McLaren has unveiled its new 720S GT3 racer ahead of the car being sent out on track to start its real-world development. After rigorous simulations and computational fluid dynamic tests, the new GT3 racer will soon be tested on circuits around the world to ensure that it’s ready for its competition debut next year.
Just like the Super Series road car upon which it is based, the 720S GT3 uses McLaren’s MonoCage II carbonfibre structure, but a roll-cage has been added so that it complies with current safety standards.
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The race car also uses the 720S’s twin-turbo 4-litre V8 engine. However, to make it suitable for competition use and better suited to spending more time at higher revs, 90 per cent of the components have been changed or modified. McLaren hasn’t divulged how much power the revised V8 might produce (the road car has 710bhp), but because GT3 regulations are based around creating an equal field, ultra-high power isn’t as important as robustness and reliability.
Further significant changes have been made to the 720S’s drivetrain and chassis. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that’s in the road car has been replaced with a race-ready six-speed sequential gearbox, and instead of an open differential there’s a Salisbury-type plate limited-slip diff. The wheel hubs have also been changed to accept centre-lock alloys.
The biggest changes, though, are to the car’s bodywork. The sharp nose and neat lines of the road car have made way for a smooth aerodynamic front, wider arches, front arch vents and a massive fixed rear wing. All the bodywork, including the splitter, dive planes and the wing, is made from carbonfibre or other composite materials.
The 720S GT3 will be hand-assembled at McLaren’s new, dedicated race-car facility at its headquarters in Woking, Surrey. The new car will be built alongside the McLaren 570S GT4, the firm’s entry-level GT racer.
As well as proving the GT3’s durability and speed, track testing will also help the race team fine-tune the way the car uses tyres and fuel, and how easy it is to service. It’s not exactly the most exciting sort of testing a race car could be put through, but those elements are as essential as lap times for the car to be competitive in long-distance races.
The tests will also make sure that McLaren’s new race car is as useable for amateur customer racers as it is for professional drivers, because the 720S GT3 will be available to buy for anyone who wants to compete in top-level GT3 racing and has a spare £440,000.