For a company that produced a few homologation specials back in the 1990s and was known more for their collaboration with other manufacturers when it came to road cars, McLaren has come a long way. Their MP4-12C, which eventually became the 650S, showed that they could produce an all-rounder, comfortable everyday supercar. It was arguably as big of a step for supercars as when Honda released the NSX-a car that proved supercars could be daily driven.
But critics claimed that the 650S was perhaps a little too refined, too clinical, too good at being efficient. And so McLaren decided to produce their sports series line-up, which aimed at a slightly different demographic. In the same way that people do not regard Ferraris and Porsches as being in the same league, the McLaren’s super series and sports series are entirely distinct. The 570S was launched just last year with the aim of being a fun sports car, doing away with the bells and whistles of the 650S and focusing on driving pleasure- and it worked. This was followed by a softer version in the form of the 570GT, with more luxuries and less aggression for true grand tourer characteristics.
Next for the sport series range is a pair of track-only cars, developed in the same way as the 650S GT3 and the P1 GTR. First up is the 570S GT4, which McLaren has created to comply with FIA’s GT4 class rules. For 2016, the 570S GT4 will be going through a development process in the British GT Championship. It will be dialled in under the supervision of McLaren GT and CRS GT, wearing the colours of the Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse customer team and alongside a 650S GT3.
The car itself has been extensively upgraded from its standard 570S road car. The MonoCell II chassis remains as the backbone of the car, although unlike the P1 GTR this 570S GT4 requires an additional roll cage for safety. A fair amount of carbon fibre and aluminium is used to replace the exterior bodywork, as well as done to accommodate the wider track at either end of the car. Magnesium alloy wheels sit on each corner, wrapped in Pirelli racing rubber. Two-way adjustable motorsport coilovers replace the standard suspension, in addition to an air-jack system for easy pitlane work.
While the road-going 570S had less focus on aerodynamic grip, this racecar requires the full package for maximum downforce. A large GT wing hovers over the rear end of the car, matching the massive splitter up front. The engine and drivetrain are the same 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 and 7-speed dual clutch transmission as the road car, but an additional front radiator has been fitted to keep operating temperatures within reasonable levels. From the start of 2017 the 570S GT4 will be available for purchase at a hefty 159,900 GBP, and will be eligible for any GT4 homologation race.
With this news, McLaren has also announced another track-only car which they dub the 570S Sprint. It is said to be largely the same as the GT4, although with more liberties as it will not have to confirm to homologation rules. McLaren says that they will offer the option to upgrade a Sprint to a GT4 regulation specifications, but it is effectively positioned the same way as the 650S Sprint and the P1 GTR.