The new McLaren Artura GT4 race car is making its debut at this weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed, though with some rather important modifications to render it legal for amateur and professional sports car racing. Originally powered by a twin-turbo, 120-degree V6 engine aided by a hybrid system in the road car, the new race-going Artura does without the latter in this new configuration.
McLaren's newest sports car is now the latest addition to the brand's catalog of GT race cars, where customers—individual or racing teams—can purchase to go racing in various championships worldwide. Due to regulations, however, FIA-sanctioned sports car championships (and other individual sanctioning bodies) do not permit hybrid or all-wheel-drive systems due to costs, trackside support, and overall fairness throughout the field, which is often compromised by a wide variety of brands.
As a result, the new Artura GT4 ditches the hybrid powertrain, which is made up of an axial flux e-motor fed by a 7.4-kWh battery. The system's presence in the road car results in an additional 94 horsepower and up to 166 pound-feet of torque, while its absence in the GT4 saves a whopping 286 pounds. In fact, the new car is 220 pounds lighter than McLaren's previous customer race car, the 570S GT4. Unlike the Acura NSX, which offers a GT3 racing customer car, the Artura is already rear-wheel drive, so no modifications were necessary in that respect.
The GT4 also employs McLaren's new Carbon Lightweight Architecture monocoque, which, as expected, reduces weight, but more importantly, makes the car considerably stiffer than the outgoing model. Stiff is good when it comes to GT racing, given the wide variety of race tracks that a series can see in any given season. These can vary from short and bumpy street courses like Detroit's Belle Isle to F1-grade circuits like the Circuit of the Americas or Monza. Monocoque stiffness is also imperative for safety reasons, as the carbon shell around the driver is responsible for absorbing the brunt of the impact in the case of a crash.
Drivetrain modifications to GT4 cars are usually kept mild for the sake of fair competition, so most changes over the street-going equipment involve stronger parts with higher tolerances, etc. In the case of the Artura GT4, these include shorter gear ratios, a mechanical limited-slip differential (instead of electronic), Bosch Motorsport control system and modular motorsport electrical harness for electronics support, bespoke motorsport endurance braking systems with sliding pedal box, 720S GT3-style steering wheel with illuminated buttons, among other safety enhancements.
Of course, components can be further modified depending on the customer or series' racing needs, so McLaren offers additional support via driver aids available to purchase, such as "Tire Pressure Monitoring System, V-Box telemetry and a Collision Avoidance System radar, and a data pack with laser ride height sensors, damper potentiometers, and brake Infra-Red sensors." Customers looking to participate in endurance races can also look to the factory for additional lighting, left-hand fuel fill, and air jack systems for different pit-lane environments.
Lastly, McLaren is making its new race car more serviceable than ever by making various parts removable or easier to access. For example, the hood is now detachable in order to access vital components for maintenance, and the rear bodywork of the car can be undone without having to disassemble the rear wing assembly (as was the case in previous models). The automaker is also pledging full factory support and comprehensive service options to Artura GT4 customers, making it easier than ever to maintain a machine of this caliber—if such a thing can even be said.
The McLaren Artura GT4 will make its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on June 23-26, where it will be driven up the famous hill by McLaren Factory Driver Rob Bell, winner of last year’s Timed Shootout Final in the McLaren 720S GT3X.
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