Tuesday, December 16, 2014

McLAREN GT SIGNS OFF THE 650S GT3 DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME WITH A PODIUM FINISH AT 2014 GULF 12 HOUR

Dec 15, 2014


The 650S GT3 secured a hard-fought podium finish at the 2014 Gulf 12 Hour endurance race at Yas Marina Circuit over the weekend, signing off a successful and competitive year for McLaren GT. The works factory-run effort entered two cars as part of the final stages of the intensive development programme for the 650S GT3, bringing both cars home after a gruelling 12 hours of hard racing, finishing 3rd and 12th overall. This first competitive outing underlines the performance and reliability of the latest GT model from McLaren ahead of a wider racing schedule in 2015.

The works driver line-up of Rob Bell (GB), Kevin Estre (FR) and Alvaro Parente (PT) showed a glimpse of the 650S GT3’s potential during the three phase qualifying session, securing pole position against a highly competitive and experienced grid. This result echoed the success of the 12C GT3, which scored a pole position on its debut at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in 2011.

Split in to two separate six hour endurance races, the Gulf 12 Hour is a true test of endurance for each car, driver and team taking part. The McLaren GT works driver line-up of #59 traded the top three places throughout the duration of both six hours events, with each of the works drivers among the quickest during each stint. As the chequered flag fell after six hours, #59 lay in 3rd while #60 was 9th in the Pro-Am class, 18th overall.


Having battled for 2nd place during the middle period of the race, Bell regained the lead going into the final two hours, to set up a grandstand finish. The closing stages saw Estre retake the lead after being consistently the quickest man on the track. As he pitted, the top three were separated by less than a minute and, as Parente strapped himself in, the only safety car period of the race ensured that the final 30 minutes would be nail-biting for each team. With the clock ticking down, the Portuguese driver chased down the leaders, making his way past back markers who were involved in their own battles lower down the field, and brought the #59 home after 315 laps, just 5.741s behind the race winner.

Pro-Am trio of Peter Kox (NL), Nico Pronk (NL) and Gilles Vannelet (FR) showed consistently strong pace throughout both races in the silver, red and black #60, working their way back up the standings after a routine pitstop saw the car rolled into the garage for precautionary checks during the opening race. Despite losing ground to the other cars in the Pro-Am class, the car then ran faultlessly for all three drivers, recovering well to claim 9th in class, and P12 overall.


Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive

‘A pole position and podium finish is a great end to the 2014 season, and really strong way to start the competitive life of the 650S GT3. As with the 650S road car, the focus during the development programme for the 650S GT3 has been improving all areas of driver engagement and refinement, with the true performance accessible to a wider range of abilities for drivers at any level on the grid. This result is true testament to the team, both at the race and back here in Woking, with the cars proving reliable and competitive in both the Pro and Pro-Am categories.’

Andrew Kirkaldy, Managing Director, McLaren GT:

‘What a fantastic race! Both cars were on the pace, and competitive in class, and it really went down to the wire. There were close battles all the way through the field, and the last few hours were some of the most exciting racing you could wish for. For us, this event was the final stage in a rigorous development plan designed to push the cars to the limit before deliveries to customers for the 2015 season, so it is a real credit to the teams that we brought both cars home with no issues. To secure a podium with the 650S GT3 on its debut is a huge bonus for us.

‘We would like to thank the race organisers for welcoming us to the event, and we will hopefully be back next year with some of our customer teams running.’

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

McLAREN GT CONFIRMS WORKS DRIVER LINE-UP FOR TWO CAR ENTRY AT THE 2014 GULF 12 HOUR


McLaren GT has confirmed it will enter two examples of the 650S GT3 at the 2014 Gulf 12 Hour as the final stage of the development programme, ahead of customer deliveries for the 2015 season. The experienced driver line-up will see Rob Bell, Kevin Estre and Alvaro Parente in a full McLaren GT works entry, running alongside a Pro-Am customer partnership also managed by McLaren GT.

The development programme for the 650S GT3 has been run in parallel with the competitive running of 12C GT3s throughout 2014, benefiting from live track data from customer teams racing across the globe. This information, in conjunction with the extensive testing programme throughout Europe, has enabled the team to run an intensive schedule with constant improvements being made at every stage. The final activity will see the two 650S GT3s face the toughest test to date, battling against a highly competitive grid on the famous Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi.

As McLaren GT works drivers, Bell, Estre and Parente have been heavily involved with the development of the 650S GT3, and all three have competed at the highest level at the wheel of the 12C GT3. This season, Bell finished third in the Asian GT series while also claiming a hat-trick of podium finishes with the 650S Sprint on its debut at Donington Park. Estre, in his first full year racing with McLaren GT, showed strong pace in each championship he contested, claiming back-to-back podiums in the Blancpain Endurance Series, and a dominant pole position at the highlight of the German VLN endurance series, to set the fastest lap in the history of the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Parente also secured further silverware with the 12C GT3 with victory at the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza, followed by a hard-fought second place in Paul Ricard.

The 650S GT3 of Bell, Estre and Parente will wear the orange, white and black livery which debuted at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this summer, and will run the iconic #59, made famous by the McLaren F1 GTR at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. The activity marks the first McLaren GT works entry since the 12C GT3 completed a similar test at the 2011 Total 24 Hours of Spa ahead of the competitive debut in the 2012 season. The second 650S GT3 will be driven by Pro-Am pairing of Peter Kox and Nico Pronk, in a livery of silver and white with striking red detailing.

McLaren 650S GT3 – Car 59
Rob Bell (GB)
Kevin Estre (FR)
Alvaro Parente (PT)

McLaren 650S GT3 – Car 60
Peter Kox (NL)
Nico Pronk (NL)

Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GT Managing Director, commented: “The 650S GT3 has undergone extensive development testing, and the decision to enter the Gulf 12 Hour has been taken to push it to the next level. Any endurance race is a true test of any car, team and driver, and they identify any issues or weaknesses very clearly.

“It will be a real challenge, and the grid is amongst the strongest the race has ever had, but we have two strong line-ups. Our three works drivers of Rob [Bell], Kevin [Estre] and Alvaro [Parente] have tested the 650S GT3 over thousands of kilometres, and each raced successfully in the 12C GT3 this season. They are best-placed to push the 650S GT3 to its limits, and the race environment will ensure the development programme is fully completed ahead of customer team deliveries for the 2015 season.”

McLAREN SPECIAL OPERATIONS INTRODUCES DEFINED RANGE OF OPTIONS.

  • Five tiers identify the levels of bespoke work available to from MSO as the company embraces an unprecedented period of growth
  • Differing levels of personalisation offer complete tailoring of any McLaren model through MSO Bespoke, MSO Heritage, MSO Limited and MSO Programmes
  • New Defined range to include a line of series options available on all new McLaren models


McLaren Special Operations (MSO) has announced a range of available series options for the McLaren 650S, and Asia-only 625C, under the newly established ‘MSO Defined’ division. This forms the first of five tiers of personalisation and support offered by MSO, catering for the needs of all McLaren customers, and joins MSO Bespoke, specialising in one-off models; MSO Limited, producing limited-edition series production cars; MSO Heritage, focused on the maintenance and storage of historic cars; and MSO Programmes which includes the McLaren P1™ GTR.

“There is a strong desire for drivers to personalise their cars and I’m convinced that the introduction of MSO Defined line will prove popular amongst our customers,” explains Paul Mackenzie, Executive Director of McLaren Special Operations. “Every McLaren is unique but now, with more choice than ever before, we are enabling our customers to truly express themselves through their vehicles.”

MSO DEFINED

The MSO Defined category of personalisation includes an aerodynamic kit, designed to enhance the purposeful design of the groundbreaking McLaren 650S, to subtle carbon fibre interior upgrades. The exterior styling can be modified with an addition of a carbon fibre rear diffuser and extended side door blades that premiered on the limited-edition MSO 650S earlier in the year.

Weight-saving options in the form of a full carbon fibre rear deck and mirror arms are also available, while new interior options include extended carbon fibre shift paddles and a redesigned instrument cluster with Formula 1™ inspired shift lights mounted on the instrument cluster that have been created in response to a popular demand from track day enthusiasts.

MSO BESPOKE

MSO Bespoke provides an almost limitless level of customisation to McLaren owners, including unique paint, leather and stitching colours, stand-alone upholstery and body changes to create truly bespoke vehicles.

Since launching the 650S earlier this year, 20 percent of vehicles produced at the McLaren Production Centre have included a degree of MSO Bespoke content. This number rises to approximately 95 percent for the McLaren P1™, with each one of the 375 examples being unique to its owner in some way.

The division was also responsible for the McLaren X-1, a one-off car that had to be specially designed and engineered, including on-road testing and homologation.

MSO LIMITED

The limited-run and special edition examples of the 650S and 12C produced by MSO are designed, developed and produced under ‘MSO Limited’. Models produced include the McLaren 50 12C and 12C Spider, built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the McLaren brand in 2013 and, more recently, the MSO 650S, which debuted at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

MSO HERITAGE

McLaren Special Operations, as it is known today, was launched at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2011. However, a division was first set up as the McLaren Customer Care Programme in the 1990s to service, maintain and personalise the McLaren F1 for owners. This service continues at McLaren, and is now managed by the MSO Heritage team, offering an unrivalled level of knowledge and expertise on the McLaren F1, and also working with Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren models

MSO PROGRAMMES

Finally, the recently-launched MSO Programmes division encompasses the upcoming McLaren P1™ GTR Driver Programme. Each car will be built, maintained and prepared by MSO in advance of the exclusive track days held at the world’s most iconic Formula 1™ circuits.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

McLAREN CONFIRMS MUCH ANTICIPATED SPORTS SERIES WITH GAME-CHANGING LAUNCH CAMPAIGN


  • McLaren Sports Series to make global premiere in 2015
  • Third model in the range will be a pure McLaren
  • View the Sports Series launch film at http://youtu.be/0ff_kV1wqYE
  • Follow the campaign at cars.mclaren.com and join the conversation – #BlackSwanMoments
Scheduled to premiere on the world stage in the second quarter of 2015, McLaren has now confirmed that its latest model, previously referred to only by its internal codename ‘P13’, will be known as the McLaren Sports Series. It will join the range below the 650S, bringing McLaren credentials and exclusivity to the sportscar segment for the first time.

The launch campaign will plot the history over 13 chapters of true game-changing – Black Swan – moments from around the world and within McLaren’s. Over the course of the coming weeks, McLaren Automotive will be using the hashtag #BlackSwanMoments to tell stories that have truly changed and challenged people’s beliefs.

The McLaren Sports Series will be a pure McLaren, building on the credentials of the McLaren P1™ and 650S, bringing Formula 1™ technologies and know-how to a new segment for the brand. It will feature a carbon fibre chassis and mid-mounted V8 engine.

Follow the McLaren Sports Series campaign over the coming months at cars.mclaren.com, and join the conversation on social media – #BlackSwanMoments.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

FIRST LOOK AT THE TRACK-FOCUSED McLAREN P1™ GTR INTERIOR AS BESPOKE DRIVER PROGRAMME CONFIRMED

  • Stripped out driver-focused interior includes Formula 1™-inspired championship-winning MP4-23 steering wheel
  • Testing programme continues in the extreme temperatures of Bahrain to extract the optimum performance from each component, including the driver
  • Further details of the bespoke McLaren P1™ GTR driver programme confirmed: http://youtu.be/hSpKYDNkAsk


The McLaren P1™ GTR will offer an on- and off-track driving experience like no other, with unique access to the technologies and expertise within the McLaren Technology Centre, and the most powerful track-only model ever produced by McLaren Automotive. Dynamic testing is well underway at a range of international race circuits, and the first uncamouflged images show the latest aerodynamic and cooling updates being trialled. In addition, the driver-focused cockpit is shown to be even more purposeful than the road-going model, and has been designed with driver engagement and weight saving key priorities, but no compromise in terms of comfort and safety.

The individually-tailored McLaren P1™ GTR driver programme will offer each driver a unique insight into the world of McLaren. Details of the programme, which has previously been experienced by race winners and world champions, are explained on the official McLaren Automotive YouTube channel: http://youtu.be/hSpKYDNkAsk.

The first images of the interior show how the driving environment of the McLaren P1™ GTR has been designed to be as focused for the driver as possible, and is stripped of all but the essential items in a bid to keep weight to a minimum. The lightweight carbon fibre MonoCage chassis is carried over from the road car, and weighs just 90kg including the upper and lower structures (including roof), roof snorkel, engine air intake cavity, battery and power electronics housing. This, in common with the road car, meets FIA load requirements for rollover in GT racing category. Since the ‘rollcage’ is incorporated into the MonoCage, there is no reduction in headroom for the driver.


The centre piece of the driver’s environment is the newly developed steering wheel, which has been designed to make all controls as easily accessible and user-friendly as possible. As with various elements throughout the car, there is significant heritage linked to the steering wheel. Although unique to the McLaren P1™ GTR, the design is based on the steering wheel of the 2008 Formula 1™ championship-winning MP4-23.

As on a Formula 1™ car, key controls including the mode switches are located to the centre of the bespoke steering wheel. This allows the driver to fully adjust the setup and characteristics of the car without having to take their hands from the wheel. The DRS and IPAS buttons are retained on the steering wheel. In the design and implementation of this new set up, all controls can be comfortably operated, and are easily accessible, when in a full race suit, helmet and gloves.

The cabin is equipped with lightweight DTM-style seats and full six-point motorsport harnesses. This will be specifically set up for the individual driver, and mounted directly to the chassis, reducing weight by having no additional mounting brackets. The HANS-approved carbon fibre seat shell offers comfort and support, and has been ergonomically-designed along with the rest of the cabin controls. Despite the stripped out environment, the air-conditioning is retained to maintain comfort during the much more physical driving experience.


The dedicated test team of engineers, technicians and development drivers continues to progress the programme, and has recently completed a successful test in the extreme desert heat at the Bahrain International Circuit. The programme was designed to push the capabilities of the upgraded IPAS powertrain, ensure optimised balance and handling characteristics on the race-proven Pirelli slick tyres, and work through aerodynamic developments including the dramatic fixed-height rear wing which includes the Formula 1™-style Drag Reduction System (DRS).


The rigorous testing schedule was carried out with the latest development prototype, and is seen dynamically for the first time, finished in a combination of Carbon Black paintwork and bare carbon fibre bodywork.

All tests were completed with results meeting or, in many cases exceeding, the stringent targets set. The McLaren P1™ GTR development continues its rapid progress, with further mileage scheduled over the winter throughout Europe.


McLaren P1™ GTR Driver Programme

‘With the McLaren P1™ GTR driver programme, we have aimed to do something different, very much like the way we operate the rest of the business. We don’t follow the trends. Our road cars are different to our competitors, so too will be our driving programme,’ Chris Goodwin, Chief Test Driver for McLaren Automotive.

The McLaren P1™ GTR will be like no other model ever produced by McLaren Automotive. It is therefore fitting that the McLaren P1™ GTR driver programme will be different to anything offered previously. Drivers will become a member of the world’s most exclusive McLaren ownership programme, and gain a unique insight into the steps McLaren drivers take after signing for the team. With access to the world within the McLaren Technology Centre, each driver will have an unparalleled, and completely unique, experience. As race winners and world champions have before them, each driver will embark on a bespoke driver programme designed to hone and optimise driving skills, and learn how to get the best of themselves and the car.


A dedicated track preparation programme, tailored to suit each individual driver, will start at the McLaren Technology Centre and drivers will have access to go behind previously off-limits areas. Paul Mackenzie, McLaren P1™ GTR Programme Director explains: ‘The programme is about enabling our drivers to get the most out of the McLaren P1™ GTR. Before they get out on track, each driver will join us at the MTC and have unprecedented access to the cutting edge facilities, including the racing simulator. This will enable drivers to build up a greater understanding of the car’s capabilities and true performance, as well as learning the braking and turn-in points before they arrive at the circuit. It also allows them to analyse and discuss their performance ahead of testing themselves in the real world situation, so they are fully prepared when they take to the track.


‘It is a programme that has been developed over the years for our Formula 1™ and our young drivers. It’s not just about fitness, but also about mental preparation, and looks at the full wellbeing of the driver, and prepares them mentally and physically for the activities they will experience on track.’

The events themselves will take place at some of the most iconic racing Formula 1™ circuits across the world, and drivers will take part in six events during the first year of the programme. At each event, drivers will have a dedicated race team responsible for running the car. This will include a personal driver coach and head engineer, who will work through telemetry and video analysis to hone skills, and optimise laptimes. This one-to-one tuition will be bespoke to each driver, and will be tailored to suit each driver’s invidiual skill set and driving ability.