McLaren’s upcoming GT3 car, the 720S GT3, has begun a “punishing” testing program ahead of its 2019 race debut.
The British manufacturer confirmed that the new model, which was announced last November, will travel to various circuits in Europe and North America with a view to running in the Middle East later this year.
It also released the first on-track image of the car in action at Magny-Cours.
McLaren has followed up on “extensive CFD simulations” by rolling out two development cars for 18,000 miles of performance and durability testing, including “various 24- and 36-hour tests” monitored by Pirelli.
The mid-engined 720S is the follow-up to the Bathurst 12 Hour-winning McLaren 650S GT3 and is the company’s first GT3 model to be developed in-house at its Woking facility.
It will be powered by a race-tuned version of the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine found in the road-going 720S, while McLaren reports that around 90 percent of the components of the road-legal car have been changed or optimized for the GT3 variant.
“The McLaren 720S is such a multi-talented road car that we always knew honing its pure racing talents and making a GT3 car out of it would be an entirely natural process – and so it has been,” said McLaren Automotive motorsport director Dan Walmsley.
“While a largely bespoke machine, the GT3 car is still a McLaren 720S at its core.
“Developing a race car is about optimizing every component and the lightweight MonoCage II carbon fiber chassis is the perfect base for this.”
McLaren Sets Price for Customers
McLaren has also confirmed a starting price of £444,000 ($570,000) for the 720S GT3 with the first examples available for customers to race next year.
The manufacturer said it plans to “enter strategically important global championships” with the initial batch of cars “through engaging with customer teams”, although a race debut has yet to be announced.
“It was an incredibly exciting moment for us to see our new 720S GT3 begin the intensive track-based phased of a development program that we are confident will provide our customers with a first-class GT race car,” said McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt.
“Enabling our customers to go racing is integral to the business strategy of McLaren Automotive and we are committed to supplying teams with exceptional GT cars and the world-class support to get the most out of them.”