McLaren has revealed that it will build an all-new GT3 car, the 720S GT3, next year ahead of customer deliveries in 2019.
It will mark the British manufacturer’s third GT3 model, following the MP4-12C and 650S GT3, and first built in its new dedicated facility in Woking.
Development of the 720S GT3 is set to get underway next year, with it making its competition debut in a yet-to-be-determined end of year race.
The road-going 720S, launched at the Geneva Motor Show this year, features a 4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine and can go from 0-62 mph in 2.9 seconds, faster than the 650S.
“McLaren is built on racing and providing our growing family of customers with unique and exhilarating driving experiences,” said McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt.
“It therefore makes sense for us to unveil a dedicated, widened motorsport program designed to support and enable more of our customers to focus on enjoying the thrill of pushing our cars on the track.
“The 720S GT3 will provide a stunning race-going addition to our Super Series product family and drivers will now be able to hone their skills under expert guidance backed-up by our technicians at the circuit and our motorsport retailers away from it.”
New Motorsport Division Established
It’s understood the GT3 project is being spearheaded by a restructured motorsports group within McLaren, following the alleged termination of its contract with CRS GT Limited, which had been operating under the McLaren GT entity with Andrew Kirkaldy at the helm.
Sportscar365 understands that former Strakka Racing team principal Dan Walmsley, who joined McLaren late last year in its special operations division, is set to lead the manufacturer’s new GT racing endeavors.
McLaren, however, has yet to comment on the department shakeup.
Bell Confirmed as Factory Driver; New Driver Development Program
Rob Bell will continue as a McLaren factory driver, spearheading a new driver development program, while also work on the new GT3 car.
Jordan Albert (21), Charlie Fagg (18), Michael O’Brien (22) and Lewis Proctor (21) have all been selected for the program and will compete in pairs driving two McLaren GT4 cars next year.
“The McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme has been established to help gifted young drivers realize their motorsport ambitions: if they have the talent, regardless of their background, we want to be there to guide them and foster their racing skills,” Flewitt said.
“These drivers will be our future in endurance racing and in the four we have selected this year, we believe that with McLaren’s support all of them are potential GT championship winners.”
McLaren Motorsport Retailers Confirmed
McLaren Automotive has also confirmed the first details of retailers approved to retail the brand’s motorsport products, including the new GT3 and championship-winning McLaren 570S GT4 car.
Appointed from the existing McLaren retailer network, initially 10 retailers will offer motorsport support and service with the first such retailer to be announced being McLaren Glasgow, the recipient of the brand’s retailer of the year award.
Alongside Glasgow in Europe will be Zurich; North America will be represented by Dallas, Newport Beach, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Scottsdale and Toronto, while the Asia-Pacific region will have representation in both Melbourne and the spiritual home of McLaren, New Zealand, with the Auckland retailer.
The company has also unveiled plans to extend its existing Pure McLaren customer track day series by creating the Pure McLaren-GT race series that will race in 2018 at European circuits.