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McLaren Senna to Race at Le Mans in a Couple of Years

McLaren Senna to Race at Le Mans in a Couple of Years

If the rules allow it, that is!

Launched in late 2017 as a successor to the P1, the McLaren Senna is the company’s most radical road-legal car yet. Not just superior to the P1 in almost every department, it’s one of the quickest supercars on the race track. At least that’s what McLaren claims. There’s no proof of the Senna skill at the track, but all the specs, performance figures, and the extreme aerodynamics seem to point in that direction. And McLaren wants to take things up yet another notch in the near future with a racing version.

Although it has yet to confirm it, the British firm is most likely developing a GTR version of the Senna. It will be here once production of the regular model, limited to 500 units, comes to an end, so it will probably take until late 2019 for that to happen. Much like the P1 GTR, the Senna GTR will be a race-spec model of existing Senna clients and part of the company’s customer program with racing events around the world. But while the P1 program was halted after the GTR, the Senna will become a full-blown race car for FIA events. At least that’s the plan.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2019 McLaren 720S GT3

2019 McLaren 720S GT3

Will replace the 650S GT3 starting 2019

Launched in 2014, the McLaren Super Series included a batch of spectacular sports cars. Alongside the base 650S model, the British firm also launched the higher performance 675LT and the race-spec 650S GT3. Light, fast, and packed with the latest technology, the Super Series became McLaren’s most successful car. However, the British carmaker decided to replace it after only three years on the market. Its successor is called the 720S and boasts improvements in just about any department. It’s been six months since the 720S was unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show and McLaren announced that a race-spec GT3 version is also underway.

The new 720S GT3 will replace the 650S GT3, a vehicle that scored titles in all major motorsport series, including the Asian Le Mans Series, Australian GT championship, the Bathurst 12 Hour, Blancpain Endurance Cup and Pirelli World Challenge. But it won’t happen right away. Much like the 570S GT4, the 720S GT3 will have a trial season in 2018 and will completely replace the 650S in 2019, when it will be launched for customer teams.

In addition to the new race car, McLaren also announced plans to introduce a new racing program and a one-make GT series for customers. It’s also planning to appoint a network of motorsport retailers which will sell road and track products alongside each other. But more about all of this below.

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Bruce McLaren Documentary Is A Must-Watch

Bruce McLaren Documentary Is A Must-Watch

The man is a pioneer in more ways than one, and we have a chance to find why

We all know the names Enzo Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini, and Ferdinand Porsche. They’re all titans of the industry and their legacies remain to this day in the manufacturers that still bear their name. One name who doesn’t get as much shine as he should is Bruce McLaren, the New Zealand-born driver, engineer, and inventor who founded McLaren. Well, if anybody wants to know more about McLaren and his impact on the history of motorsports, now’s your chance because a special documentary covering his life will be shown in the U.S. by video-on-demand next month.

Aptly titled “McLaren,” the documentary covers McLaren’s whole life, beginning with his childhood in New Zealand all the way up to the tragic crash that claimed his life at Goodwood. It’s a little hard to believe that McLaren was only 32 years old when he died, but in the short time that he was alive, he managed to found a company and racing outfit that would go on to win 12 Formula One driver’s championships and eight constructor’s titles. Today, we know of McLaren both from its exploits in Formula One and the supercar division that has given us exotic beauties like the P1, 720S, and the grandfathered yet still iconic F1 supercar. All of it started with Bruce McLaren, who lived long enough to create a lasting legacy of his name. Now we have a chance to see the man in ways we probably never have before.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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McLaren 650S GT3 to get Special Livery for 2016 24 Hours of Spa

McLaren 650S GT3 to get Special Livery for 2016 24 Hours of Spa

The British firm celebrates founder Bruce McLaren with unique, vintage livery

One of the three examples of the McLaren 650S GT3 that will race at this years 24 Hours of Spa will wear a special livery, the British firm announced today. The car run by customer team Garage 59 will wear a unique paint job based on the original logo that adorned the early race cars of the Bruce McLaren Motor Racing team.

Created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the last competitive outing for the original squad with Bruce McLaren himself at the wheel, the livery features the distinctive red, white, and green paint job seen on early 1960s cars. Designed by British illustrator Michael Turner, it was also the first to feature the famous "Speedy Kiwi." The latter will also be present on the 650S GT3’s roof.

The iconic badge was also featured on the 1965 McLaren M2A single-seater prototype and a number of Group 7 sports cars. The most famous of the cars which ran the "Speedy Kiwi was the McLaren M1A, which scored the first podium for the team on its debut at the Canadian circuit Mosport in September 1964.

The special 650S GT3, which will wear No. 60 and make a one-off appearance at Spa, will be driven by Bruno Senna, Luis Felipe Derani, and Duncan Tappy. Garage 59 is the leader of the Team’s Championship in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with two wins from the first three events of the 2016 season.

The 2016 24 Hours of Spa is set to begin at 16.30 CST, Saturday, July 30.

Keep reading for the rest of the story.

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1995 - 1997 McLaren F1 GTR

1995 - 1997 McLaren F1 GTR

In 1992, McLaren took the supercar market by surprise with a vehicle that was unlike any other produced until then: the F1. Not only lighter and more powerful than anything else in dealerships at the time, the F1 was also the first production car to feature a carbon-fiber monocoque and a center-mounted driver’s seat, among many other unique features and innovations. What’s more, it became the world’s fastest production car at 240.1 mph, smashing the previous record by a whopping 27.8 mph.

What the world didn’t know then was that the F1 would also spawn a successful race car.

Although McLaren had used many racing technologies and designs for the F1, Gordon Murray’s goal was to build "the ultimate road car." McLaren had no intention to take it racing, but many customers and racing teams started seeing the potential in the F1 as soon as the first cars had hit the roads. Ray Bellm and Thomas Bscher were among those who turned to Gordon Murray and Ron Dennis in an attempt to convince them to build racing versions for the BPR Global GT Series.

McLaren agreed to build F1s for the track if Bellm would bring him at least three customers for such a car. A few months later, the three customers and Dennis met to sign the contract and the F1 GTR project was born, which would give McLaren its first outright win at Le Mans.

Updated 07/06/2016: In order to celebrate 650S GT3’s win at the Nürburgring round of the Blancpain Sprint Series this weekend, McLaren took a look back into the history and released a very cool video featuring the McLaren F1 GTR at the Nürburgring in the fifth race of the 1996 BPR Global GT Series. And you guessed, the F1 GTR was also a winner. Hit "play" to watch the video!

Continue reading to find out more about the McLaren F1 GTR.

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2017 McLaren 570S Sprint

2017 McLaren 570S Sprint

Track-only model that bridges the gap between the road-going 570S and the FIA-spec 570S GT4

Unveiled at the 2015 New York Auto Show, the McLaren 570S is part of the company’s Sports Series, a new family of sports cars designed to help triple the brand’s sales volume by 2020. Powered by a detuned version of the 650S’ 3.8-liter V-8, the 570S is aimed at the likes of the Porsche 911 Turbo and, together with the 540C, is one of McLaren’s most affordable sports cars, retailing from under $200,000. Unlike the P1 and 650S, the 570S was developed to deliver day-to-day usability and driveability, as well as increased luggage space and greater interior storage. However, it retains most of the feats common in McLaren sports cars, including a carbon-fiber frame, a lightweight design, and a premium interior.

Like all McLaren road cars, the 570S was also designed to become a track car. The first such vehicle to arrive from the Sports Series was the 570S GT4, which already made its debut in the 2016 British GT championship as a development car before being sold to customers for the 2017 season. Alongisde the GT4, McLaren also created the 570S Sprint, a milder version of the race car that’s also dedicated to customers who spend their weekends at the track. Developed in conjunction with McLaren GT, the brand’s motorsports division, and GT racing specialists CRS GT Limited, the 570S Sprint will break cover at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed and go on sale in 2017.

The 570S Sprint echoes previous models with the Sprint badge, which means that the new sports car is unrestricted by racing regulations, but still dedicated for track days. More importantly, it is upgradable to a full GT4 specification for those looking to take on FIA events around the world.

Updated 07/05/2016: McLaren dropped a new video from the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, where the 570S Sprint made its global dynamic debut. Hit "play" to watch the video.

Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren 570S Sprint.

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McLaren 570S Becomes Safety Car Of 2016 British GT Championship

McLaren 570S Becomes Safety Car Of 2016 British GT Championship

McLaren’s first safety car will pace Britain’s No.1 GT series

Launched in 2015 as McLaren’s first sports car priced under $200,000, the 570S is also the company’s first model to become a safety car. The brand’s entry-level coupe was chosen by the Stéphane Ratel Organisation (SRO) as the official safety car for the 2016 British GT Championship. The 570S Safety Car will support each of the nine rounds over seven race weekends and pace a grid that includes cars such as the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, BMW Z4 GT3, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, and the Audi R8 LMS.

This year’s British GT Championship will also feature the McLaren 650S GT3 and the brand-new 570S GT4, which will run its development season in the series.

"Motorsport is a key element to the make-up of McLaren – both in terms of our hugely successful history but also the extremely exciting future. This latest partnership with the British GT Championship underlines the common links between McLaren road-going and track-dedicated models," said Ansar Ali, McLaren Automotive’s newly-appointed Motorsport Director.

Much like any safety car, the 570S received a few exterior upgrades such as a light bar on the roof, "Safety Car" graphics on the doors, and "British GT" and "Pirelli" decals. Inside, the only addition is a radio system. Everything is stock under the hood, meaning that the safety car uses the twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 to put 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet on the ground. This should be more than enough to pace the powerful race cars competing in the British GT Championship.

Continue reading for the full story.

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McLaren Drops Its F1 Race Car From The Sky In 2016 Season Teaser: Video

McLaren Drops Its F1 Race Car From The Sky In 2016 Season Teaser: Video

Military cargo plane delivers F1 car to the track in Hollywood-worthy film

With the 2016 Formula One season already underway, McLaren has released quite a spectacular video showing team driver Jenson Button jumping in the MP4-31 race car from an Airbus A400M. Yup, that’s no typo. Button was dropped from the sky in a Formula One car from a military cargo aircraft that can carry two 8x8 armored vehicles. Not only that, but it landed directly onto a race track and put McLaren’s new single-seater through it paces before crossing the finish line with the massive airplane only a few feet above.

It’s obviously a nice piece of filmmaking, as McLaren wouldn’t risk an air-drop of an expensive F1 car, but such a stunt wouldn’t be impossible given that this airplane is being used to drop tanks and other armored vehicles. I guess it’s a nice way to grab the attention of racing gearheads after an unfortunate 2015 season with the new Honda power units and several reliability issues.

Hollywood-worthy stunts aside, the two-minute video is promoted as a teaser for the 2016 season. The problem is that it comes several days after the championship hosted its maiden race, the Australian Grand Prix, at the Melbourne Circuit. Not surprisingly, Mercedes-AMG scored yet another 1-2 win, while McLaren ended the event with Jenson Button in 14th and Fernando Alonso retired after only 16 laps.

If only McLaren’s performance at the track would be as spectacular as this video...

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Fernando Alonso Walks Off Unscathed After Horrific Crash At Australian GP

Fernando Alonso Walks Off Unscathed After Horrific Crash At Australian GP

Two-time world champ lauds FIA’s safety measures

Fernando Alonso is lucky to be alive. The Spanish driver admitted to such after a horrific crash at the Australian Grand Prix. The debacle left his McLaren race car completely obliterated. Alonso was engaged in a heated duel with Haas Racing driver Esteban Gutierrez in the 17th lap of the race when his right tire clipped the back of Gutierrez’s car. That contact sent the number 14 McLaren-Honda race car straight into the wall where it smashed to pieces before flipping multiple times and flying all the way to another wall at the end of the run-off area. The car eventually rested upside down in a smoldering heap.

Alonso miraculously walked out of the crash as soon as the car came to a rest, drawing huge sighs of relief from his family, team, and everyone who saw the incredible crash. Watching in real time, it’s easy to see why a lot of people were worried about Alonso. The car not only smacked the wall at high speed, but the momentum of that crash caused the car to flip over multiple times in the air before crashing violently into the dirt.

The crash immediately brought out the red flag, causing the entire race to be stopped temporarily. It eventually resumed with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg taking the checkered flag ahead of teammate and defending world champion Lewis Hamilton. But with respect to the two Mercedes drivers and third-place finisher Sebastian Vettel, Alonso’s crash has become the main talking point from the race as it has once again put a spotlight on the Formula One’s move to improve the safety conditions for its drivers during race weekends.

Alonso was quick to give credit for the advancements the sport has made with regards to the safety of the cars themselves. Anybody who saw the crash likely counted on the worst before seeing Alonso walk away unhurt. The crash also brought flashbacks to the accident that led to the death of Jules Bianchi. It may have been different circumstances, but seeing such a wreck makes people think of the worst-case scenarios. Alonso said so himself, so if there’s anybody who knows how lucky he is to still be alive, it’s definitely him.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2016 McLaren 570S GT4

2016 McLaren 570S GT4

McLaren’s most affordable race car

In 2015, McLaren debuted the new Sports Series, a family of sports cars slotted below the Super Series and aimed at the likes of the Porsche 911 Turbo. Having already launched three models, the 570S, 540C, and 570GT, the Brits are now pushing the Sports Series into motorsport territory with a track-only version called the 570S GT4.

As the name suggests, the race-bred coupe was developed to GT4 specifications, which makes it eligible for an array of European racing championships, including the GT4 European series. Created in conjunction with McLaren GT, the brand’s motorsports division, and GT racing specialists CRS GT Limited, the 570S GT4 will be raced in the 2016 season of the British GT championship. One example will be run by Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse before the car is homologated for GT4-spec championships globally and sold to customers for the 2017 season.

"The launch of the Sports Series has broadened McLaren to a new audience, introducing technologies to the sports car market and to a new group of customers. The 570S GT4 is doing the same in the motorsport world, and will bring the opportunity to own and race a McLaren -– previously limited to a very small number of people –- to a much wider group," said Mike Flewitt, CEO of McLaren Automotive.

Along with the new race car, McLaren also announced that it has appointed Ansar Ali as Motorsport Director. Former CEO of Caterham Cars and current chief of Zeos Cars, Ali will be responsible for on-going strategy and management of McLaren’s motorsport activities.

Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren 570S GT4.

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2003 McLaren Mercedes-Benz MP4-15 SSC/96 Formula 1 Race Car for Sale

2003 McLaren Mercedes-Benz MP4-15 SSC/96 Formula 1 Race Car for Sale

The car is said to be authentic and was raced in 2003 by Kimi Raikkonen

Every now and then when you’re browsing auction sites or the classifieds and you come across something unexpected. Well, that very thing happened today when I was browsing Ebay. To my amazement, I found a 2003 McLaren Mercedes-Benz MP4-15 that is apparently authentic, and was driven by Kimi Raikkonen with the No. 6 livery during the 2003 F1 season.

With a starting bid of $270,000, I thought to myself “no way.” As it turns out, everything seems to be legitimate. The car is currently located in Brazil and has all of the import/export paperwork ready to go. According to the listing, the car can be exported worldwide, but there is one small catch – it doesn’t have the engine.

That might be a deal-breaker for most, but with the right amount of time and know-how, it wouldn’t be too difficult to drop an engine in there. The listing doesn’t dive too much into the car’s history, but it does state that the car is completely stock, and all parts are original. So, the real question here is: How badly would you like to own a Mercedes Formula 1 car?

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McLaren Drops Images Of The P1 GTR Workshop

McLaren Drops Images Of The P1 GTR Workshop

The orgasmic images you’re looking at here aren’t of some wealthy man’s ridiculous car collection, no, these are images of the new McLaren P1 GTR Workshop. The workshop is located in Woking, England just a hop, skip, and jump away from McLaren Special Operations and the McLaren GT race team. Go ahead and wipe the drool off your chin – I’ll wait.

This workshop is part of McLarens P1 GTR Driver Program. Every customer who enters the program gets access to this workshop and a handful of engineers and mechanics like those seen cleaning up a P1 in the middle of the workshop. It looks like a piece of pure heaven, but a lot more goes on here than you might think. This is where the P1 GTR is prepped for races, maintained and stored until it is time to unleash the fury on the race track once again.

As you can see, being part of the P1 GTR program comes with a lot of perks. Even the livery of the cars can be customized in this workshop, with specialists on hand to help each owner get the desired look – that’s why each of the 12 cars you see in these photos are completely unique. I’ve got to say, working with the McLaren team and spending a little time in this workshop wouldn’t be a bad way to spend the weekend. Take a look at all of the photos for yourself, and enjoy a small glimpse into what only a select few get to actually experience.

Continue reading for the full story.

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McLaren 650S GT3 Claims Class Victory At Sepang 12 Hours

McLaren 650S GT3 Claims Class Victory At Sepang 12 Hours

When the McLaren 650S GT3 debuted, we were desperate to see just how well it would perform, and if it was actually worthy of the GT3 name. It has indeed performed well, and has now achieved a total of 24 wins since February of this year. Its most recent win came at Sepang this weekend after a grueling and challenging 12-hour race.

Racing in the Pro-AM category, McLaren factory driver Alvaro Parente and young driver Andrew Watson came together with Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Andrea Caldarelli from McLaren customer racing team FFF-Racing. As the race started, Parente ran the 650S steady in third place. It wasn’t until the first round of pitstops that the FFF-Racing team dropped down to fourth position. From there, they held that position until it began to rain and conditions became so bad the red flag flew and the safety car came out. By the time rain passed, the #55 650S GT3 was leading the Pro-AM class and ran consistently lap after lap.

The track remained wet through the end of the race, but the 493-horsepower McLaren 650S GT3 continued to hold its position, eventually finishing fourth overall and first in the Pro-AM class with Andrea Caldarelli behind the wheel. It should be noted that this was Andrew Watson’s first endurance race, but that was far from evident as he displayed excellent skill and drive to keep the 650S at the top of its class. The victory at Sepang has made 2015 the most successful campaign for McLaren GT since its debut, and this challenging race has given us even more reason to look forward to the next race in 2016.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2016 McLaren MP4-X Concept

2016 McLaren MP4-X Concept

McLaren has had a rough 2015 Formula One season, with its new Honda power unit not living up to expectations. Having finished the season next to last in the constructors’ championship standings, 2016 can only be an improvement for the Brits. But, despite not being able to win a single race in 2015, McLaren made tremendous progress toward the end of the season and even designed a brand-new Formula One car, the MP4-X.

Unfortunately, the MP4-X isn’t the company’s race car for 2016, but a conceptual vision for the future of Formula One. I say unfortunately only because we won’t get to see it on the race track anytime soon; otherwise, this concept car is as cool and futuristic as they get. Not only because it looks as if it came from the future, but because it packs an enormous amount of technology that’s likely to become the norm in a few years.

“With the futuristic McLaren MP4-X concept race car, we wanted to peer into the future and imagine the art of the possible. We have combined a number of F1’s key ingredients – speed, excitement and performance, with the sport’s emerging narratives - such as enclosed cockpits to enhance driver safety, and hybrid power technologies,” said John Allert, Group Brand Director of McLaren Technology.

There’s no word as to when this concept race car will be shown to the public, but until that happens you can have a closer look at all the technology behind it in our review below.

Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren MP4-X Concept.

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Bill Auberlen Drives The McLaren F1 GTR: Video

Bill Auberlen Drives The McLaren F1 GTR: Video

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the McLaren F1 GTR’s incredible victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. That incredible achievement was historic on multiple fronts, not the least of which is its distinction of being the last street-based GT car to win the world’s most prestigious endurance race. To commemorate the McLaren’s milestone victory, BMW Driver Bill Auberlen took the F1 GTR #017, for a commemorative lap around the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course.

It’s worth noting that the F1 GTR isn’t the actual car that took home the checkered flag at the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. This one placed eight at the 1996 edition of the race. The little switch-a-roo notwithstanding, that achievement is still held in high regard within the racing community, largely it ushered in an era of dominance for McLaren. In addition to winning the 1995 race, the F1 GTR also finished 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 13th overall. The year after that, the F1 GTR placed 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 11th in the race, followed by 2nd and 3rd place finishes in 1997.

You’re probably wondering at this point how exactly BMW is involved in this? Well, back then, McLaren didn’t have its own engine to call on so it sourced the V-12 engines it used in the F1 GTR from BMW. As such, the Bavarian manufacturer won as an engine supplier in 1995, four years before it won its first and only Le Mans title with the LMR V12 prototype.

Auberlen’s lap around the McLaren F1 GTR is impressive in a lot of fronts, none more so than the rippling sound of that BMW V-12 engine that’s as crisp as ever. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that the engine was actually brand new.

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McLaren 650S GT3 Wins At Blancpain Endurance Series

McLaren 650S GT3 Wins At Blancpain Endurance Series

The 2015 McLaren 650S GT3 made its debut this year, and out of the gate it has proven itself a worthy competitor. Despite running against vehicles like the 2015 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and 2014 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3, the 650S has come out on top not once, but twice. McLaren customer team Von Ryan Racing previously finished first at Silverstone and had a repeat performance at Nurburgring last weekend.

This most recent win makes it the first vehicle this season to secure two wins in the Blancpain Endurance Series. The win came after several bold calls that resulted in Kevin Estre taking over as the final driver with 70 minutes left in the race. All cars in front of him still had to pit for the last driver change, while Estere worked through the field to take the lead. He eventually finished with a 14-second gap when all was said and done.

Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren 650S GT3.

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Bruno Senna To Mentor McLaren P1 GTR Owners

Bruno Senna To Mentor McLaren P1 GTR Owners

If you are into pushing cars to the limit, then you would probably love Bruno Senna’s career. He is a previous Formula 1 driver and is currently McLarens factory driver. Now, he’s a member of the McLaren P1 GTR Driver Program that will be underway soon. The program follows a strict calendar of events where drivers start off with race-seat fitting and performance testing before taking a seat in McLaren’s racing simulator. Once the initial consultation is done, drivers will take a shot at running a 2016 McLaren P1 GTR around various tracks like the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, and Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi.

It goes without saying that a man like Senna doesn’t need help driving a McLaren P1 GTR, so that isn’t why he is a part of the program. He joined the program as a mentor to help other drivers prepare to hit the track in the beast of a supercar. His role is to help drivers learn to safely take advantage of the increased performance that the GTR has. In coordination with the Bespoke training schedule, Senna will help each driver hone his skills so that he can push himself and the P1 GTR to the limit. It is only a matter of time before the program kicks off, as the first customer version of the GTR is now on its way to McLaren Special Operations, where it will be optimized and made race ready.

Continue reading for the full story.

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2015 McLaren 650S GT3

2015 McLaren 650S GT3

The brand-new McLaren 650S was introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show as a replacement for the MP4-12C. The sports car debuted in Coupe and Roadster body styles with 640 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque on tap. Powered by the same twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 seen across the entire McLaren lineup, the 650S comes to the market as a competitor for the Ferrari 458 and the Lamborghini Huracan. Coming into 2015, the British sports car is also getting a track suit with a 650S GT3 label on it.

Developed as a successor to the highly acclaimed 12C GT3, the 650S will replace its forerunner in the Blancplain Endurance Series starting next year. Additionally, the new race car will get to showcase its skills in various GT races around the world hoping to match the success of its predecessor. Although it is essentially an updated 12C GT3, the 650S GT3 carries an array of newly-developed racing parts, which are supposed to make it faster and more agile on the track. Only time will tell if the 650S is worthy of the GT3 moniker, but, until then, let’s have a look at the technology behind it.

Updated 07/27/2015: The McLaren 650S GT3 finished honorably in its most demanding test to date this weekend: two entered entered the Total 24 Hours of Spa and both claimed top 10 finishes. McLaren dropped a very nice picture gallery from the race, so enjoy!

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 McLaren 650S GT3.

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Le Mans Memories: Part 6 - Ron Dennis Remembers: Video

Le Mans Memories: Part 6 - Ron Dennis Remembers: Video

If you’re a big endurance racing geek like I am, then you’ve probably been enjoying the Le Mans Memories series of videos that McLaren has released over the last few weeks to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1995-1997 McLaren F1 GTR’s victory at the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans. So far we’ve heard from several of the key figures behind the GTR project, including F1 designer Gordon Murray and team manager Paul Lanzante, but this conversation with them and current McLaren overlord Ron Dennis might be the most fascinating yet.

The McLaren F1 GTR was born as a customer race car following the road-going F1’s excellent reception. Several owners expressed interest in taking their F1s racing, which wasn’t something McLaren was particularly excited about. So to avoid watching customers tear apart road cars to build race cars, McLaren decided to build the F1 GTR race cars from the ground up and sell it to race teams. McLaren initially assured customer teams that they wouldn’t have to compete against a factory team, but that didn’t quite turn out to be the case.

Rather than a factory car, the black No. 58 F1 GTR was run as a “development car” by a privateer team led by Paul Lanzante. As the race progressed all five GTR teams found themselves in a good position to win the race. But, in an unusual case of team orders, the No. 58 car was told to not overtake the privateer GTRs, honoring the pre-race agreement. However, toward the end of the race a Porsche-powered Courage was beginning to make its way toward the front of the field. What followed was a series of phone calls and negotiations between Dennis and the teams that changed the complexion of the race. It’s the type of behind-the-scenes stuff you rarely hear about in racing.

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Le Mans Memories: Part 4 - The View From The Pit Wall: Video

Le Mans Memories: Part 4 - The View From The Pit Wall: Video

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is shaping up to be a pretty special event. Not just because we’re expecting an epic clash between Audi, Porsche, Toyota and newcomers Nissan for the overall win (which should be quite a thing to watch), but also because it’s the 20th anniversary of McLaren’s overall win. To commemorate, McLaren is trotting out all five F1 GTRs that participated in the 1995 race and has released this special series of videos documenting the race.

The McLaren F1 was never intended to go racing, but there was enough interest from racing teams to justify building a race version. It was the first and only time a manufacturer won Le Mans on its first try, but the overall sense you get from these videos was how hastily put together and haphazard the entire program was — very un-McLaren-like.

“I thought we’d only do about an hour.” Paul Lanzante was team manager for the winning No. 59 Ueno Clinic car and describes his mindset going into the race: “I’ve never had a car on a grid of a race where it was, not to say the most disorganized or the most badly prepared, but there was still so much more to do, which we never had time for. So much more understanding. And before you know it, we’re pushing the car on the grid and they’re putting the flag over it, and I thought, ‘This is it. We’ve done all we can.’”

Obviously, it was enough.

If you’re a student of endurance racing history, these four videos are well worth your time. They also also plenty of period footage from the race itself, complete with the sounds of shrieking 6.1-liter V-12s.

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McLaren to Celebrate Le Mans Win with F1 GTR Parade at Circuit de la Sarthe

McLaren to Celebrate Le Mans Win with F1 GTR Parade at Circuit de la Sarthe

McLaren Automotive and McLaren Special Operations (MSO) have announced plans to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the F1 GTR’s famous 24 Hours of Le Mans win next month with a special display at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The five examples of the F1 GTR that dominated the 1995 race, including the winning No. 59 car, will return for a parade lap at Le Mans prior to the lights going green for the 83rd running of the world’s greatest endurance event.

Leading the five Le Mans cars on the 8.5-mile victory lap will be the F1 GTR’s spiritual successor, the 986-horsepower P1 GTR. The hybrid supercar will thus make its global dynamic debut on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a privilege very few vehicles can brag about.

The track-exclusive P1 will be driven by former racer Yannick Dalmas, who was part of the winning team in the Ueno Clinic-sponsored car, together with J.J. Lehto and Masanori Sekiya. Lehto and Sekiya will also join the parade, along with owners of the limited-edition 650S Le Mans, which McLaren also launched to celebrate the F1 GTR’s famous win.

On June 18th, 20 years ago, the McLaren GTR won the 24 Hours of Le Mans on its maiden outing at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The No. 59 car took the checkered flag one lap ahead of a Porsche-powered Courage C34. The next three cars to cross the finish line were also F1 GTRs. A fifth GTR took 13th place overall to give McLaren its most convincing performance at Le Mans.

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Here's Shmee150's Entry For Gumball 3000: Video

Here’s Shmee150’s Entry For Gumball 3000: Video

The Gumball 3000 road rally is scheduled to begin a little later this month, and in anticipation of the off, YouTuber Shmee150 has created a preview video showcasing his personal neon-green 2015 McLaren 650S entry. It’s a brief five-minute piece on the route and car, and should help to stoke the excitement of anyone looking forward to this year’s event.

For those of you out there who have no idea what I’m talking about, the Gumball 3000 is an annual gathering that combines rich and famous VIPs with high-dollar exotica. It’s a celebration of the joys of expensive speed as exhibited through an extended road trip on public roads. Accentuated by flashy parties and a blatant disregard for local speed limits (so I’ve heard), the 3,000-mile journey has been ongoing since 1999, and is notorious for reckless behavior amongst its participants.

The current driver roster for 2015 includes TV-star David Hasselhoff, rapper Bun B, DJ The Alchemist, free-style skier Jon Olsson, skateboarder Tony Hawk, and Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton.

This year’s Gumball will kick off on May 23rd in Stockholm, where the high-performance caravan will head towards Oslo and Copenhagen before arriving in Amsterdam. The whole rally (including the cars) will then head by plane to Reno, Nevada, followed by a cross over into California towards San Francisco. After SF comes LA, ending with one last party in Las Vegas.

You can check out the official schedule here. If you plan on catching a part of the rally as it passes through your neck of the woods, make sure to bring your camera to capture the hijinks.

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