The beauty of basing your street car around a carbon tub is that when you come to turn it into a racing car, you have a massive advantage. That's what most people thought when McLaren quietly entered its new GT3 version of the 12C into selected events back in 2011.
The car was undoubtedly fast, but it was also temperamental - which is a polite way of saying it didn't tend to finish long distance races. This was something of a problem given that when GT3 cars aren't knocking expensive chunks of carbon off each other in Blancpain or one of the many international series the cars can be raced in, they usually run over much longer distances.
In 2012 the car had improved reliability, and again this year, but it still doesn't have the reputation of the great unstoppable tank that is the SLS AMG GT3. Or for that matter the Porsche GT3 R.
The great frustration is that the McLaren is surely the fastest car of the lot, were it not for the FIA restrictors and balance of performance rules. It has to lose over 120hp compared to the street car, and can't really take advantage of its reduced mass compared to the others. Still, over 40 cars have been delivered, and with a list price of £325,000, that's a fair amount of cash generated.
We drive the car at Snetterton - the first time I've tried the new track layout, and I have to say I rather preferred it as was! The sheer speed of these new-generation of GT3 racers needs to be felt to be believed. Not only that they look and feel like much more serious machines than before, in fact with its carbon tub and funky control panels and dash readout, this has much more the look and feel of a GT1 car, perhaps even a covered prototype.
Enjoy the vid. And yes, I'd love to spend more time in one of these and learn the brakes better. Maybe even do a 24hr race in one. All offers considered!