With suspiciously fine timing, Woking shows off its newest race car - and announces a one-make series
The announcement of a new 720S GT3 is rather the cherry on the top of this story. It's a fabulous, glossy cherry - laced with a race-prepped V8, a sequential six-speed 'box, composite and carbon fibre bodywork and trick aero - but it's finishing tinsel nonetheless for the increasingly large motorsport cake beneath.
McLaren's broader aim is to better entwine its road and track business. This ought to be an obvious and complimentary pairing considering Woking's colossal race pedigree - but in actual fact the automotive business has been relatively isolated from the firm's circuit-based products.
To change that, McLaren has appointed a network of 'specialist motorsport retailers' whose job it will be to sell track and road cars alongside each other. These dealers have been selected from the existing international franchise network, the first being McLaren Glasgow - the brand's retailer of the year.
These sites will offer support and service for customers wishing to enter the world of motorsport. "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," explained CEO, Mike Flewitt.
Incorporated into the more expansive plan is the launch of a single-make race series called Pure McLaren-GT. This will launch in 2018, and is considered by Woking to be a natural extension of the Pure McLaren customer track days already in existence. Owners of an International D race licence (and, of course, a McLaren) will be offered the chance to take advantage of a full 'arrive and drive' package, where the cars will be maintained and run by the firm's own engineers and technicians.
This follows similar, long-running race series run by Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini and will initially feature the more familiar 570S GT4. Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps are already confirmed on the calendar. If that all sounds very profitable for McLaren, it is - but Woking intends to give back, too; simultaneously announcing its investment in four young racers as part of its newly formed Driver Development Programme. Which is both having your cake, and eating it.
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