McLaren launches new 650S GT3 car for 2015 season

McLaren has unveiled a new GT3 contender that will go on sale to customers in time for next season

McLaren launches new 650S GT3 car for 2015 season

The McLaren 650S GT3, which was launched at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on Friday, succeeds the four-year-old MP4-12C racer.

The British sportscar manufacturer has opted to produce a new car because the 650S has replaced the MP4-12C as its entry-level sportscar for the road and because it wanted to take a step forward from its original GT3 design.

Andrew Kirkaldy, managing director of McLaren GT, said: "The 650S GT3 is a natural progression of an already successful racer, but we have looked at all the different areas where we could possibly make even the slightest incremental improvement.

"There have been issues with reliability, so the new car has allowed us to keep what we were happy with and change what we weren't happy with."

The 650S GT3 is built around the same carbon monocoque and 3.8-litre twin-turbo engine as its predecessor.

The biggest change, apart from the wider bodywork carried over from the road car, is a switch from a Ricardo to an Xtrac gearbox.

The revised aerodynamics have also allowed McLaren to improve cooling over the MP4-12C without increasing drag.

Kirkaldy said that McLaren had strived to improve the serviceability of the car and reduce running costs.

He explained that there had also been a focus on "broadening the performance envelop" to allow amateur drivers to exploit the potential of the car.

The McLaren 650S GT3 will retail for £330,000 plus taxes.

Because the new car retains the monocoque and engine of the MP4-12C, existing owners will be able to upgrade to 650S specification.

McLaren is planning to build 15 new cars for next season and hopes to have a further 15 upgraded cars running.

The 650S GT3 has already completed a shakedown, and will begin testing in anger with two days at Snetterton next week.

It will undertake, according to Kirkaldy, "a pretty full-on test programme" over the second half of this season.

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