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Regular TopGear.commers will remember the stir when McLaren lifted the lid on its mightily be-winged, track-only ‘Can-Am’ concept back at the Pebble Beach show in August.

Named in honour of the ‘Canadian American Challenge Cup’, it harked back to what was an virtually unrestricted, no-holds barred motorsport series that allowed almost anything to compete, so long as it passed a safety inspection. And the McLarens of its era – in the hands of Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme – were supremely dominant.

Well, that concept is a concept no longer. Ahead of the Grand Prix in Austin, Texas this weekend, McLaren added to the general bonhomie surrounding America’s first Grand Prix in a while by announcing it will build a limited run – no more than 30 – of what they bill as ‘the ultimate track car’ (although those in charge of Ferrari’s FXX programme might beg to differ).

The car is not homologated for the road, and there are apparently no current plans to introduce a one-make race series, so customers’ opportunities to drive the £375,000 car will be somewhat limited…

But when they do, they’ll benefit from an unrestricted version of McLaren’s 3.8 litre twin-turbo V8, rated at 630bhp – which makes it the most powerful 12C yet built. That massive carbonfibre rear wing is said to improve downforce by 30 per cent, and there’s also a liberal sprinkling of carbon fibre over the wing-mirrors, engine mounts, engine cover vents, radiator intakes, sill covers and badges.

As you’d expect, there are also lightweight forged alloy racing wheels, an FIA—approved rollcage, and the steering wheel carried over from the all-conquering GT3 race car (a wheel itself derived from this year’s McLaren F1 car).

The Can-Am will be built at the new home of McLaren GT in Woking, and all customers will get what is described as ‘bespoke support packages from McLaren GT’.  Production starts in March 2013.

So what say you dotcommers? You might not be able to drive it to the pub to show it off – or indeed anywhere that isn’t a track – but still want one? 


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