McLaren 720S GT3X is the Next Pagani Zonda R

McLaren made the 720S GT3X which breaks all the rules, just like the Pagani Zonda R once did. AMG V12, pushrod suspension, and a massive rear wing. These ingredients made up the legendary and unattainable Pagani Zonda R. From the factory, it had slick Pirelli tires, and you needed those. The car weighed around 2,000 pounds but had 740 horsepower. The aerodynamics used enough carbon fiber that if you took them all off, you could make another race car. 

It lapped the Nurburgring in 6:47. Unfortunately, it was too ridiculous to drive. It was too loud for certain race tracks, presumably too low for street pavement, and expensive at $2.7 million. Now something else has come along that speaks the same language as the Zonda R, with a big McLaren logo on the front.

It took two cars to make one McLaren 720S GT3X

The McLaren 720S GT3X at Goodwood
The McLaren 720S GT3X at Goodwood | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images

There are a couple of cars to consider before understanding what the GT3X really is. The McLaren 720S was unleashed in 2017. It has 710 horsepower from a twin-turbocharged 4-liter V8. The 720S clocks in at around 3,200 pounds curb-weight, and it lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7:08 seconds. It’s made out of carbon fiber and uses active suspension. McLaren also used it to compete in GT3 races.

The 720S GT3 had to meet FIA regulations for GT3 races. It uses the same skeleton, with a new splitter and rear wing. The GT3X has the same engine as in the road car but re-tuned for racing, upgraded brakes, new suspension, a six-speed sequential transmission, and it lost a couple of hundred pounds in the process. It enjoyed lots of success, earning a few wins and several podiums over 2019-2020.

The McLaren 720S GT3X breaks free from the shackles

In March, McLaren announced it would make the 720S into a track-only monster, and that’s precisely what it did with the GT3X. McLaren took the road car’s engine and gave it more power before putting it into the GT3X. On the outside, it’s the same car as the GT3, but the GT3X gets optimized cooling. It’s safer with a better roll cage and has a push-to-pass button for the driver, which gives the car 30 additional horsepower. 

In a nutshell, the GT3X gets the best of both cars without the GT3 racing series restrictions. Much like the Zonda R, the GT3 and GT3X sport a massive rear wing that goes the width of the vehicle, aggressive front aerodynamics, and phenomenal grip from big sticky tires. The GT3X breaks the rules with staunch conviction. It’s a shame you can only drive it on a track day.

The GT3X is making headlines

McLaren made a solid declaration at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year when the GT3X set the fastest time of the hill climb shootout final. The following car was a Subaru WRX STI, about eight tenths down from the McLaren. Top Gear did a special about it as well, showcasing its composure around corners at the hands of the Stig. The GT3X makes fools of all track cars still adhering to rules.

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