RACING START - 570S GT4
McLaren Abu Dhabi News.
Ahead of its debut race at Brands Hatch this weekend at the opening round of the 2016 British GT Championship, we join the new 570S GT4 at its first test as McLaren readies the Sports Series to go racing.
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The new McLaren 570S GT4, the first motorsport programme for the Sports Series, will take to the track this weekend at Brands Hatch for its debut race. Following the incredible success of the McLaren 650S GT3 in 2015 – which has continued its winning ways in 2016 with victory at the Bathurst 12 Hours and by claiming the GT title in the Asian Le Mans Series – the new track-only model is McLaren’s first foray into GT4 racing. Competing in the British GT Championship as part of an intensive season-long development programme, the 570S GT4 will be run by customer team Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse, and driven by the teenage pairing of Ciaran Haggerty and Sandy Mitchell.
Ahead of that first race, the McLaren 570S GT4 has started a simultaneous test programme that will continue alongside its endeavours in British GT throughout 2016 – and we joined the McLaren team for the first roll-out and running of the 570S GT4.
It’s the moment McLaren’s engineers and test drivers see, hear and feel their new creation come to life, and the point where they discover how closely the virtual theory and simulation match the physical reality of tyres on tarmac. Happily, as you would expect of McLaren, with over five decades of experience in the highest echelons of motorsport, the fresh-out-of-the-box 570S GT4 performs flawlessly throughout the day.
More test and development sessions have since been conducted ahead of this weekend’s debut race, and Haggerty and Mitchell – the latter of whom will become the youngest ever driver to compete in British GT when, aged just 16 years and 41 days, he lines up for the opening round of the season on April 17 – will be at the wheel of an enticing specification. The 570S GT4 shares the strong, light and stiff carbon fibre MonoCell II chassis architecture with the other models in the Sports Series, and also carried over is the 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine, and the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that transfers power to the track via the rear wheels.
Aerodynamic performance and cooling is optimised with an aerodynamic package that includes a rear wing and larger front splitter, while driver protection is enhanced with the addition of an FIA-approved roll cage and fire extinguisher system. New race-specification bodywork is built from carbon fibre and aluminium, wider tracks accommodate centre-locking lightweight wheels shod with slick Pirelli racing tyres, and two-way adjustable motorsport dampers with coil-over springs are fitted, along with an on-board air jacking system. It’s quite a race car.
Half the British GT grid will be made up of GT4 cars, so the competition will be fierce, but this intensity will only serve to hone the new McLaren 570S GT4 further, prior to further customer teams racing it globally from 2017.
However, while the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse-run 570S GT4 will be the only Sports Series racing in British GT in 2016, there will be another Sports Series on the grid – McLaren will be the official Safety Car partner of the SRO-run British GT Championship for the 2016 season. The partnership will see the McLaren 570S Coupé take a lead role in safety and management of the field of GT cars, which will include the 650S GT3 and the 570S GT4.
‘Motorsport is a key element to the make-up of McLaren – both in terms of our hugely successful history but also the extremely exciting future,’ explained Ansar Ali, Motorsport Director at McLaren Automotive. ‘This latest partnership with the British GT Championship underlines the common links between McLaren road-going and track-dedicated models. It also complements a strong McLaren presence on the grid, joining the 650S GT3, which has already proven itself as hugely competitive and successful on the world stage, and the 570S GT4, which is being put through its toughest test this season during its final development phase.’