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Wire: BLOOMBERG News (BN) Date: May 4 2011 7:00:12
McLaren Offers $500,000 Race Model of Ferrari-Rivaling Supercar

By Steven Rothwell
May 4 (Bloomberg) -- McLaren Group unveiled a 310,000-pound
($500,000) track version of the 200-mile-per-hour MP4-12C
supercar in a bid to establish race credentials for its rival
to the Ferrari 458 and Lamborghini Gallardo.
The GT3 racer is priced at double the cost of the road car
and will make its competitive debut in an endurance event at the
Navarra circuit near Pamplona, Spain, on May 22, McLaren said
after presenting the model at its base in Woking, near London.
“We want to do things properly so that McLaren will be seen
as the gold standard in super sports cars,” Antony Sheriff,
managing director of McLaren Automotive, said today in an
interview. “We’re not trying to sell a few cars over a short
period; we’re building a brand and we’re here long term.”
McLaren, best-known as the most successful Formula One team
after Ferrari, said the new model will do most of its racing in
Europe’s FIA GT3 competition. The series currently features cars
from Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini and
Porsche, as well as the $500,000 gull-wing SLS supercar from
Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, new to the circuit this year.
About 20 McLaren GT3 variants will be delivered to customer
teams in Europe in 2012, and the car may also be entered in the
24 Hours of Spa endurance race and other events worldwide.
The MP4-12C road car, successor to the McLaren F1, the
world’s costliest auto in the 1990s and the fastest at 240 mph,
has racked up 1,700 orders even before being displayed at 35
global dealerships due to open this year, Sheriff said.
“It’s rising on a daily basis,” he said. “We have seen a
fairly linear increase since we opened for orders last summer.”

U.S. Boost

Concern that the car might struggle to win buyers in North
America, where Formula One has a lower profile than elsewhere in
the world, was misplaced, Sheriff said, adding that, “if
anything, demand in the U.S. has been even higher.”
The model will be available for viewing at McLaren’s
showroom in Hyde Park, London, next month. In the U.S., the No.
1 supercar market, it will go on show in August in Greenwich,
Connecticut, a town known for its concentration of hedge funds.
McLaren will initially have nine U.S. dealers in cities
including Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and New York.
The MP4-12C takes its name from the MP4 designation given
to all of McLaren’s race cars since 1981, the latest being the
MP4-26 driven by Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. The “C”
indicates the road car’s carbon construction and the “12” is a
reflection of “internal performance criteria” including weight,
aerodynamics, power and down force, Sheriff said.

For Related News and Information:
Formula One news: NI FORMULA1 <GO>
For Top Sports Stories: ISPO <GO>
Top Transport News: TRNT <GO>

--Editors: Chris Jasper, Chris Reiter.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Steven Rothwell in Woking, England, at +44-20-7673-2365 or
[email protected]
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