Britain’s latest weapon in the GT racing wars is revealed today: the McLaren 720S GT3. We’ve been blown away by the road car, now the competition version has hit the tracks for testing ahead of its race debut in 2019.
The long-awaited motorsport version of Woking’s second-generation Super Series model, seen here for the first time, follows on from the 650S GT3. With its innovative aerodynamics and MonoCageII carbon structure, it promises to move the game on in several ways, just as the 720S road car did. The race car certainly looks the business: the first pictures show it to be a stunning piece of work.
As with the 570S GT4 – which has so far chalked up eight championship titles and 50 class wins after its debut in 2017 – the 730S GT3 will be raced by customer teams only. The car, the first to be developed in-house by McLaren Automotive’s new customer race division, is available to teams now at £440,000 ex-works. McLaren says it will eligible for all GT3 grids around the world.
Stand back then for a battle royal with all the big names – Porsche, Ferrari, Mercedes, BMW, Lamborghini, Bentley, Aston Martin et al – in all the major GT3 series. To fight its corner McLaren says the 720S GT3 will be able to call on ultimate handling that’s aimed at both professional and amateur drivers, as well being quicker, easier and cheaper for teams to run.
Optimised fuel efficiency and tyre management have been prioritised, together with improved reliability, durability and serviceability, says the company. To achieve all this 90 per cent of the 720S road car’s components have been changed or optimised. Design and development have been undertaken at a new dedicated GT race facility at McLaren Automotive where all new GT3 cars will be hand-assembled.
The carbon body panels are unique to the GT3 and the splitter, rear wing and diffuser are among the bespoke items, though with its familiar profile, teardrop cabin and “eye socket” lights there’s no mistaking it for a 720S, even in its stunning gold and blue livery. At the car’s heart is a race prepared version of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, enhanced to deliver an improved torque curve for racing. There’s a new six-speed sequential paddle gearbox, a Salisbury-type adjustable limited slip differential and cockpit-adjustable traction control and ABS. Suspension and and brakes are similarly new and an air-jack is built in.
Track testing is under way in Europe, the US and the Middle East, with development prototypes covering 30,000km to prove the racer’s endurance ability. McLaren says some of the testing replicates race speed for 24 hours.
As the first racer to be developed in-house at McLaren Automotive, the 720S GT3 is a significant pointer to more motorsport products from Woking. “We are committed to supplying teams with exceptional GT cars and the world-class support to get the most out of them,” said McLaren Automotive chief Mike Flewitt.