This week's AUTOSPORT magazine has revealed McLaren is set to add a GTE-spec version of its popular MP4-12C that has raced in GT3 formats across Europe for a few seasons.
It's possible McLaren will undertake a several-race trial run for 2013 before a full-season introduction for 2014, and the potential, however small, exists the GTE version could run at next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We will be developing the GTE next year. Most of the design work is done and the engine is in development,” said Andrew Bailey, the new McLaren GT operations director. “We may do some races at the end of next year; we are still at the stage where we are weighing up our options.”
“Certainly we won't be there [at Le Mans] with customers, but we might be there as a development project,” said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh.
McLaren's GTE program will be developed in partnership with CRS Racing, the British-based team run by ex-Formula Atlantic driver and four-time Le Mans starter Andrew Kirkaldy. The team participated in the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup series in a Ferrari F430 before focusing on McLaren GT3 efforts this year. The team is set to move from its Leicestershire base to McLaren's old Formula 1 factory in Woking.
As its own entity, McLaren didn't have the resources to put the GTE program together and so partnered with CRS. Production of an additional 15 GT3 MP4-12Cs will continue, AUTOSPORT understands.
No mention was made of whether McLaren would consider running the car stateside in either 2013 or 2014. A natural spot would fall under the American Le Mans Series' GT class next year, if McLaren was to opt for any late season races, and although the class structure is yet undetermined for the 2014 combined sports car championship, ALMS GT will still be kept.