Always great to launch an updated racecar with a first-place finish in its debut!
That’s the story with the new 650S GT3, which just won the Bathhurst 12 Hour.
And not just won: the car destroyed its rivals. McLaren sums it up well… “650S GT3 claimed the clean sweep over the course of the weekend with pole position, fastest lap, overall race win and a new lap record.”
ONE PROBLEM: McLaren GT’s Over-processed Photos Are Awful
Is the McLaren GT team just shitting kittens and rainbows, unable to do anything wrong? Not exactly.
They have a new photographer and his pictures are bad. They look like old Sepia slides, with a blurry washout effect on every single one. It makes the race seem like it happened in 1899 instead of literally yesterday.
This is a great shame. We know there are unfiltered, un-ruined sunny photos under all this post-production crap. Would be nice to see that instead of this moody, expired-Kodak look to the 20 new photos.
Just my two cents, Mac. And not that I could do better. Race photography is the hardest to get right. Focus, angles, lighting and more make it extremely difficult to come home with anything publishable. Mine are usually just 200 photos wrongly focused onto the nearfield chainlink fence, and not the track in mid-field.
But this snapper has the skills. This photo wash is on purpose, and we hate it. Once yellowed and darkened and de-contrasted, the photos can’t really come back to their original state. This is as close as we can get: the before/after. Check out how yellow and nasty the white track edge line is in the original photo.
????? This has been their photo style for last year. Yuck.
Not a ‘clean’ sweep, then. =]
Action photos here are only cropped and resized — no color corrections (except the header graphic). They are angry, almost nauseatingly dark, and grainy low-contrast.
Cue the 1970s p0rno background music and check out the slideshow below. Pro tip? Try to suppress your gag reflex.
2016 McLaren 650S GT3 SWEEPS Bathhurst
McLAREN 650S GT3 SECURES HISTORIC CLEAN SWEEP ON LIQUI MOLY BATHURST 12 HOUR DEBUT
- Pole position in Pro and Pro-Am categories for the first 12 Hour GT endurance race of the year
- Victory and fastest lap for the 650S GT3 on its debut outing at Mount Panorama
- Official race lap record of 2m 01.567s set by Shane Van Gisbergen with Tekno Autosports
The 2016 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has been won by the McLaren 650S GT3 of customer team Tekno Autosports in one of the hardest fought battles in the history of the event. On its debut outing at the iconic Mount Panorama, the 650S GT3 claimed the clean sweep over the course of the weekend with pole position, fastest lap, overall race win and a new lap record. The trio of Alvaro Parente, Shane Van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb triumphed in the battle of strategies which saw five different manufacturers lead the race over the 12 hours.
A record-breaking qualifying session saw the four examples of the 650S GT3 qualify within the top six, with pole position in the Pro-Am class for customer team Objective Racing and overall pole position and a new lap record for Van Gisbergen and the Tekno Autosports team. Starting in the dark, the race set off at a quick pace with Van Gisbergen’s #59 650S GT3 retaining the lead and setting a strong pace in the opening stint. From here, the racing built on the excitement and expectations shown in the qualifying, and ensured the crowds were kept guessing right up until the chequered flag fell.
In clear air and with no traffic, Van Gisbergen opened up a strong lead in his opening stint, setting a new official course lap record of 2m 01.567s. The pitstop strategy saw the #59 650S GT3 maintain a top six position over the following few hours, with Factory Driver Parente and Tekno team owner Webb both ran consistently quick laps as the temperature increased. An electrical systems reset briefly brought the sprint to the flag to a halt on the start / finish straight, but the car was quickly back up and running with minimal time lost. The hard-charging second stint by Parente saw the Portuguese driver in the slipstream of the podium positions, and Webb maintained position before handing over to Van Gisbergen in P4 for the final stint. A well-calculated strategy call from the pitwall optimised the various Safety Car periods and a late drive through penalty, and the final call for fuel ensured that minimal time was lost and ensured the #59 lost the least amount of time, leapfrogging the leaders as they were forced to stop for fuel to ensure they would reach the finish. As the clock reached 12 hours, Van Gisbergen managed the gap to the chasing pack without taking any risks, crossing the line with a winning margin of 1.276 seconds.
All four of the 650S GT3s were in contention at various points, with the #60 car of Bell, Davison and Watson running P3 before the charge was brought to an unforced end after sustaining damage when one of the chasing pack misjudged an overtaking manoeuvre. The damage was quickly repaired by the Tekno Autosport pitcrew, and despite losing four laps to the leaders, the team managed to recover to finish P9 overall.
The two 650S GT3 Pro-Am entries both led the highly competitive class with Objective Racing pushing for the overall race lead with the #11 car as the sun rose over the mountain. Contact with the barrier brought an early end to the team’s race in but not before showing the true potential of a well set up car around the 6.213km circuit. The Darrell Lea / Keltic Racing #37 650S GT3 also proved itself to be a contender for the overall podium, running as high as second. With experience of the track and racing a McLaren at the Bathurst 12 Hour previously, the trio of father and son Tony and Klark Quinn alongside Craig Baird ran a clean race and bold strategy to build a four lap advantage in the Pro-Am class before an unforced error pushed the car off track and unable to rejoin.
The result, at one of the world’s toughest endurance events, marks the continued success for the 650S GT3 which has become a true contender at the highest levels of GT racing across the world.
Andrew Kirkaldy, Managing Director, McLaren GT
‘A hugely positive result for all our customer teams here, and a great result for McLaren. A huge congratulations has to go to the Tekno team and each of the drivers for achieving the clean sweep of pole, fastest lap and the race win. On top of that, the official race lap record and the distance record with 297 laps completed, so not a bad first outing for the 650S GT3 and for the first event with Tekno and McLaren GT working together.
It was a great performance by each of the four cars and the drivers involved, and there were points where it looked like each of them was in with a chance of winning the race. Luff [Objective Racing] and Quinn [Darrell Lea] were both leading the Pro-Am category when they were forced to retire, and the recovery and race pace of the second Tekno car was clear to see. On another day, who knows what could have happened.’
Jonathon Webb, Team Owner, Tekno Autosports
‘Winners of the Bathurst 12 Hour – that is something that will take a little while to sink in. It is a great result for McLaren and massive for Tekno, especially as it was our debut outing together. We faced some real challenges over the course of the weekend, but we pulled together and I am really proud of the guys who have worked faultlessly to achieve this result. Any endurance race is a true challenge, and it is not an easy race to win first time out – you just have to look at the quality of the competition and how close the racing was from the first to the last minute.’
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
McLAREN 650S GT3 HEADS TO THE GENEVA MOTOR SHOW
- 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.
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