The new 650S Sprint by McLaren GT is set for its global competitive premiere this weekend at the penultimate round of the GT Cup race at Donington Park, UK.
The 650S Sprint is developed and optimised for the track, and eligibility has now been confirmed to race in the NARRA US GT series, the SCCA GT Championship and the UAE GT series. McLaren GT factory driver Rob Bell will be joined by German-based journalist Dale Lomas, for the weekend's triple-header.
The covers were pulled off the McLaren 650S Sprint at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance last month, and the race this weekend marks the European debut of the car, in the most public of arenas. Racing with McLaren GT customer team Von Ryan Racing, the 650S Sprint will contest three races during the weekend – one sprint race incorporating a driver-change on Saturday, followed by two shorter events on Sunday, with the drivers contesting one complete race each.
McLaren GT factory driver Rob Bell returns to the Von Ryan Racing team after running at this year's Total 24 Hours of Spa in the 12C GT3. In addition, Bell has been involved in the development of the 650S Sprint so has extensive knowledge of the track-only racer. Bell will share driving duties with experienced Nürburgring-racer Lomas, who has shown good pace in testing ahead of the event.
Based on the road-going 650S, the aerodynamically enhanced design of the 650S Sprint offers increased levels of downforce, and the revised air intakes offer optimised cooling of the 3.8-litre twin-turbo M838T engine. In the 650S Sprint, the proven powerplant is retained from the 650S roadcar, with a unique engine and transmission calibration to further enhance on track drivability and driver engagement.
Managing Director Andrew Kirkaldy commented: 'The 650S Sprint is an evolution of the successful 12C GT Sprint, and moves the game on as the 650S roadcar has done. The 650S Sprint is an easier car to fully exploit and enjoy for a driver, and the levels of engagement and refinement have been optimised. The development programme for the car has been extensive so far, with many thousands of kilometres completed on various tracks, but this will be the ultimate test – a real race situation with a highly competitive grid.
'The team at Von Ryan Racing has shown themselves to be world class over the years in GT racing, and Rob has been heavily involved with the development of the 650S Sprint, so knows the car very well. It should be a great weekend of racing, and with the recent announcement that the car is now eligible for championships in North America and the Middle East, this marks the next exciting chapter for McLaren GT.'