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2018 Goodbyes: McLaren 650S GT3

Earlier this month at the Gulf 12 Hours, McLaren Automotive ushered in a new era for the top of its customer GT racing effort, unleashing the 720S GT3 at Yas Marina, the car coming achingly close to winning on its debut.

The new 720S GT3 has a lot to live up to, as it succeeds the outgoing 650S GT3 as McLaren’s front-line customer racing GT3 offering, which on reflection, had a staggering run with customer teams, racking up an excellent tally of race wins and plenty of titles around the world in the hands of customers.

It made its debut at the Gulf 12 Hours back in 2014, and from there on in, impressed, building on the foundation laid by the 12C GT3. It wasn’t known for being the easiest GT3 car to drive, but it was rapid, and on its day unbeatable when driven by the right driver at the right time.

You may not have realised too, that in 2016, it was statistically the most successful GT3 car globally, with the most podiums, poles and wins of its competition.

So, before we move on to following the progress of McLaren Automotive’s new toy, developed in house by Dan Walmsley and co, let’s look back at the 650S GT3, a car which was a fast as it was good looking.

Major achievements

2017, International GT Open Pro-Am title, Balfe Motorsport

2016, Blancpain Endurance Cup Teams & Drivers title (Including wins at Monza & Paul Ricard 1000km), Garage 59

2016, Bathurst 12 Hour Overall win, Tekno Autosports

2016, Pirelli World Challenge, Drivers’ & Manufacturers’ Titles (Including six race wins), K-PAX Racing

2016, Australian Endurance Championship title, Tekno Autosports

2016, Australian GT Championship title, Darrell Lea

2015, Asian Le Mans Series GT3 title, Clearwater Racing

2015, International GT Open Championship, Teo Martin Motorsports

Notable customer teams

Garage 59, Blancpain Endurance Cup, Blancpain Sprint Cup, Spa 24 Hours, International GT Open

Black Bull Ecurie Ecosse, British GT Championship

K-PAX Racing, Pirelli World Challenge, California 8 Hours, Sepang 10 Hours

Gainsco/Bob Stalling Racing, Pirelli World Challenge

Tekno Autosports, Bathurst 12 Hour

Clearwater Racing, Asian Le Mans Series

Objective Racing, Australian GT, Australian Endurance, Bathurst 12 Hour

YNA Autosport, Australian GT, Australian Endurance, Bathurst 12 Hour

McElrea Racing, Australian GT, Australian Endurance, Bathurst 12 Hour

Keltic Racing, Bathurst 12 Hour

Darrell Lea, Australian GT, Australian Endurance, Bathurst 12 Hour

Balfe Motorsport, International GT Open, British GT Championship

FFF Racing by ACM, Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, Asian Le Mans Series

Von Ryan Racing, Blancpain Endurance Cup, British GT Championship, Gulf 12 Hours, Spa 24 Hours

Teo Martin Motorsport, International GT Open

Attempto Racing, Blancpain Sprint Cup

Strakka Racing, Blancpain Endurance Cup, Blancpain Sprint Cup , Spa 24 Hours

Team AAI, Asian Le Mans Series

OD Racing, Asian Le Mans Series