The McLaren MP4-12C is set to make its North American debut next year in the Pirelli World Challenge, with the British manufacturer also preparing a GT Daytona-eligible model for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2015. (en Français)
This year, the mid-engined GT3 car claimed three championships, 23 wins and 62 podiums out of 107 races. After a thunderous 2012 season, the MP4-12C was expected to peak but the competition hadn’t been sitting still.
While the 2014 GT3 regulations are frozen, minor improvements, mainly to improve reliability, are planned, according to Andrew Kirkaldy, managing director at McLaren GT, who has also confirmed additional customer interest, particularly in North America.
The British brand has continued its expansion in the U.S., with new dealerships in Atlanta, Long Island, Scottsdale and Washington D.C. recently announced, although the late confirmation of the GT Daytona rules has prevented McLaren from having a presence in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship next year.
“We will not have any McLaren cars in the United SportsCar Championship,” Kirkaldy confirmed. “The rules were very late and gave us no time to be able to have a car developed for the rules without ABS or traction control.
“However, we will create a car that works with the technical rules for 2015. It is, however, very likely that there will be several cars on the [Pirelli World Challenge] grid in 2014.”
The 2014 season will be a rather busy one for the Woking-based McLaren GT organization, as Kirkaldy expects between 10 to 12 additional cars to be competing next year, mainly for the North American and Asian markets.
It’s no secret that development began for a GTE-spec MP4-12C, but those plans were put on hold due to GT convergence talks that began late last year.
“McLaren GT designed and started to build a GTE car at the end of 2012 for 2013,” Kirkaldy said. “However an announcement of a potential regulations change stopped the project. McLaren now aims to have a GT car for all classes that come out of the rule discussions for 2016.”
On the driver front, the manufacturer already has a large presence with Alvaro Parente, Adam Carroll, Rob Bell and Alexander Sims as factory pilots.
However, Kevin Estre showed impressive pace last month in the Baku World Challenge with the now-defunct Hexis Racing, and Kirkaldy admitted they are in discussions with the Frenchman after having recently tested a car at Paul Ricard.
Kirkaldy said he could not confirm Estre as a driver at this point.