracted nine 12C GT3s to a highly competitive grid of more than 65 cars. Five 12C GT3s qualified in the top 20 for one of the most demanding events on the motorsport calendar, with the Von Ryan Racing team claiming pole position in class (P3 overall). Both of the team’s cars took the chequered flag at the end of an event-filled and rain-soaked race, to claim a top 10 finish, and narrowly miss out on a podium finish in the Pro-Am class.
The Blancpain Endurance Series calendar came to an end in Spain, at the Circuito de Navarra, where Hexis Racing returned to the scene of their victories from earlier in the season to claim a further winner’s trophy.
European triple crown weekend for McLaren GT
A weekend of particular highlight for McLaren GT during 2012 came when the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team crossed the line to take victory in Monza, Italy. Over the course of that weekend, McLaren GT added to the tally of victories for the Group as teams claimed wins in British, French and Spanish events. Of particular note was the victory for the Lapidus Racing team at the Barcelona 24h, which marked the first outright 24 hour victory for McLaren since the famous debut victory for the McLaren F1 GTR at Le Mans in 1995.
The season was brought to a close with three standalone events: the City Challenge in Baku, Azerbaijan, the ‘City of Dreams’ Macau GT Cup and the Gulf 12 hours of Abu Dhabi, with the McLaren GT teams claiming two wins and four podium finishes overall to end the season on a high.
Commenting on the 2012 season, and the results recorded by the McLaren GT customer teams, Andrew Kirkaldy, Managing Director of McLaren GT explained: ‘This season has been full of new challenges for McLaren GT and the teams running the 12C GT3 which, it is important to remember, is a brand new car to GT racing. To have scored 19 victories in the competitive debut season is true testament to the professionalism and dedication of the teams, as well as the durability, reliability and speed of the 12C GT3.
There have been challenges throughout the season, but we knew that it wouldn’t be an easy ride – the GT championships in which the 12C GT3 has competed this season are among the toughest series in the world. We have worked hard to develop a strong package for our customers, with a reliable and quick car which is supported by a customer care package that is second-to-none. We set out at the beginning of this project to provide a car that customers were proud of, and that our rivals were envious of. The continued development, and hard work and dedication by the teams and everyone at McLaren GT has helped move the car through the field and become the GT car of choice.’
New 2013-specification 12C GT3 now available
Following the competitive debut season, McLaren GT has now confirmed that a further batch of the 12C GT3 will be produced to compete in the 2013 season. These new models are eligible for all GT3 championships, and will see McLarens heading to a number of new race tracks as the 12C GT3 goes racing across the world.
The 2013-specification 12C GT3 features a number of changes, all of which are available as a package to existing teams, which are designed to offer enhanced drivability, reliability and efficiency, coupled with reduced complexity. The changes include a revised aerodynamics package to reduce understeer, an upgraded ECU with a revised wiring loom and alternative dampers.
As the 12C GT3 will now run in global series, updates have been made to the cooling and aerodynamic package. This is evident through the updated bonnet and ducting, which is 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.