Racing McLarens' plans revealed
TEAM MCLAREN: Rob Bell, Alexander Sims and Alvaro Parente, McLaren's official drivers, will race for a number of customer teams in the 2012 GT3 race series.
The new McLaren MP4-12C GT3 race car is set to make its track debut in the European and FIA GT1 World championships this year and has released a full list of customer teams and race series entries for 2012.
Prototypes of the racing McLarens were exposed to an intensive programme through 2011 in which the cars covered more than 35 000 miles on real and simulated test tracks.
Cars will take to the track for the first time in Germany on Saturday (March 31, 2012) for the opening rounds of the VLN and ADAC GT Masters' championships at the Nürburgring Nordschliefe and Oschersleben, respectively.
The MP4-12C sports car, on which the GT3 racer is based, will also make its debut as a safety car in the FIA GT1 World championship race at the Nogaro circuit in France over April 8 and 9.
Thereafter, fans of the Blancpain Endurance Series can look forward to seeing ten of these GT3 cars line up on the grid for the season-opener in Monza in April, 2012, after completing the competition’s official first test at the end of March at Paul Ricard in France.
The McLarens will wear the liveries of ART, ASM, Boutsen Energy, Gulf Racing, Molitor Racing, United Autosports and Von Ryan Racing. The JAS team will also take part in selected rounds.
Gemballa Racing and Doerr Motorsport will compete in the 12C GT3 in the German VLN series, which includes the famous 24 Hour Nürburgring endurance race in May.
Molitor Racing and Gemballa Racing will run in ADAC GT Masters, and French FIA GT1 Champions Hexis Racing will line up on the grid of the FIA GT1 World championship. Series champions Apex Motorsport will enter a new 12C GT3 in selected rounds of this 2012’s British GT championship, while the Lapidus Racing team will contest the International GT Open series and compete in 24-hour races at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and Catalunya in Spain.
FORMULA 1 TRAINING
Teams racing the 12C GT3 in 2012 have enlisted the services of highly successful racing drivers for the 2012 season. Former Formula 1 drivers Mark Blundell and David Brabham (also a Le Mans 24hr winning driver) will race for United Autosports and 2011 Formula 2 competitor Jack Clarke will drive for Boutsen Energy.
Rob Bell, Alvaro Parente and Alexander Sims, who recently joined the McLaren GT driver line-up for 2012, will be placed with customer teams, while McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver Chris Goodwin will also contest selected races in a 12C GT3 throughout the season.
The 12C GT3 shares the same V8 twin turbo engine and carbon ‘MonoCell’ chassis as its road car sibling, and its aerodynamic package was developed by McLaren GT in partnership with specialist engineers and designers at McLaren Automotive.
Andrew Kirkaldy, project manager for McLaren GT, said: “I’m excited that we are so close to seeing the 12C GT3 in its first full race season. The feedback I have received from customers that have already taken delivery of the car is very positive.”
Customer teams will be supported by official McLaren GT engineers throughout the 2012 season, while away from the track the teams will be offered the use of McLaren’s simulator, which was used by McLaren Automotive to specify the 12C road car, and by McLaren Racing to develop all of its successful recent Formula 1 cars.