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McLaren launches 12C Can-Am track car

Concept to reality: McLaren has quickly turned the 12C Can-Am Edition Racing Concept from the Pebble Beach concours into the track-only production model pictured.

Just 30 McLaren MP4-12C GT Can-Am Editions to be built – for track days only


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20 Nov 2012

MCLAREN’S race car division will start producing a maximum of 30 12C GT Can-Am Editions based on its GT3 endurance racer from March next year.

Like the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, none will be road-legal or homologated for any race series, limiting use to track days.

British pricing of what McLaren bills as “the ultimate track car” is more than double that of the road car at £375,000 ($573,000), meaning the price of a Can-Am imported to Australia could exceed one million dollars. The road-going 12C costs $490,000 here.

Like the concept shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California in August, the limited run of track specials are dedicated to the late Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme, who between them notched up a number of championships in the Can-Am series in a series of McLaren race cars.

The Can-Am’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine produces 470kW, making it the most powerful production 12C to date, sending 4kW more to the rear wheels than the recently upgraded road car and significantly more than the GT3, which is restricted by regulations to 368kW.

Those extra horses have been liberated by recalibrating the engine management system and fitting an optimised cooling system.

A huge carbon-fibre rear wing dominates the Can-Am’s unique aerodynamic package, which is claimed to increase downforce by 30 per cent.

The Can-Am rides on lightweight satin black racing alloy wheels with Pirelli racing tyres and carbon-fibre is used for the exterior mirror mounts and housings, engine cover vents, vanes on the side radiator intakes, sill plates and badges.

Inside is a full FIA-approved race-spec roll-cage, two black racing seats with six-point harnesses and the same steering wheel as the GT3 racer, the grip and shape of which are derived from the McLaren Formula One car.

A nod to comfort comes with a special air-conditioning system built into the carbon-fibre dashboard.

McLaren GT director Andrew Kirkaldy said the Can-Am concept reached production due to “remarkable” reaction and response at Pebble Beach.

“It is a real testament to the performance and results of the McLaren GT customer teams this year, still only in the debut competitive season, that there is such a strong demand for this type of track-day special,” he said.

“To be able to produce this unshackled limited-edition version of the 12C is a fantastic way to resurrect a glorious chapter in the company’s past.”

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