McLaren Automotive will be making two Australian debuts this weekend during the opening round of the 2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli. Klark Quinn, reigning champion will make the national series debut of gorgeous Darrell Lea McLaren MP4-12C, nevertheless he and the #1 McLaren will not be alone. Joining the new Bathurst lap-record holder in the pits, will be the British automaker’s new stable-mate, the recently released McLaren 650S, a vehicle which was revealed just three weeks ago at the Geneva Auto Show.
The new 650S joins the McLaren model range alongside the 12C – which will be campaigned in GT3 form by Klark Quinn this weekend and the highly acclaimed McLaren P1. The 650S designation is a reflection of the power the car achieves – 641bhp (650PS) from its distinctive McLaren M838T twin turbocharged 3.8 liter V8 engine. The ‘S’ understandably is the designation for ‘Sport’, emphasizing the developments and focus made to transmission, handling, engagement and drivability. Typically of McLaren, the performance is best-in class for both the Spider and Coupé models: 0-100 km/h acceleration takes only 3.0 seconds; 0-200 km/h takes just 8.4 seconds for the Coupé and its maximum speed is 333 km/h.
The Coupé will make its first public appearance at Sandown Park Raceway in Melbourne’s south-east at the opening round of the Australian GT Championship, where Quinn will be doing his level best to achieve a trifecta of championship victories. The Queenslander joined Andrew Kirkaldy of McLaren, V8 Supercar sensation Shane Van Gisbergen and his father Tony behind the wheel for a 4th placed finish and a new outright lap record at Mount Panorama early February, stunning the opposition with the pace of the British-built supercar. Quinn said a number of people were writing us off before the race because the McLaren was considered a ‘sprint’ racer, not so much an endurance machine.
“For a car, which is supposedly not much more than a sprinter, we certainly surprised a lot of people when we challenged for the race lead over the final laps and stole the lap record chasing down the leaders. In the end we only missed a podium by a couple of car lengths, and we weren’t that much further behind the winning team. “I’m really looking forward to Sandown and to seeing how the car performs. It’s going to be a tough year with some seriously good competitors joining the championship, but I think we’ll be pretty right, Bathurst was proof of that.”
For Jay McCormack, Operations Manager at McLaren Automotive Australia, the introduction of 650S at Sandown alongside 12C racecar brings together the very essence of what the company cLaren stands for. “Racing is in McLaren’s blood, so it was only natural for us to bring the new 650S to celebrate Klark’s Australian GT Championship launch. It also puts us directly in touch with people who appreciate and drive cars like 650S. Pirelli are McLaren’s a technology partner, and they work very closely with our engineers to make sure the driver achieves the optimum in performance from their car.
The McLaren 650S comes standard with Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres – 305/30 R20 at the rear and 235/35 R19 at the front. As with 12C Spider and 12C, the development work undertaken has led to a brand new evolution of P Zero Corsa tyre, called ‘MC1’, specifically designed to match the characteristics of 650S. For those wanting a view of this striking new release, make sure you get yourself down to Sandown this weekend (29th-30th April) and drop into the GT pits for a closer look at one of the most technologically advanced supercars in the world.