Sep 12, 2012
As 2008 Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton crossed the line in Monza to claim victory for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team, McLaren was actually celebrating its fourth victory of the weekend following success across Europe in GT championships. Three McLaren GT customer teams took wins in the UK, France and Spain, and recorded one of the most successful weekend’s racing for McLaren in its history.
The first result of the weekend was achieved by the French-based ART Grand Prix team, with a competitive showing at the Circuito de Navarra in Northern Spain. The driver pairing of Grégoire Demoustier and Ulric Amado secured pole position with the 12C GT3 in the FFSA French GT championship for the weekend’s Qualifying Race.
Despite being handed a 15 second penalty following the previous victory at Magny-Cours earlier in the season, the French duo went on to claim the first victory of the weekend.
Shortly after ART GP’s result, Lapidus Racing started the ultimate endurance challenge at the Spanish Circuit de Catalunya, for the 15th running of the 24H Barcelona. Starting from fifth on the grid the 12C GT3, driven by British racers Adam Christodoulou, Tim Mullen and Phil Quaife alongside team owner Klaas Hummel, made a strong start and built a commanding lead as night fell.
An unscheduled stop shortly after half-distance saw the German/Dutch team drop to third place but, once back out on track, the team quickly caught the leaders and regained the lead in the early hours of the morning. A string of consistent lap times helped rebuild a comfortable lead and as the clock reached the 24 hour mark, the striking orange and white liveried 12C GT3 crossed the line to take the title having completed a gruelling 640 laps, equalling a distance of nearly 3,000 kilometres.
With this victory, Lapidus Racing claimed the first win for McLaren in a 24 hour race since the McLaren F1 GTR took the title at Le Mans on its debut in 1995.
As the chequered flag fell in Barcelona, United Autosports and Apex Motorsport were in final preparations for Round Six of theAvon Tyres British GT Championship at Silverstone. The three hour event at Silverstone saw United Autosports fifth on the grid, while reigning British GT champions Apex Motorsport, making their 2012 championship debut with the 12C GT3, lined up 14th.
Both McLarens made progress away from the start, and quickly moved forward through the field. The father and son pairing of Jim and Glynn Geddie in the Apex Motorsport 12C GT3 showed extremely strong early pace and, shortly before the halfway mark, had moved into the lead. However, a stop-go penalty following the first mandatory pitstop saw the #1 car forced to relinquish this lead. Despite a late charge after rejoining the track, which saw the gap to the leaders reduced, they were unable to recover the lost ground, and crossed the line fifth.
As the black Apex Motorsport car served its penalty, Matt Bell and Charles Bateman in the Anglo-American United Autosports 12C GT3 took over the lead, and battled hard in the closing stages to defend position. As the race ended, the red-white-and-blue McLaren crossed the line with a comfortable margin to the chasing pack, closing the gap on the championship leaders, and completing the weekend’s triple victory for McLaren GT customer teams.
McLaren Automotive heritage:
McLaren Automotive has a 20 year heritage in producing landmark sports cars for the road: the McLaren F1 road car, which was launched in 1992, set the world land speed record for a production car, and is regarded as one of the iconic sports cars of the modern age. The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren (2003 – 2009) is the most successful supercar ever in its price bracket, having sold twice as many cars as its nearest carbon-based rival.
McLaren Automotive has now moved from these successful automotive projects to launching a new car company that will design, develop, and distribute a range of high performance, highly efficient and technologically innovative sports cars through a global network of highly respected premium car retailers in every major automotive market.
Around 4,000 sports cars will be built annually by the middle of the decade in the advanced new manufacturing facility, the McLaren Production Centre. McLaren Automotive’s debut model is the 12C. Drawing on the company’s long-standing Formula 1 experience in its concept and development, the 12C is lighter, faster, more powerful, more fuel efficient and more exclusive than its key competition. It supports its performance benchmarks by introducing a unique one-piece moulded carbon chassis into the ‘core’ sports car segment in a new production method that brings the performance of £500,000 cars to market at a third of the price. All future McLarens will continue the themes presented by the 12C: innovation, integration of Formula 1 technology, and ultimate performance.
In 2011 McLaren Automotive announced the launch of McLaren GT; a new race car manufacturer combining the expertise of McLaren Automotive, McLaren Racing, McLaren Electronic Systems, McLaren Applied Technologies and CRS Racing. McLaren GT is responsible for developing the first racing derivative of the 12C sports car, the MP4-12C GT3. Twenty-five examples of the MP4-12C GT3 are now racing with private teams in Europe in 2012.
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