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McLaren's made a bargain 570S GT4 racer

Fancy a crack at racing? There's a GT4-spec McLaren coming for less than £160k

This is McLaren’s idea of an entry-level, My First Racing Car. The sort of machine that might be a feeder to having a crack in a 650S GT3, or a P1 GTR. Or maybe McLaren’s F1 car, if you’re extra handy…

Except, being a McLaren, entry-level still means the sort of performance usually reserved for pilots trying to depart the deck of an aircraft carrier. Meet the 570S GT4.

In the middle, there’s the familiar twin-turbo, 3.8-litre V8 from the 570S road car, while at the back, there’s a ruddy great carbon rear wing, balancing the extra downforce from the front’s new front splitter. The new bonnet nostrils are a cool (but functional) nod to the P1.

Now for the bad news, deep-pocketed, handy types. You can’t have one yet. For 2016, McLaren is running the car as a rolling development test bed in the British GT championship, partnering with the Ecurie Ecosse team who’ve campaigned a 650S GT3 over the past four seasons. It makes its race debut on April 16 at Brands Hatch.

In due course, private 570S GT4s will then be sold to customers looking to duke it out with Porsche’s Cayman GT4 Clubsport, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, plus the likes of Maserati and Lotus. Ought to be a good-looking, decent-sounding grid, that.

The price? It’s £159,900, which, according to Top Gear Maths, is a complete bargain, being little more than the 570S road car. It’s a carbon-tubbed, bi-turbo V8 racecar for less than a specced-up S-class.

In the meantime, McLaren is applying the ‘Sprint’ treatment to the 570S. Using the same template as the 12C and 650S Sprint, the 570S Sprint gets more aero, less weight, and no road legality whatsoever.

Mind you, it’s not hamstrung by FIA limits of power and downforce either, so it’s about as extreme as a 570S gets right now – until there’s a stripped-out LT street version. Just the job for the ample-walleted quickshoes who can’t wait until McLaren has finished setting up the proper racer, then.

Backing the whole project is McLaren’s new motorsport director, Ansar Ali. If the name rings a bell, it’s because Ansar was previously boss of Caterham, before leaving to set up rival outfit Zenos, creators of the E10 lightweight. Plenty of pedigree in lightweight British sports cars, in other words…

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