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By Ketan Patel

Mclaren 12C Can Am Edition Racing Concept Review

McLaren is planning on unveiling their latest creation that comes from McLaren GT, their new race car division. The McLaren 12C Can Am Edition Racing Concept is to be unveiled at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance held this Sunday August 19. Interestingly enough, this is the first time McLaren has unveiled a racing variant outside of Europe.

First things first, let's take a look at what beats under the new concept's bonnet. The Can Am is motivated by the same 3.8 liter twin-turbo V8 that can be found in the road-legalMP4-12C but unlike the latter, the engine in the concept is able to develop 630 horsepower instead of the regular 617. Furthermore the racing concept is also 221 lbs. lighter than the road-going 12C, resulting in sharper handling and even sportier characteristics.

In terms of design the racing concept differentiates itself from its tamed sibling by quite a lot. From the new paint and livery to the new body kit, you can spot the differences between the two versions a mile away. The Concept comes with a bright Orange paint thatMcLaren claims is a tribute to the cars of Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren. The Orange paint contrasts with the satin black paint job on the car's doors, bumpers and roof. Carbon fiber elements also stick out and further accentuate the sportiness of the concept.

In terms of aerodynamics the new race car comes with a pretty large rear wing, a very large front splitter at the front, a new diffuser at the back and various other air intakes carved in the body. The results are pretty astonishing and all these design changes increase the downforce by 30% when compared to the road-going model.

On the interior, the Can Am has been fitted with a new steering wheel that has been inspired by the MP4-24 Formula 1 car driven by Lewis Hamilton, a rollcage and two racing seats featuring six-point harness. Despite the fact that the interior looks pretty much like any other racing car, the air conditioning system is not missing. The reason behind this is that many competitions, especially the ones like Le Mans have changed their regulations and air conditioning is now mandatory in order to keep the driver cool.

In case you're a car enthusiast, you don't have anything planned for the weekend and you reside near Pebble Beach California then consider attending the Concours d’Elegance. Tickets are $200 in advance or $250 if you'll buy them on Sunday.

Hide Official Press Release

  • Track-only design concept weighs 1,200kg (2645.5lbs) and features unique aerodynamic package with a 30 per cent increase in downforce
  • More powerful 12C with increased engine performance of up to 630hp
  • Debut showing of a 12C racing concept variant designed for the North American market 

McLaren GT, the new race car manufacturing arm of the McLaren Group, is presenting a dramatic track-focused concept at the Pebble Beach Concours, the 12C Can-Am Edition. The one-off design study is finished in historic McLaren Orange and satin black.

The 12C Can-Am Edition is finished in striking shade of McLaren Orange, in tribute to cars of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme which were extremely successful throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The bold hue is in dramatic contrast to the roof, door and bumper sections, finished in satin black, while carbon fibre also features on the side radiator vanes, wing mirrors and engine cover. The McLaren badges on the front and rear are also finished in carbon fibre. Beneath the surface, the 12C Can-Am Edition shares the same carbon fibre MonoCell chassis as the 12C road car.

Being purely a concept at this stage, and designed as the ‘ultimate track car’, the 12C Can-Am Edition is not subject to the regular racing regulations, despite being based on the 12C GT3 race car. The revised version of the familiar 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine features a unique engine calibration and optimised cooling system, which allows a power output of up to 630hp, making it the most powerful 12C derivative ever shown. The overall dry weight is just 1,200kg (2645.5lbs).

The unique aerodynamics of the 12C Can-Am Edition, as with the 12C GT3 race car, have been honed by McLaren Racing using Formula 1 technology and simulation to optimise downforce. This unique package offers an increase in downforce of 30 per cent.

The optimised aerodynamic package includes a carbon fibre front splitter, carbon fibre dive planes, and a carbon fibre wing which dominates the rear of the car. The wing is held in place by polished aluminium mounts. An imposing carbon fibre diffuser helps to further maximise the aerodynamic package, fitted beneath the two-tone rear bumper.

The extra power output of the 12C Can-Am Edition is kept in check with a braking system developed by Akebono. The highly efficient braking system sits behind a set of black satin-finished forged lightweight racing alloy wheels, shod with Pirelli racing slick tyres which complete the exterior revisions.

Inside the cockpit, the 12C Can-Am Edition is race ready as well.  Two black race seats, complete with full six-point harnesses are mounted within the cabin, while a full race-specification rollcage has also been fitted. The steering wheel is carried over from the 12C GT3, with the shape and grip derived from that of Lewis Hamilton’s MP4-24 Formula 1 car, while carbon fibre detailing also continues throughout the cabin, across the dashboard and sill panels. An integrated air conditioning system, mandatory now in a growing number of race series, is also present.


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