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McLaren MP4-12C Can-Am revealed
For those of a certain vintage, there was an era of motorsport in the 1960s and 1970s that was, frankly, bonkers. Utterly, completely, whole-heartedly and magnificently bonkers. In fact, Bonkers with a capital ‘B’.
It was called the ‘Canadian American Challenge Cup’, shortened to Can-Am, and this wild McLaren MP4-12C racer you’re not-so-secretly coveting above has been built in honour of that fantastic championship, set for a Pebble Beach debut later this week.
Why so fantastic? It was practically an unrestricted, no-holds barred motorsport series that pretty much allowed anything, so long as it passed a safety inspection. And the McLarens of its era were supremely dominant.
So this one-off concept has the weight of history already heaped onto broad shoulders. Good thing it’s sporting a unique aero package honed through Formula One technology that increases downforce by 30 per cent over its GT3 donor. There’s a carbon fibre front splitter, diffuser, dive planes and the obligatory and totally necessary massive carbon fibre rear wing.
Underneath, the familiar McLaren ‘Monocell’ that appears in your regular road-going MP4-12C is present, housing a tweaked 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 featuring unique calibration and an optimised cooling system. Power shoots up to 630bhp, comfortably giving it the crown of the most powerful 12C ever built. Couple that with a dry kerbweight of just 1,200kg, and you have the recipe for something airborne.
There are two racing seats with six-point harnesses inside, a race-spec rollcage - the benefits of which can be seen in this clip - while the steering wheel, carried over from the 12C GT3, is the same shape and grip as that of Hamilton’s MP4-24 F1 car. It’s even got air-con, for goodness sake.
Fittingly, the one-off concept is finished in orange and satin black, colours that McLaren founder Bruce McLaren used to race the Can-Am series in (to great effect too, he was a champion), before his untimely passing in 1970 at the hands of a Can-Am M8D racer. Click through the pictures and let us know here if you think it’s wild enough to deserve the ‘Can-Am’ moniker…