Report: McLaren Building Ferrari 458 Speciale Fighter?

2013 McLaren 12C

The Ferrari 458 Italia is one of the McLaren 12C supercar’s most direct rivals, and the introduction of the hardcore 458 Speciale has put McLaren on notice. A report from Autocar suggests that McLaren is working on an “enhanced” version of the 12C to better compete with Ferrari's sharpened 458 Speciale.

This modified, track-focused McLaren 12C would reportedly be built on the same carbon-fiber frame as the standard 12C, with special carbon-ceramic brakes, a significant weight loss, and various other performance-enhancing features. The McLaren 12C’s twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 engine would presumably be boosted to produce more power than the current car’s 616 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque. Like the Ferrari 458 Speciale, which has numerous aerodynamic tweaks that give it a slightly different appearance than the standard 458 Italia, the hotted-up McLaren 12C would apparently take styling cues and aerodynamic bits from the McLaren P1 hypercar.

We spotted a disguised McLaren 12C testing on the Nürburgring last year, and it’s possible that this car may have been the upgraded 12C that Autocar is referencing. At the time, reports suggested that McLaren could be boosting the 12C’s power output to around 650 horsepower, making for even more blistering speed than the current 12C’s 3.1-second 0-62 mph sprint and 207-mph top speed. This would trump the Ferrari 458 Speciale’s 596 hp, although the Ferrari gets from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds.

This possible McLaren 12C variant wouldn’t be the most hardcore version of the 12C, however, as McLaren produces a 12C GT Sprint model made only for the track with aerodynamic bodywork, a lower ride height, and Pirelli racing slicks. There is also a full racing version of the 12C called the GT3. Lessons learned from developing those track-only cars could help McLaren develop a faster road-going 12C.

Look for more news to come about a hotted-up McLaren 12C supercar.

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