To racing car fans of a certain age the phrase "McLaren Can Am" brings back images of massively powerful McLaren M6 sports racing cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s, a couple of which were converted to road use.
Now McLaren has shown a concept for a 630 bhp version of the McLaren MP4-12C, painted in traditional McLaren racing orange (McLaren originated in the 1960s after all).
This concept racer is not designed for any particular racing formula, so it is not restricted in any way. The engine is the most powerful yet seen on the McLaren MP4-12C, and the aerodynamics have been honed by McLaren Racing using Formula 1 technology and simulation to optimise downforce. This unique package offers an increase in downforce of 30 per cent.
The optimised aerodynamic package includes a carbon fibre front splitter, carbon fibre dive planes, and a carbon fibre wing, held in place by polished aluminium mounts. An imposing carbon fibre diffuser is fitted beneath the two-tone rear bumper. Brakes come from Akebono, which sit behind black satin-finished forged lightweight racing alloy wheels.
Perhaps the oddest item of specification is air conditioning, which McLaren says is now mandatory in a growing number of race series. What would drivers of the original McLaren Can-Am cars have made of air conditioning and power steering? At the time, even their road cars would probably not have had either of those two features.