We weren’t initially sure what McLaren was thinking when they debut a supercar that was missing some super in its sex appeal. Today we think we know why they left the car in a Mr. Potato Head kind of state, the one-off design study of the McLaren Can-Am edition 12C.

The car is set to take a bow state side during the Monterey Week (this week) in Northern California. Finished in iconic McLaren Orange with satin black graphics and one off body components – not to mention a highly messaged engine. The car is the first racing edition car from McLaren GT to touch down outside of Europe.

While the car shares components and features with its racing relative the GT3, you can expect the engine to be something far more exotic. The 3.8L V8 has been tuned to an impressive 630hp making it the most powerful 12C to date (tuners this is your invitation to show us what you are working on) with the car tipping the scales at a scant 2645.5 lbs.

Overall driving improvements include a more efficient cooling system as well as enhanced aerodynamics, derived from F1 technology, improving downforce some 30 percent over the GT3 model. Even braking has seen a significant boost from Akebono collaborating on the project.

Inside nothing seems familiar to its road cousin, except maybe the silhouette of the dash now clad in carbon fiber. Full Recaro racing buckets, six-point harnesses and a steering wheel similar to one found in a F1 racecar all contribute to this no-holds-bar 12C. Keeping an air conditioning system in the car seems like a luxury feature but since it’s becoming a standard in many modern racing series we gladly tip our hat in gratitude.

One question comes to mind when we see this car; could we see a head-to-head shoot out against the Pagani Zonda R?

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