McLaren engineers like to show off their prowess, which they were happy to display in their 12C model, including the 12C GT3 and the limited edition 12C GT Can-Am Edition. This weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed sees Mclaren GT roll out its track-only variant, the 12C GT Sprint. Boasting enhanced handling, aerodynamics and track focus, McLaren bills it as the bridge between the standard 12C and the all-out racing versions.
Developed by the race car building arm of the McLaren Group, the Sprint shares the approach of the Can-Am in accepting being tied to the track in exchange for taking the gloves off. The carbon fiber MonoCell Chassis has aluminum front and rear subframes, ProActive Chassis Control, Brake Steer and the McLaren Airbrake, which McLaren says lets the Sprint eat up the track while keeping the balance and characteristics of the road version.
The exterior has a refreshing tone of understatement that emphasizes the aerodynamics of the body, which has been lowered 40 mm, The aggressive front bumper blends in remarkably well, though the air ducts and rear spoiler are a bit alarming at first glance.
Under the GT3-inspired bonnet there’s a 3.8-liter twin turbo engine with a new oil system, and cooling system featuring a 12C GT3 developed central front radiator and a seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox from earlier 12Cs. Though information about acceleration and top speed are not available, we do know that it puts out a hair-raising 616 bhp (460 kW) and 443 ft lbs (600 Nm) of torque.
The Sprint has PCC suspension tuned and calibrated for the car’s track-hugging height and center-locking 19-in OZ wheels with Pirelli racing slick tires. There are track-focused carbon ceramic brake discs and drivers have damping, roll stiffness and ESP settings.
Not surprisingly, the interior is more weight-saving and functional than the street versions with roll cage and integrated fire extinguisher system. There's also a HANS-approved, lightweight composite racing seat with a full six-point harness well as an air-conditioning system, though McLaren admits that it was selected to be a bit on the light side.
The Sprint will be available this year in an initial batch of 20 with sobering sticker price of under £200,000 (US$300,000).