Only 30 examples of this exclusive track toy will be built, priced at more than twice the cost of a road-going 12C and with the most power of any McLaren to date.
There are road cars and there are race cars, and McLaren makes both. But in between sits a relatively new (or newly popular) category of track cars. These are vehicles that can't legally be driven on public roads, but aren't designed for racing, either. They're often expensive toys for rich folks to play with on racing circuits, just for the heck of it. It's a highly exclusive realm that includes such exotic machinery as the Ferrari FXX and 599XX and Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, to name just a few.
Now McLaren is getting in on the action with the MP4-12C GT Can-Am Edition. Initially revealed in concept form at Pebble Beach this past summer, McLaren has taken the re-inauguration of the United States Grand Prix as occasion to announce that its GT racing division will produce the Can-Am track toy in a limited run of 30 units. Each example produced will carry a sticker price of £375,000, which makes it more than twice as expensive as the stock, road-going 12C that sells in the UK for £168,500. So what do you get for all that extra juice?
Well, for starters, the Can-Am edition emerges as the most powerful McLaren to date. With no road or racing regulations to comply to, the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 has been recalibrated to produce 630 horsepower - 14 more than the roadgoing model, and 12 more than the legendary McLaren F1. As you can see, the 12C Can-Am also gets an aggressive aero package derived from the GT3 racing version, including a large rear wing that provides 30 percent more downforce. The wing, mirrors, engine vents, side intakes and sill covers are all made from carbon fiber, helping further reduce the car's curb weight.
Satin black forged alloys with Pirelli racing slicks round out the package. Inside there's a full race-spec roll cage, a pair of racing buckets with six-point harnesses and a competition-spec steering wheel. And while most racing cars ditch the power-sapping air conditioning, the Can-Am keeps it on board in order to keep its wealthy owners comfortable while playing around on sun-baked circuits. The UK pricing seems to negate previous reports that the Can-Am would be offered exclusively in North America, where McLaren once dominated the racing series of the same name in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, apparently opening the order books to clients around the world.