McLaren experienced the highs and lows of endurance racing this past weekend. Three MP4-12C GT3s raced in the Total 24 Hours of Spa July 30 and 31 with drivers witnessing impressive lap times and escaping injuries from a crash and small fire.
Phil Quaife, Adam Christodoulou, Glynn Geddie and Roger Wills from future McLaren customer team VonRyan Racing campaigned car 60 for the 24-hour endurance race. Christodoulou turned an impressive lap time of 2:23.214 on lap 256.
“The performance of the 12C GT3 and its drivers in car 60 was equally pleasing. Feedback from the team’s engineers and drivers indicates that the 12C GT3 is meeting its reliability and driveability targets,” said Chris Goodwin, McLaren GT executive and McLaren Automotive Chief Test Driver, in a press release.
Andrew Kirkaldy was cleared of serious injury after his number 59 car was forced into the wall at turn 1 by a competitor early in the race. The car was placed in Parc Ferme until McLaren GT team engineers can inspect it.
“I was obviously disappointed that one of our cars was forced out of the race so early. Our performance has been strong in development tests and our debut race at Spa in the British GT Championship showed the car is technically reliable,” said Andrew Kirkaldy in a press release. “I’ve had the opportunity to review the incident and the impact was clearly significant. If anything positive can be drawn, it’s that we are delighted to be using the 12C road car’s carbon ‘MonoCell’ chassis in our race car. It proved here that it is an incredibly robust safety cell for the driver. Just a few hours after the incident I was back at the circuit with the team.”
Car number 58 joined number 59 in Parc Ferme after Driver Tim Mullen experienced a thermal incident. Mullen, who walked away uninjured, indicated that the small fire was not related to any major mechanical component. Number 58 will be inspected once it returns to the UK after it is released from Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
“Tim and his car were very quick up to the point his car was retired,” Chris Goodwin. “One advantage of taking a season to develop a new race car through a combination of private tests and competitive races like Spa 24, is that we are able to review issues like this, and develop the car to prevent the same issues repeating. We remain committed to delivering a reliable race car with great performance to our customers next year.”
McLaren GT plans to enter the MP4-12C GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance races at Magny-Cours and Silverstone to continue development of the race car throughout the 2011 season. McLaren GT plans to deliver 20 new cars to private teams for 2012.