The GT3 spec racing version of the McLaren MP4-12c has completed its first test runs at both the MIRA proving ground at Silverstone circuit.

The runs marked the first public appearance of the car developed by McLaren Automotive and CRS Racing, after testing on simulators.

“We have an extensive list of subjective and objective development targets set for the MP4-12C GT3,” said Project Manager Andrew Kirkaldy, who shared the initial test driver with Chris Goodwin, McLaren Automotive's Chief Test Driver. “In the first tests, the car is achieving excellent results in many areas including handling, powertrain and other aspects of dynamic performance.”

“The 12C's carbon chassis and aerodynamic efficiency mean we started with a lightweight, dynamically-optimised sports car. Those characteristics are fundamental to any race car. The car is around 100mm wider than the standard production car and features a new suspension system which we have tested in the McLaren Simulator. Having now experienced this new set-up in the 12C GT3 car, I'm delighted with the progress we are making.”

The GT3 car shares the MonoCell chassis and 3.8 litre twin turbo V8 engine of the road version of the 12c. However, the racer includes several bespoke parts, including brake calipers produced by Akebono, the same company that supply McLaren's Formula One team and a new gearbox. McLaren Electronic Systems – part of the McLaren group of companies – has designed a new wiring system for the car and McLaren Racing have developed an extensive aerodynamic package for the car featuring a front splitter, rear wing, diffuser and louvres for the front bodywork.

Further tests are planned during March and April at tracks around Europe with Portuguese Alvaro Parente added to the test team, only after these tests are completed will details of full driver line-ups and racing outings be confirmed.

“It is a great honour to be selected to drive with the McLaren GT team. Since receiving an invitation to join the team by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, I have been made to feel like an important part of the team and I hope to give valuable feedback in developing the car. I have always dreamt of racing a McLaren!”