McLaren Automotive expands customer-focused motorsport offering

21 Nov 2017

  • New 720S GT3 race car to begin testing in 2018; to be constructed in a new dedicated facility in Woking, England
  • Network of retailers specialising in selling and supporting track derivatives established
  • Single-make Pure McLaren-GT race series to be launched in 2018
  • Driver Development Programme to nurture young GT racing talent

McLaren Automotive, the British creator of luxury sports cars and supercars, is to expand its race-winning activities in GT racing with a number of new initiatives. Headlining these is the announcement that a new 720S GT3 race car will join the successful 570S GT4, and this new model will begin testing next year for launch with customer teams in 2019.

To serve customers engaging with the sport in the best possible way, McLaren Automotive is appointing a network of specialist motorsport retailers who will retail road and track products alongside each other. Also from next year, owners will be able to compete in a one-make GT series. Finally, the company will be helping to nurture young motorsport talent with the launch of a Driver Development Programme.

The actions are all designed to bring McLaren’s customers even closer to the action than ever before – crucial for a brand born on the race-track, as McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt, explained: “McLaren is built on racing and providing our growing family of customers with unique and exhilarating driving experiences. It therefore makes sense for us to unveil a dedicated, widened motorsport programme 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.”

As the first element in the refreshed programme, and building on the recent successes with both the 12C GT3 and 650S GT3 cars, McLaren Automotive is to develop and build a GT3 race car based on the award-winning McLaren 720S. Two concept sketches have now been released.

The 720S GT3 will benefit from race and championship-winning experience and knowledge accrued by McLaren during six seasons of motorsport activities. Following an intensive development programme in the 2018 season, the 720S GT3 will make its competitive debut with customer teams in the 2019 season and will be fully compliant with GT3 regulations and eligible to compete in all GT3 race series globally.

The MonoCage II carbon fibre structure at the heart of the 720S road car provides the foundation for a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive car set to appeal to professional and budding drivers alike. A race-prepared version of McLaren’s 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 M840T engine will provide the power source, through a six-speed, sequential shift motorsport transmission. The aerodynamically-optimised bodywork of the 720S GT3 will be formed from both composite and lightweight carbon fibre, with a bespoke aerodynamic package. The suspension will comprise tried and tested adjustable dampers and coil-over springs, front and rear.

The 720S GT3 race car follows on from the 650S GT3 which has proved itself as a race winner and world-beater on the highest GT stages globally following its launch in 2014. It has scored titles on all four continents on which it has campaigned, including the Asian Le Mans Series, Australian GT championship, the Bathurst 12 Hour, Blancpain Endurance Cup and Pirelli World Challenge. This was a development from the original 12C GT3 which was launched in 2010. After an intense development programme throughout the 2011 season, the 12C GT3 debuted with customer teams a year later, winning 19 races, a further 19 podiums and pole position for the legendary Spa 24h race.

To support a further part of the expansion plans for customer racing and track activities across the globe, McLaren Automotive has also confirmed the first details of retailers approved to retail the brand’s motorsport products. 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.

“Motorsport retailers represent an important milestone for McLaren Automotive – strengthening a core part of the business, and bringing the world of road and track models even closer together,” said Jolyon Nash, Executive Director, Global Sales and Marketing, McLaren Automotive. “Motorsport has been, and will continue to be, a core value to the McLaren brand which truly was born on the track, and this runs through the DNA of each and every product that we hand assemble.”

The company has also unveiled plans to extend its existing popular Pure McLaren customer track day series by creating the Pure McLaren-GT race series that will race in 2018 at iconic European racing circuits. The new series is aimed at McLaren owners who already have extensive track driving experience and are looking to take their first steps in the racing world in a controlled and familiar environment with the support of McLaren motorsport experts that allows customers to tap into over five decades of racing know-how.

Open exclusively to individual McLaren owners with the minimum of an International D grade licence, they will be able to take advantage of a full ‘arrive and drive’ package with all cars maintained and run by McLaren engineers and technicians, freeing owners up to concentrate on their driving. More details, including venues and dates for the new Pure McLaren-GT series, will be announced in due course.

McLaren is as committed as ever to developing future racing talent. Alongside new cars will be a driver development programme designed to nurture a new generation of GT racers. To kick-start the McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme, four promising British drivers have been selected from an existing stable of driving talent connected with McLaren who will compete in pairs driving two 570S GT4 cars during 2018.

The Programme will identify talent and create a breeding ground for future McLaren Factory Drivers by providing them with motorsport education and driver support. That support includes being assigned a professional mentor from McLaren’s team of drivers, fitness and nutrition assessments and advice and PR, marketing and sponsorship support and guidance.

Drivers will be regularly assessed and evaluated on their performance with a tailored programme developed to ensure each delivers their best performance every time they compete. This will include simulator access and working with the engineering teams to better understand telemetry data and race strategy.

Jordan Albert (21), Charlie Fagg (18), Michael O’Brien (22) and Lewis Proctor (21) will each have a driver coach from the roster of Pure McLaren driver coaches and share a driver mentor in Rob Bell who joins McLaren as Factory Driver.

In 2018, a competition will be launched for drivers to participate in a 2019 International Driver Development Programme run by McLaren Automotive. More details will be announced next year.

“The McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme has been established to help gifted young drivers realise 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. 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. I am also delighted that Rob Bell joins the team as a Factory Driver for the 2018 season, as his knowledge and experience will be of enormous benefit to the Driver Development Programme. More than this, he will ensure that the 720S GT3 car builds on the success of our previous models in this class and is capable of competing against – and beating – the best that the GT world has to offer, ” added McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt.

Only in its seventh year, McLaren Automotive now forms the largest part of the newly combined sports and technology-based McLaren Group and has a workforce of around 2,100.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

McLaren 720S GT3 technical specification

Engine

Motorsport-prepared M840T engine, 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, 3,994cc

Transmission

Six-speed sequential motorsport transmission

Chassis

McLaren carbon fibre MonoCage II chassis

Drivetrain layout

Longitudinal mid-engined, RWD

Body

Bespoke lightweight carbon fibre/composite body panels

Aerodynamics

Bespoke front splitter and floor assembly, dive planes, GT3-specification rear wing

Axle

Motorsport axles with single wheel retaining nut

Tyres

Pirelli racing tyres

Suspension

Adjustable dampers with coil-over springs, front and rear

Driver seat

Winged head-rest - FIA Approved

Driver harness

Six-point race harness

Roll cage

FIA approved

Fire extinguisher

FIA approved

Air jacks

Standard

McLaren Automotive Driver Development Programme

Jordan Albert

After a successful spell in BRDC F4, winning multiple races, 21-year-old Jordan Albert moved into GT4 competition in the British GT Championship in 2016. In a highly successful debut year, Albert took a class win in only his second race, and took a further podium later in his partial-season campaign. Despite missing the final two rounds, BRDC Rising Star Albert still finished seventh in the class championship.

Charlie Fagg

Charlie Fagg is an up-and-coming teenage British racer, who graduated from the Ginetta Junior ranks in 2016, after multiple podium finishes over three years of competition.

Since then, 18-year-old Fagg has enjoyed a highly successful debut season in the category and is a BRDC Rising Star. In the GT4 European Series Northern Cup he amassed multiple race wins, as well as an impressive pair of GT4 class wins in dominant fashion, on his debut British GT Championship weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

Michael O’Brien

Twenty-two-year-old Briton Michael O’Brien is still relatively new to motorsport, but in just four years of competition has racing a variety of machinery. O’Brien, who began racing in the Historic Formula Ford back in 2014, quickly climbed into the British Formula Ford Championship after multiple wins during his debut season.

Lewis Proctor

Twenty-one-year-old Lewis Proctor broke onto the McLaren scene this year after competing nationally in saloon championships, the young Brit campaigning a McLaren 570S GT4 in the GTA class of the GT Cup championship in the UK. He, along with his brother Steward finished P9 in the championship standings.

McLaren Automotive Factory Driver

Rob Bell

38-year-old Rob Bell, who has been driving McLarens as a Factory Driver since 2012, is one of the most accomplished GT drivers of his generation. Bell has won multiple championships with the Woking-based brand, in multiple categories and series, including the 2016 Blancpain Endurance Cup title, as well as the Asian Le Mans Series GT championship in the same year. More recently, this season he also won the International GT Open Pro/Am title.

Outside of his successes with McLaren in the GT3 ranks, Bell has also won multiple races in GTE/GT2 competition. In 2011, Bell finished runner-up in the Le Mans Series GTE Pro class standings and he also won the Le Mans Series GT2 class in 2007 and 2008.

A selection of high resolution images accompanying this release is available to download from the McLaren Automotive media site – cars.mclaren.press

About McLaren Automotive:

McLaren Automotive is a British manufacturer of luxury, high-performance sports and super cars, located at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) in Woking, Surrey. For the past 30 years, McLaren has pioneered the use of carbon fibre in vehicle production and since introducing a carbon chassis into racing and road cars with the 1981 McLaren MP4/1 and 1993 McLaren F1 respectively, McLaren has not built a car without a carbon fibre chassis.

Following the global launch of McLaren Automotive in 2010, the groundbreaking 12C was revealed in 2011, the 12C Spider in 2012, and the limited-run McLaren P1™ went into production in 2013. In keeping with its plan to introduce a new model each year, the company unveiled the 650S, in Coupé and Spider form in 2014, while 2015 proved to be a year of unprecedented growth of the product portfolio with five new models launched across the full range. The strictly limited edition 675LT Coupé premiered at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the track-only McLaren P1™ GTR which, with 1,000PS, became the most powerful model ever produced by the brand. The much-anticipated Sports Series became the third – and final – model tier in the McLaren range with the 570S Coupé and 540C Coupé debuting in New York and Shanghai respectively, less than one month apart. The end of 2015 saw the launch of the fifth model, the 675LT Spider, which was as a direct response to customer demand. The year also saw the end of production for the first model in the Ultimate Series as the 375th McLaren P1™ was completed, closing what had become a defining year for the British brand. 2016 continued where 2015 had left off with the introduction of the 570GT - a second bodystyle for the Sports Series and the most luxurious car McLaren has ever built, as well as the 570S GT4 and 570S Sprint track variants. 2016 also marked the introduction of the company’s new business plan, Track22, which sees the company investing £1B in Research and Development to deliver 15 all new cars or derivatives by the end of 2022, of which at least 50% will feature hybrid technology. The uplift in sales in 2016 also saw the launch of the second shift at the McLaren Production Centre as well as the company’s third year of profitability in just six years of trading. In March 2017, the second-generation Super Series was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show with the global premiere of the McLaren 720S. The first convertible model in the Sports Series, the 570S Spider, was revealed in June 2017 and made its public debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Visit cars.mclaren.com for more details.

Further information:

Wayne Bruce
Global Communications & PR Director | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7768 132429
Email: wayne.bruce@mclaren.com

Daniel Golding
Global Head of Corporate Communications | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone:+44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 77717 450469
Email: daniel.golding@mclaren.com

Paul Chadderton
Global Product Communications & PR Manager | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone:+44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7990 776749
Email: paul.chadderton@mclaren.com

Amel Boubaaya
Head of Lifestyle and EU Communications | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 531357
E-mail: amel.boubaaya@mclaren.com

Adam Gron
Senior Press Officer - UK | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7827 081 770
Email: adam.gron@mclaren.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Adam_Gron

Hunter Skipworth
Social Media Manager | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261500
Mobile: +44 (0) 7990 564 052
E-mail: hunter.skipworth@mclaren.com

Roger Ormisher
Vice President, Communications & PR | McLaren North America
Phone: +1 714 501 8137
Email: roger.ormisher@mclaren.com

Laura Conrad
Public Relations | McLaren North America
Phone: +1 765 517 2186
Email: laura.conrad@mclaren.com

Karin Haferkorn
Head of Marketing & PR, Middle East, Africa and Latin America | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +44 (0) 1483 261343
Mobile: +44 (0) 7899 816872
Email: karin.haferkorn@mclaren.com

Sunny Zhang
PR Communication Director - China | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +86 (0) 21 2074 0520
Mobile: +86 186 1617 9933
Email: sunny.zhang@mclaren.com

Gracia Yap
PR Manager – Asia Pacific | McLaren Automotive Limited
Phone: +65 6338 3700
Mobile: +65 9109 3698
Email: gracia.yap@mclaren.com

Media website: cars.mclaren.press

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