Unlike its somewhat cumbersome name, the MP4-12C has proved to be another masterpiece from the home of McLaren, one of Britain’s multiple World Championship-winning racing car constructors. Penned by Frank Stephenson and launched in 2011, it is manufactured around a one-piece carbon fibre MonoCell that weighs in at a mere 80kg. Unlike its road-going predecessor, the Gordon Murray-designed F1, it has two conventional side-by-side seats. Power is supplied by a mid mounted 3.9-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine designed and developed by McLaren in conjunction with Ricardo which, in standard form, develops a massive 617bhp - sufficient to propel the supercar to 60mph in a mere 3.1 seconds and on to a top speed of over 200mph. The unit drives the rear wheels via a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox.
Unlike the F1 which was originally intended for road use only, the MP4-12C was designed to excel on both road and track, so it was not long before the official GT3 version became the first McLaren to enter the international sportscar racing arena since the all-conquering F1 GTR. The newcomer made its debut in the form of a single car entry at the 2011 Spa round of the British GT championship, and was followed by a three car assault on the 24-Hour race at the same circuit. Following further encouraging outings that year, the company set about constructing 25 examples for the 2012 season, the shakedown tests for which were carried out Dunsfold on the same tarmac employed by the Stig of Top Gear fame. In order to comply with the regulations, the race cars actually have less power than their road-going cousins - 493bhp - and, for the sake of lightness, drive through as six rather than a seven-speed gearbox, while the steering wheel in the same as that employed in the MP4-24 Grand Prix car. The model’s first international victories were achieved by Hexis Racing, who won the two 2012 rounds of the FIA GT1 World Championship held at the Circuito de Navarra.
Two of the custom GT3 cars were acquired by Gulf Racing in order to contest the popular six-round International Blancpain series. Car number 9 was campaigned by the pairing of Mike Wainwright and Rob Bell, while this chassis wore number 69 in the hands of Roald Goethe and Stuart Hall and achieved placings at Silverstone, Paul Ricard, and the Nürburgring.
The following 2013 season chassis 007 was entered in the Blancpain Endurance Series once more, this time as a PRO car with drivers - Rob Bell, Nico Verdonk and Adam Carroll. The team scored a 3rd place finish at Monza and a 7th in Pro Class at the highly competitive Spa 24hr, the number of laps and distance covered by this car has yet to be beaten by any other Mclaren since.