The annual Rolex 24 at Daytona kicks off the U.S. sports-car racing season, and is where manufacturers often roll out their latest race cars. This year, we’ll see the North American competition debut of Mercedes’ AMG GT3, and an entire new class of racers called DPi.
While the Rolex 24 is the main event, it isn’t the only race at Daytona this weekend. Friday’s four-hour Continental Tire BMW Endurance Challenge will serve as a warm-up act of sorts for the main 24-hour race, and that’s where McLaren will debut its latest machine, the 570S GT4, a racing version of McLaren’s “entry-level” 570S that is making its North American debut this weekend.
The 570S GT4 was launched last year in the British GT Championship, although its season of competition in that series was primarily for development purposes. “GT4” refers to the competition class the 570S racer was built for. It is a class for cars based on production models that limits modifications in an effort to keep costs down — and keep the cars recognizable for fans.
The GT4 does look similar to a stock 570S, but has a wider track to accommodate Pirelli racing tires, as well as an aerodynamic kit that includes a large rear spoiler and front splitter. The GT4 also carries an extra radiator beneath a modified front hood, and sports an FIA-spec roll cage, fire extinguisher, adjustable suspension system, and air jacks.
McLaren kept the 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission from the stock 570S, with the stock rear-wheel drive setup. The V8 produces 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque in road-going versions of the 570S, but output in the racing version may be altered depending on the rules of individual series.
Following its debut in the Continental Tire BMW Endurance Challenge, the 570S GT4 will race in the IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with three McLaren customer teams. McLaren will also continue to field its 650S in the Pirelli World Challenge.
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