It’s that ‘silly season’ again; just before Christmas and more importantly, before the Geneva Motor Show 2018 when everybody tries to get into your Christmas stocking or stop you buying anything because they have the “next big thing soon”.
This time it’s McLaren’s turn. They announced the “most extreme McLaren road car yet” that you can’t touch until the end of 2018.
- New Ultimate Series is the most extreme McLaren road car yet
- Bears the name of legendary Formula 1 driver, Ayrton Senna, honouring its status as the ultimate McLaren track car, legalised for the road
- At 1,198kg (2,641lbs), the lightest McLaren road car since the iconic McLaren F1
- 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 is the most powerful McLaren road car internal combustion engine ever, with 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm (590 lb ft)
- Power-to-weight ratio of 668PS-per-tonne delivers savage performance
- The purest connection between driver and car of any road-legal McLaren
- Aggressive appearance epitomises ‘form-follows-function’ McLaren design philosophy
- Mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive chassis – the optimum configuration for dynamic excellence
- Priced at £750,000 including taxes (UK)
- Production limited to 500 units, all hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre in England from Q3 2018
“You commit yourself to such a level where there is no compromise. You give everything you have; everything, absolutely everything.” – Ayrton Senna
No Sissy required
The McLaren Senna is touted to be the ultimate McLaren track-concentrated car for the road. Street-legal but not sissy-fied for road use. The goal is to have the “purest connection between driver and car”, to feel the most intense circuit experience of any road McLaren.
The salient specifications are listed above but really all you need are the sexy images. This is hypercar pornography of the first order.
I don’t have to prattle along about the ultra-lightweight construction, with carbon fibre chassis and body panels. or the mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged V8 McLaren engine, race-derived suspension and electro-hydraulic steering for purest feedback. We’ll let the Mclaren honchos rev into overdrive…..
“The McLaren Senna is a car like no other: the personification of McLaren’s motorsport DNA, legalised for road use but designed and developed from the outset to excel on a circuit. Every element of this new Ultimate Series McLaren has an uncompromised performance focus, honed to ensure the purest possible connection between driver and machine and deliver the ultimate track driving experience in the way that only a McLaren can.” – Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.
I read that as giving the driver the sensations of driving at speed through the steering wheel, the pedals and the seat. How they do that with modern technology and ‘fly-by-wire’ electro-hydraulic steering, front and rear active aerodynamics, and RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II) hydraulic suspension is yet to be tried.
She ain’t exactly pretty
Truth be told, it’s not exactly a pretty car. The shocking first impression is an agressive racing machine without creatuure comforts. It’s all about performance and function that determines the form. Aerodynamically, it is a teardrop shape with aerodynamic body parts attached. It’s all air intakes and vents galore including a roof-mounted ‘snorkel’ intake and mixing in the carbon fibre plenum.
Everything from the front splitter to the double diffuser at the rear has been optimised for downforce and aerodynamic balance.
Of course, you can add a modicum of customisation with the front aero blades available finished in one of five ‘By McLaren’ theme specifications that include Azura Blue and McLaren Orange. The same accent colour can also feature on the brake calipers, visible door gas struts and seat trims.
As a nod to the McLaren F1, the McLaren Senna has dihedral doors that hinge forwards and upwards, opening with a portion of the roof to reveal low sills and an opening big enough for drivers or passengers even when wearing a helmet and a race suit.
The most controversial parts are the carbon fibre doors that feature two-piece glass side windows with a fixed top part and a smaller opening section below. Both the door upper and the lower half of the door side can be specified with glass as a replacement for the standard carbon fibre panels.
This is meant to enhance the sense of space inside the cockpit and let the driver see the track racing beneath but it also means that people can look into your cabin at crotch level!
Since you can’t reach the doors, the release mechanisms and window switches are housed alongside the engine start button in a carbon fibre console above the driver’s head.
Driver controls are deliberately minimalist and the three-spoke steering wheel is free of buttons and switches. You can use the automatic gear shift but there are also carbon fibre flappy-paddle thingies on the steering wheel for use with or without racing gloves.
Using the Active Dynamics Panel, the driver has a choice of Comfort, Sport or Track powertrain modes. Then there is that special roof mounted button for Race mode…..
Information for the driver appears on the high-definition McLaren Folding Driver Display and central infotainment screen. In case you’re wondering, there is no baggage space. You just get a small chamber behind the seats for two helmets and race suits.
There is only one style of ultra-lightweight alloy wheel available with a race-inspired centre lock system.
The McLaren Senna is the third model introduced under the McLaren Track22 business plan and will be hand-assembled in England at the McLaren Production Centre. Production will be limited to 500 vehicles, each costing from £750,000 including taxes (UK price).
Get this! The whole production is already allocated; so why am I writing this report? It’s certainly not for marketing purposes….. 🙂
The ultimate road-legal, track-concentrated McLaren hypercar will make its public debut in March, at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show.
Previous McLaren Articles
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).