2019 McLaren 720S GT3
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.
Bruce McLaren Documentary Is A Must-Watch
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.
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.
McLaren Drops Its F1 Race Car From The Sky In 2016 Season Teaser: Video
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...
Fernando Alonso Walks Off Unscathed After Horrific Crash At Australian GP
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.
2016 McLaren 570S GT4
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.
2003 McLaren Mercedes-Benz MP4-15 SSC/96 Formula 1 Race Car for Sale
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
McLaren hasn’t competed at Le Mans for quite some time, but the pre-race ceremonies at this year’s race were basically one big McLaren party. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1995-1997 McLaren F1 GTR’s victory at the 24-hour race, McLaren pulled out all the stops and brought along all five GTR racers that competed in the 1995 race, a 1997 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail and the new 2016 McLaren P1 GTR for a victory lap of Le Sarthe. Owners from around the world in 2014 McLaren P1s, 2015 McLaren 650Ss and 12Cs were also invited to come along.
Now McLaren has released this outstanding video documenting the occasion. This wasn’t exactly a gingerly paced parade lap. These guys really canned it down the Mulsanne and other fast sections of the track. McLaren Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin took the wheel of the race-winning No. 49 Ueno Clinic car. All three race-winning drivers were there and behind the wheels of other cars: Yannick Dalmas in the P1 GTR, JJ Lehto in the Longtail and Masanori Sekiya in a P1.
You’ll probably want to turn your speakers up for this one. It’s case study in comparing the sound of McLaren’s old, BMW-sourced V-12 and the new turbocharged V-8. (Spoiler: the V-12 sounds way better.)
The F1 wasn’t built as a race car, but interest from customer teams eventually led the company to building the F1 GTR. 1995 was the first year McLaren entered Le Mans, and it didn’t just win its first time out, the five cars absolutely dominated, finishing first, third, fourth, fifth and 13th. It’s also the last road-based car to win at Le Mans. Check out McLaren’s Le Mans Memories video series to learn about McLaren’s extraordinary 1995 race.
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.
The line between road-going supercars and full fledged race cars used to be more distinct. Not that you never saw racing versions of supercars, but they usually had to be heavily modified in order to go racing. But then the McLaren F1 won Le Mans, followed a few years later by a win from the 1995-1999 Porsche 911 GT1, and really fast cars started being designed with the idea in mind of being both street and race cars. This has never been more true than it is with the current round of hypercars, which includes the F1’s successor, the P1. In racing form, it is the 2016 McLaren P1 GTR, and here we see it on the track hitting 202mph.
The car is wearing the historic Harrod’s livery that 1995-1997 McLaren F1 GTR chassis No.06R wore at Le Mans. But it looks just as good 20 years later, and it fits the P1 GTR just as well as it did the F1 GTR with very little changed. The video shows the car on a track in the south of France, where it looks perfectly at home. The only real complaint with the video would have to be that the music sometimes gets in the way of the engine noise. I don’t know why some idiot insists on music so often. There’s nothing romantic about a 200-mph adrenaline rush, and it’s own soundtrack is the correct one. Okay? Please?