2016 McLaren 650S GT3 – Geneva Prelaunch + Photo Comparo Insights vs. 2015 Racecar

GT3 is the closest thing we have to an authentic battle-of-the-supercars — and demands a great amount of manufacturer attention.  The learnings on track with these cars are some of the quickest tech intros to road cars.  Advancements in aero and drivetrain behaviour on track actually translate directly to a street superstar — without just the lip service most race series pay to this tech transfer.

And best of all, it is a two-way street.  Better turbo and cooling settings on the road for the 675LT have fed directly into the updated 2016 racecar from McLaren GT.

McLaren below confirms the driver lineup and shares a dozen or so images of the updated racecar— but few tech specs as of now.

The car looks very, very similar to the previous 650S GT3 for 2014 and 2015, but has some interesting upgrades visible in the details. First things first: this 2016 GT3 car wears the latest signature McLaren color over much more of the bodywork than before. Where the old car had a dark central intake and hood leading edge, the new car is more pronounced in its body-color elements.

The whole look with this new monochrome effect helps reinforce the core McLaren design cues of this generation: the rounded squint of the lights/intakes up front, and the hourglass rear end out back.

The next clearly noticeable change? The side spats!  The new bumpers have double curved winglets extending far out from the rounded inner fenders.  A slight change to the hood and fender vents also indicates some change in airflow and downforce management. The side intakes appear a bit more extended for 2016, despite sharing the same key silhouette as the 2015 car.

Check out the 2016 650S GT3 beside its predecessor below, and check out the new drivers joining this lava orange racing phenom for the newyear race calendar.


2016 McLaren 650S GT3





  • 650S GT3 to star at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show among new models from McLaren following debut competitive season, scoring victories in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America
  • 2016 Factory Driver Plans Confirmed
  • Côme Ledogar, 24, confirmed as new Factory Driver for 2016
  • Driver Academy further strengthened with the addition of Colin Thompson, 21
  • Factory Driver line-up to compete in the UK, mainland Europe and North America


Woking, UK (February 4, 2016) – Following the most successful season for McLaren GT, with victories on each of the four continents it competed on, McLaren Automotive confirmed today that 650S GT3 will line up as part of an impressive display at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, alongside the three tier model range from McLaren Automotive for the first time. Plans for Factory Drivers Rob Bell and Alvaro Parente are also now finalized, along with confirmation of the signing of Côme Ledogar to the works line up. In addition, the recently-announced Driver Academy is further strengthened with Colin Thompson joining for the 2016 season.

Joining the Factory Driver line-up for the 2016 season is 24-year-old Côme Ledogar. The young Frenchman made the switch from single-seater racing at the end of 2011, and has since enjoyed success in GT racing including champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup France in 2014, and runner-up in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Italia last year. Among his plans for the season, it is confirmed that Ledogar will contest the Blancpain Endurance Series in a McLaren 650S GT3.

Alvaro Parente, 31, and Rob Bell, 36, will continue the relationship with McLaren GT having been part of the Factory Driver line up since 2012. The pairing has proved a formidable team with both claiming championship wins with the 650S GT3. Both drivers will join Tekno Autosports this weekend for the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

Having secured the International GT Open title in 2015, Parente is taking on a new challenge for the 2016 season as he joins customer team K-PAX Racing / Flying Lizard Motorsports as part of the assault on the Pirelli World Challenge which will see four examples of the 650S GT3 on the grid. The Portuguese driver will make his championship debut at the Circuit of the Americas in March for the first of the 20 races on the calendar. His valuable experience of European circuits will also be added to as he is confirmed for the Blancpain Sprint Series.

Having recently secured the Asian Le Mans Series title with customer team Clearwater Racing, Bell will now compete throughout Europe with the 650S GT3. He will take on the Blancpain Endurance Series and the Blancpain Sprint Series. Further plans for the season will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Colin Thompson, 21, is the fourth driver to join the McLaren GT Driver Academy alongside Alex Fontana, Struan Moore and Andrew Watson. The young American from Doylestown, Pennsylvania has made a strong impression over the past few seasons securing the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup title in 2014, followed by the Pirelli World Challenge Porsche Cup championship title last season. Thompson will join Parente as part of the K-PAX Racing / Flying Lizard Motorsports two car line-up in the Pirelli World Challenge.

“The 2016 season is shaping up to be one of the most exciting – and challenging – so far, with more cars racing in more championships across the world. It is great to have Alvaro and Rob confirmed again for the year as both bring a huge amount of experience in terms of GT racing, but also in terms of the 650S GT3 specifically, having both driven to titles in its first full year of competition,” said Andrew Kirkaldy, Managing Director, McLaren GT. “I am also really pleased to announce Côme as an addition to our Factory Driver line-up and Colin as the latest member of the Driver Academy. Côme really impressed us when he raced with one of our customer teams at Spa a few years ago and we have kept a close eye on his progress, while Colin joined us for a test at Paul Ricard in December and is very exciting to watch in a GT car. With the combination that our factory line-up offers, along with the talent in our Driver Academy, we are hoping for another good year.”

Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.

He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.

Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.

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