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New McLaren MP4-12C 'HS' spotted

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A McLaren
MP4-12C evolution? Sort of. Pics of this visually tweaked 12C have been doing
the rounds for the last 24 hours, and although it’s not all some have claimed
it to be, it is proof that McLaren’s road car biz has the same soul as the race
team. Constant evolution is the name of the game. There is a lot more to come
from the 12C, our 2011 Top Gear GT of
the year
.

The facts
are these: this new car, badged HS for ‘High Sport’ (surely ‘EF-even faster’
would have been more appropriate) is one of five commissioned by a commercial
partner of McLaren Automotive. Four of the cars are/will be sold by the Miami
dealer, one in Marbella. And contrary to reports, Ron Dennis is not getting
 one.

The
development is only visual, but ‘more than cosmetic’, hence the new-look nose
and tail. McLaren are not saying there are no mechanical tweaks, but
speculation that it’s a street version of the MP4-12C GT3 are way wide of the
mark. The five cars were built to order by McLaren’s Special Vehicles
Operations. These guys have been around since the days of the McLaren F1, and
were also responsible for the special Mercedes-McLaren SLR derivatives the like
722 cars and the bonkers-but-beautiful ‘Moss’ edition.

Where is
really gets exciting is when McLaren makes its clear the Spesh Ops team will do
“anything” to an MP4-12C for customers willing to pay. Our conversation with
McLaren’s spokesbloke went like this: “You mean like Ferrari specials
division?” “Oh yes. And more. Unlike most Ferraris the structure of the 12C is
all in the monocoque. You can do what you want – inside the law – with the
exterior panels…”

Spesh Ops
are already working on “two or three” other projects, so it’s going to be a
busy year for McLaren Automotive and the MP4-12C. No less than 12 of the GT3
racers are set to see action in various sports cars series globally, and as
anyone who saw the car in action at the Autosports International show in Birmingham
last week will attest, that’s good news.

There
will also be a Spider version of the 12C later in the year. It’s already been
spotted testing its new folding hard-top which - due the deal Ferrari did with
roofers Webasto – uses exactly the same system as the 12C’s nemesis: the
Ferrari 458.

And then *pauses for breath* there will also be a
road-going, totally hardcore version of the GT3. That might look a little bit
like the car you see here, but will be very much faster.

There is
no truth to the rumour McLaren will dub it the ‘FHS’.

Here’s a video the enterprising Jodito20 took on a visit to
the Miami dealership and posted to youtube:

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