A street-legal car must conform to local/federal regulations, while a racecar must conform to a governing body's rules. McLaren's new car is called the MP4-12C Can-Am Edition concept, and it does neither of these.
To make a long story short, the MP4-12C doesn't conform to automotive regulations set by any of the major racing governing bodies--not even the Sports Car Club of America's rules, despite the Can-Am name. Add to that the fact that the MP4-12C's steering wheel is an F1-style controller with no airbag and the car sits atop Pirelli slick tires, and it's not street-legal, either.
But that isn't to say that the Can-Am Edition MP4-12C wouldn’t be a blast to drive for track day aficionados with money to blow. Based on the stellar MP4-12C road car, the Can-Am Edition adds a bunch of go-fast and stop-short items to the supercar to make it a track-day warrior.
Those updates obviously start with a power upgrade: the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine gets a re-flashed ECU, a heartier cooling system, and is now rated at 630 hp, 13 ponies more than the 2013 road car (which in turn has 25 more than the 2012 model). That power is sent to the rear wheels through the same seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as the road car. Those wheels, by the way, are now lightweight forged racing rims shod in Pirelli P Zero slick racing tires.
To make sure nothing gets too out of hand, McLaren added an Akebono-developed brake system at all four corners (replacing the stock steel units), and an aggressive aerodynamic kit. The Can-Am Edition MP4-12C now has a carbon fiber front splitter, carbon fiber dive planes, and a carbon fiber rear diffuser. It's finished off with an impressively large carbon fiber rear wing that sports the Can-Am Edition logo, and the whole package increases downforce by a healthy 30 percent.
While the car isn't necessarily up to spec for some race series, the Can-Am Edition MP4-12C does still have plenty of race-spec features on the inside. McLaren mounted two racing seats and a race-spec rollcage on the inside, as well as an air conditioner and a steering wheel made to look like the one F1 star Lewis Hamilton uses.
How much will all this cost? We'll say "a lot" and leave it at that: the Can-Am Edition is currently a one-off car with no definite future as a customer car, and therefore McLaren has no pricing or production timing. If McLaren does make this car for public consumption, expect it to cost a fair bit more than the stock $241,800 MP4-12C. In the meantime, this concept will make its formal debut at next week's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.