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Getting behind the wheels of a McLaren 720S GT3X isn't so unnerving.
The hype around the new McLaren GT3X is merited, especially considering its impressive performance at the 2021 UK Goodwood Hill circuit known as the Festival of Speed. The car literally stole the Goodwood show where it completed the timed Goodwood hill shootout in 45.01 seconds, barely beating the Subaru WRX STI. So, yes, there is no denying the GT3X is scarily fast. It’s just not scary enough to be eligible for the GT3 racing series.
That means this car is best a collector item, an outcast neither welcome on the public roads nor the Group GT3 (Cup Grand Touring) race tracks.
The GT3X isn’t eligible for race series because McLaren’s engineers have had it with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)’s regulations, which we imagine they find stiflingly restraining. We can tell because of this one time the guys threw caution to the winds and built the supercar they’ve always wanted - the McLaren 720S GT3X, the outcast racecar that's too fast its presence at the tracks is illegal.
We were actually thinking about you when we said it isn't scary enough to participate in drag racing. The opposite is actually the case; this car scares its fellow competitors. But for you, you’re in luck because McLaren’s abandoning of the GT rulebook resulted in a car you can drive without that particular fear of how you're going to manage rounding corners at high speed. Enough already, let’s see what the car can do.
Related: Here's What Made The 2015 McLaren 650S GT3 Race Car Special
This is one of those times when being called a baby is a compliment, in this case, the McLaren 720S’s baby. The GT3X is essentially a faster race-bred 720S. Keep in mind that the 720S was far from a tortoise to the extent that the news of Ferrari F8 Tributo beating it at the quarter-mile a while ago spread everywhere.
The model has remained one of the fastest production cars, and the GT3X variant is the British marque’s attempt at turning the volume up. The result is a racecar that's good at everything but is only allowed to compete in short sprints and hill climbing. A baby with big, adult teeth is odd indeed, and people tend to keep such oddities at arm's length, with good reasons too. Should you be scared? Probably; because you aren't an average Joe who doesn't appreciate the implication of a no-limits McLaren GT3 racer.
But don’t be scared of the GT3X. Its performance at the Goodwood hill exemplifies its impressive capability for hill-climbing and acceleration, thanks to the aerodynamic upgrades and suspension system. Cosmetically, you'd swear it's a bonafide racecar, but 50% of the guts differ from racecars, with 10% shared with the road car variant. The road car-variety components include options like a drink system – a straw, rather than a cabinet – full telemetry, and a silenced exhaust.
The GT3X’s aerodynamic package and suspension system are largely carried over from the 720S but features a whole different engine in the back coupled with an optimized cooling package, whereas the 720S featured a mid-mounted 4.0L twin-turbo V8 motor. The GT3X shares the same motor as the road car, an M540T twin-turbo V8 producing 720 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. The included push-to-pass system delivers an additional 30 horsepower.
All the same, it differs from the road car via blueprinted cylinder head, strengthened piston, and lightweight exhaust. The rest of the powertrain is carried over from the racer. The biggest deviation from the GT racer is the revised roll cage design and interior aesthetics that allows an optional passenger seat, giving owners the chance to share the thrill with a fellow passenger.
This car comes with McLaren's promise of "thrilling driving dynamics with exceptional protection," in light of its carbon fiber MonoCage II chassis structure, the very same platform that gives the road version and the GT3 their lightweight but immensely stiff quality. The GT3X’s entire body panels are carbon fiber which enhanced its ultra-lightweight; 1,205 kg, to be exact.
With a power-to-weight ratio of 622 BHP per ton, the GT3X is nimbler than the ultra-light McLaren Senna of the marque’s Ultimate Series range. You’d be right to say the McLaren 720S GT3X’s main defining factor is its deregulated, race-tuned M840T 4.0L twin-turbo V8 motor, giving it a performance edge ahead of the 720S GT3.
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If you can afford to shell out a greasy $983,000 on an insanely fast car that's neither street-legal nor race-legal, we advise you make haste while the sun still shines. McLaren is tight-lipped, but Evo told everyone some time ago that half are already sold. The last time we checked, the Mclaren 720S GT3X is still available.
Regardless that this mean-looking supercar is not eligible for race series, the experience of driving it wherever you can without breaking the law will be worth the investment. Any gearhead with the cash won’t pass up the chance to experience the GT3X's incredible acceleration, such that you can feel the aero with every turn around corners at speeds of 80 mph or more.
The car’s brilliant handling around corners is a big edge it has over its GT3 comrades. The multi-stage traction control enhances the car’s nimble trail brake right into the heart of each corner. And, oh, we got carried away with the power and performance and almost forgot the phenomenal, beastly exterior design. If you’re asking us if McLaren 720S GT3X has what it takes to turn heads on the streets, it sure does.
Philip Uwaoma, this bearded black male from Nigeria, has single-handedly written more than a million words in the form of articles published on various websites, including toylist.com, rehabaid.com, and autoquarterly.com. Of all the websites and platforms Philip’s work appears on, the absence of his name attached to the articles published on Auto Quarterly is the only one that makes him moan; “ghostwriting sucks.” Albeit, Philip still won’t shy away from writing as a ghost. After all, it's the value he adds to human life with his pen that fuels his passion for writing. He has no dog, no wife- yet- and he loves Rolls Royce more than he really should.