McLaren GT will build 30 units of its Can-Am track-special, which pays tribute to the company’s founder Bruce McLaren and legendary racer Denny Hulme.
McLaren totally dominated Can-Am sports car racing in the late ’60s, with most of the team’s wins coming at the hands of team owner Bruce McLaren, ably supported by fellow Kiwis Chris Amon and Denny Hulme – who was also the 1967 Formula One World Champion.
McLaren died, aged just 32, when his Can-Am car crashed on Lavant Straight at Goodwood Circuit – so the Can-Am name holds a special significance to the company’s sports car racing efforts.
This car’s colour is also significant – Can-Am Orange is inspired by the colour which first appeared on the 1967 M6A race car and was later resurrected for the McLaren F1 LM – built to celebrate the company’s 1995 Le Mans victory. It’s also available as an option on the road-going 12C Coupe and Spider.
While the 12C GT Can-Am Edition might look similar to the 12C GT3 race car, it’s significantly different in two respects. Since it doesn’t need to comply with the racing regulations of the FIA’s GT3 class, it’s fitted with an unrestricted version of the familiar 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. With unique engine calibration and an optimised cooling system, this now produces 621bhp -the most powerful 12C produced to date.
The other difference is in the car’s aero package. The Can-Am Edition stands out from the GT3 car with its huge carbon fibre rear wing, and a package of fins and scoops which increase the total downforce by 30 per cent.
The 12C Can-Am Edition concept first appeared at Pebble Beach earlier this year, but while that was purely a one-off design study, the car seen pictured here is the fully working production version that customers can now buy for £375,000.
Production will begin in March 2013, although it’s unclear how many of these are likely to be raced – given their collectible value.
That seems such a shame, however if I was in the market for a McLaren race car I’d buy a 12C Can-Am Edition for use at private track gatherings and a 12C GT3 for racing at the weekends. You really can’t have too much of a good thing..