It’s a very interesting time for motorsport’s collective ‘GT3’ racing divisions, as interest in the popular platform continues to grow. DTM makes its shift to GT3 machinery this year, GT-LM is set to be phased out in favour of GT3, and electrification in some capacity seems like an inevitability.
McLaren has been a core supporter of the formula, having had three generations of road car — the MP4-12C, 650S, and 720S — all be represented as GT3 racers in past and present. Now, the British firm has elected to show just how potent its current 720S GT3 is by unveiling the ‘GT3X’.
The model represents the potential of McLaren’s 720S GT3 platform by showing what it’s capable of if the FIA’s GT3 rule book were to be tossed out the window.
The bulk of the changes concern McLaren’s familiar 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Ordinarily the GT3 racer actually produces 200hp less from the same engine as its road-going counterpart thanks to a barrage of detuning.
For the GT3X, McLaren was able to return its full bevy of horses, 710hp (530kW) to be exact. There’s also an overboost function that temporarily hands drivers an additional 30hp, making for a 740hp (550kW) peak output figure.
To boost the power back to this point took a lot more than a bit of tuning on a laptop. McLaren fitted the GT3X with larger turbochargers, uprated manifolds, and a blueprinted cylinder head. Each handmade engine gets improved cooling as well, so that these changes don’t result in a smokey early return to pit lane.
Eagle-eyed race fans may be able to pick out a selection of visual changes McLaren gave the GT3X. On top of the standard GT3’s already wild aero package, the X gains larger front canards, a larger rear wing, a longer front splitter, and beefed up diffuser.
The one disappointing element of the reveal is that McLaren is yet to actually showcase just how much quicker the ‘unhinged’ and hot-rodded GT3X is compared to the standard model. Therein lies challenge number one for any professional drivers lucky enough to be thrown the keys to one…