McLaren concept honours Kiwi legends

Last updated 11:36 16/08/2012
McLaren 12C GT Can-Am Edition
The McLaren 12C GT Can-Am Edition.

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McLaren has honoured two Kiwi motorsport legends with the overnight unveiling of a dramatic track-focused concept car, the 12C Can-Am Edition.

The one-off design study vehicle, which will have its first public showing at this weekend's Pebble Beach Concours in the US, is finished in McLaren orange in tribute to the cars of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme.


Click photo at left to view all the photos of the McLaren's Can-Am tribute car.


McLaren, the company founder, and Hulme, the only New Zealander to win the Formula One title, were hugely successful in North America's Can-Am racing during the 1960s and 1970s. McLaren was killed in a crash when testing one of his Can-Am cars at the Goodwood Circuit in England in 1970. Hulme, who won the 1967 F1 title with Brabham and later raced for McLaren in F1, died of natural causes when competing in the 1992 Bathurst 1000.

The 12C Can-Am Edition has been produced by McLaren GT, the new race car manufacturing arm of the McLaren Group, and is specifically aimed at the North American market.

The car's bold orange 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. 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.

McLaren said, as it was purely a concept at this stage, and designed as the ''ultimate track car'', the 12C Can-Am Edition was not subject to the regular racing regulations, despite being based on the company's 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 was just 1200kg.

The unique aerodynamics of the 12C Can-Am Edition, as with the 12C GT3 race car, have been honed by McLaren Racing using Formula One technology and simulation to optimise downforce. McLaren claims 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 was held in place by polished aluminium mounts.

Also included was an imposing carbon fibre diffuser, which McLaren said helped to further maximise the aerodynamic package, fitted beneath the two-tone rear bumper.

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

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

- Stuff

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