All posts in “McLaren”

Novitec N-Largo Kit Revealed for the McLaren 720S Spider

Novitec announced an addition to its N-Largo range of body kits this week. The Novitec N-Largo 720S Spider adds a widebody look to the McLaren 720S Spider. If you have seen N-Largo kits before then you will know what to expect from the latest model.

The latest addition to the Novitec range includes a widebody kit with forged carbon elements. This gives the 720S Spider a look inspired by the McLaren Senna.

The bodywork has been created, once again, through a collaboration with German designer Vittorio Strosek. Width is increased by six centimetres at the front and by thirteen centimetres at the rear axle. The front fenders and the rear fenders are complete replacements.

The N-Largo gets a unique side skirt and a set of air intakes aft of the doors. The front bumper is entirely new with a new front blade and several naked carbon elements. The trunk lid, side mirror covers, side skirt strips and rear wing attachment, all come finished in forged carbon fibre.

It sits on 20 and 21 inch Vossen wheels. The design is MC2 and they are manufactured to customer’s individual finish. They have a centre lock look

Power receives an upgrade too. The 4.0-litre V8 engine puts out an impressive 806 hp and 878 Nm of torque. Performance gets a similar boost with 100 km/h arriving in 2.7 seconds and 200 km/h in just 7.5 seconds. Terminal velocity is 346 km/h.

Novitec N-Largo McLaren 720S Spider

Other changes include the addition of an extremely light Inconel exhaust system. The ride height can be lowered too, with a special set of Novitec sports springs. These bring the N-Largo 35 millimetres closer to the ground.

Novitec also offers a complete series of customisation options for the Novitec N-Largo 720S Spider. Just 15 examples will be made worldwide. Novitec is expecting it to sell out quickly, just like its Coupe brother! If you are after something a little less extreme, Novitec have you covered too.


Top Gear magazine climbs all over the McLaren Elva

Top Gear deputy editor Jack Rix took a camera crew to McLaren’s Technology Center for a closer look at the Elva roadster. Not only did Rix provide his usual, thorough once-over and explanation of design features, but thanks to the magic of moving pictures, we get graphic demonstrations of how the Elva’s most interesting feature works. McLaren engineers needed to figure out a way to protect helmetless occupants from getting their faces painted with bugs and detritus at speed. Their solution is the Active Air Management System (AAMS), composed of a deflector and a network of vents that create a “bubble of calm” around the passenger cell. Unlike the rest of the Elva, the AAMS ain’t pretty, but beauty always loses tie-breakers to effectiveness in Woking. 

For a vehicle with so little to it, including the number of body panels, there’s a ton going on all around the open-top. The rear mesh is 3D-printed titanium. Short seat squabs combined with a moving steering wheel and gauge cluster improve ingress and egress. Four high-flow exhaust pipes are placed in two locations and pointed two directions in order to separate tones as if the exhaust were an audio system – because, in truth, it is. And there’s more, but we’ll let Rix explain. 

As an aside, for all the Elva does have, we think it’s a shame the roadster doesn’t have a roofed version. Digital artist Nikita Aksyonov drew up an Elva Coupe, and we’re fans. Better looks than the McLaren GT, in a package that appears more compact than the 720S, with a more powerful engine than the Senna? Yes. All day yes.

But we digress, so check out Rix’s take in the video.

McLaren Senna Can-Am and XP special editions honor two racing icons

McLaren produced 500 examples of the Senna road car, and the entire run sold out immediately. This year it added the more powerful, track-only Senna GTR, selling out of all 75 units instantly. That’s not the end of the Senna line, however, with 26 more units divvied up between three special editions. The most numerous is the Senna LM, a street-legal version of the GTR supposedly put together by McLaren Special Operations. The bodywork’s been toned down a touch by dropping the aero flics on the front bumper and the GTR’s extended rear wing, and the LM fits a less aggressive rear diffuser. Interestingly, a spy shot shows the Senna LM also going without the windows in the lower portions of the doors. There’s no reliable intel on the engine yet, but it’s hoped that the LM fits the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 as the GTR, producing 814 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. The LM is reputed to cost £1.3 million ($1.7 million U.S.) 

CarBuzz reports that another special edition will be based on the Senna LM, having received an anonymous tip from a reader with one of the cars on order. Called the Senna Can-Am, McLaren would only say that this model was commissioned by a dealer. As the name implies, the coupe celebrates the legendary Can-Am cars that terrorized the series in the late 1960s and 1970s, and that are responsible for giving us the trademark orange hue McLaren remains known for. The Senna Can-Am is a specific homage to the M8B, called “the perfect race car,” that started on pole and won all 11 races during the 1967 season with Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme driving.

In CarBuzz‘s rendering, the Can-Am is done up in McLaren orange with Canadian flags on the front fenders, and number roundels on the rear fenders along with the signatures of McLaren and Hulme. Instead of the “LM” logos on the wing endplates and embroidered into the headrests, “Can-Am” appears instead, the M8B’s race record appears on the door sills, and a black anodized throttle pedal gets the Can-Am logo. CarBuzz‘s source said the Senna Can-Am is “due to be delivered in two to four weeks,” and cost $1.5 million.

The final three special-edition examples (pictured) come from early in the life of the Senna. Beverly Hills managed to acquire three of the experimental prototypes that McLaren used to develop the Senna, and commissioned three builds now known as the Senna XP. Each car gets a name and celebrates a Formula One race track where Ayrton Senna scored an especially outstanding victory. All three are dressed in gloss black carbon fiber, accented with the colors of the F1 circuit’s country, and adorned with Ayrton’s car number on the wing endplates. The “Master of Monaco” lauds Senna’s six victories in the principality; “Lap of the Gods” hails Senna’s opening lap in the wet at Donnington in 1993 when he drove from fifth place to first in less than a lap; “Home Victory” relishes Senna’s 1991 win in Brazil.

The Senna XP uses the standard Senna’s 3.9-liter V8 with 789 hp and 590 lb-ft, costs $1,435,328, and naturally, is sold out. 

The McLaren 620R is revealed as a road-legal 570S GT4 race car

Perhaps you missed out on the limited-run McLaren Senna race car for the road. Those were all snapped up immediately, so it’s understandable if you did. Don’t fret, though, because McLaren just unveiled another road-legal race car that it plans to sell 350 of. It’s called the McLaren 620R, and it’s even more exclusive than the 500-unit Senna.

The 620R is truly a road-legal 570S GT4 race car at its core. McLaren simply homologated it for road use, and then took advantage of the total lack of racing regulations to make it even quicker than the race version. The end result is rather enticing.

To make it road legal, McLaren attacked a laundry list of items. The massive rear wing gained a brake light. McLaren says that cars will be delivered to customers in the most roadworthy low-downforce setting, but a McLaren retailer is able to adjust it to one of the two other more aggressive settings — in maximum attack, it can contribute 408 pounds of downforce. The front bumper and splitter were redesigned with “more pronounced aero blades” on the splitter. Dive planes were added to help accelerate air flow along the sides of the car and aid brake cooling. Then, the redesigned carbon fiber hood has two nostrils to clean up the air flowing over the top of the car and aid downforce. The full frontal aero package is able to produce up to 143 pounds of downforce.

As expected, it uses an unshackled version of the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 out of the GT4 race car. In this spec, it produces 612 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for a 0-60 mph sprint in 2.8 seconds and a maximum speed of 200 mph.

The dampers are straight off the GT4, too. They’re manually adjustable, and actually contribute to a 13-pound weight savings over the road version of the 570S. Still, these dampers are meant for the track, so expect them to be brutally stiff on our pockmarked roads. Lightweight aluminum wishbones and uprights are used, plus stiffer anti-roll bars as well. Carbon ceramic rotors and forged aluminum calipers are used to stop. McLaren says stopping power is spectacular with the standard Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, but it’s taken to an entirely new level with the optional full slicks.

Buyers in the U.S. are allowed even more goodies than those elsewhere with this car. You’re able to spec an MSO upgrade package that features a carbon fiber roof and roof scoop for the car’s intake. The McLaren Track Telemetry system comes with this package, allowing you to record your lap times and analyze them later. The starting price is $299,000, and production will begin in January 2020.

McLaren Senna GTR Review | Driving the track-ready, race-banned hypercar

Reviewed by J.R. Hildebrand for TechCrunch. Hildebrand is a professional racing and test driver, nine-time Indianapolis 500 competitor and adjunct lecturer for The Revs Program at Stanford University.

SNETTERTON, England — The McLaren Senna GTR shouldn’t exist.

This feat of engineering and design isn’t allowed on public roads. It’s built for the track, but prohibited from competing in motorsports. And yet, the GTR is no outlier at McLaren . It’s part of their Ultimate Series, a portfolio of extreme and distinct hypercars that now serve as the foundation of the company’s identity and an integral part of its business model.

The P1, introduced in 2012, was McLaren Automotive’s opening act on the hypercar stage and was an instant success for both the brand and its business. McLaren followed it up with the P1 GTR, then went on to chart a course toward the Ultimate Series of today and beyond.

Since 2017, the automaker has added the Senna, Speedtail, Senna GTR and now the open-cockpit Elva to the Ultimate Series portfolio. While the GTR is certainly the most extreme and limited in how and where it can be used, it follows a larger pattern of the Ultimate Series as being provocatively designed with obsessive intent.

Automotive takes the wheel

Purpose-built race cars that call on every modern tool of engineering and design have historically been produced for one purpose: winning. This objective, nourished by billions of dollars of investment from the motorsports industry, has led to technological and performance breakthroughs that have eventually trickled down to automotive.

The pipeline that has produced a century of motorsports-driven innovation is narrowing as racing regulations become more restrictive. Now, a new dynamic is taking shape. Automotive is taking the technological lead.

Take the McLaren Senna road car, the predecessor to the GTR. McLaren had to constrain the design of the Senna to make it road legal. But the automaker loaded it with active aerodynamics and chassis control systems that racing engineers could only dream about.

McLaren wasn’t finished. It pushed the bounds further and produced a strictly track-focused and unconstrained race car that expands upon the Senna’s lack of conformity. The Senna GTR might be too advanced and too fast for any racing championship, but McLaren said to hell with it and made the vehicle anyway.

The bet paid off. All 75 Senna GTR hypercars, which start at $1.65 million, sold before the first one was even produced.

The Senna GTR is the symbol of a new reality — a hypercar market that thrives on the ever-more-extreme, homologation standards be damned.

Two weeks ago, I had a chance to get behind the wheel of the Senna GTR at the Snetterton Circuit in the U.K. to find out how McLaren went about developing this wholly unconstrained machine.

Behind the wheel

Rr-rr-rr-kra-PAH! The deafening backfire of the GTR’s 814-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine snapped me to attention and instantly transported me to the moment earlier in the day that provided the first hints of what my drive might be like.

Rob Bell, the McLaren factory driver who did track development for the GTR, was on hand to get the car warmed up. Shortly after he set out, the car ripped down the front-straight, climbing through RPMs with an ear-protection-worthy scream that reverberated off every nearby surface, an audible reminder of how unshackled it is.

As Bell approached Turn 1, the rear wing quickly dropped back to its standard setting from the straightaway DRS (drag reduction system) position, then to an even more aggressive airbrake as he went hard to the brakes from 6th gear down to 5th to 4th. The vehicle responded with the signature kra-PAH! kra-PAH! and then promptly discharged huge flames out the exhaust as the anti-lag settings keep a bit of fuel flowing off-throttle.

I thought to myself, ‘Holy sh*t! This thing is no joke!’

Sliding into the driver’s seat, I feel at home. The cockpit is purposeful. The track was cold with some damp spots, and the GTR is a stiff, lightweight race car with immense power on giant slick tires. Conventional wisdom would suggest the driver — me in this case — should slowly work up to speed in these otherwise treacherous conditions. However, the best way to get the car to work is to get temperature in the tires by leaning on it a bit right away. Bell sent me out in full “Race” settings for both the engine and electronic traction and stability controls. Within a few corners — and before the end of the lap — I had a good feel for the tuning of the ABS, TC and ESC, which were all intuitive and minimally invasive.

As a racing driver, it’s rare to feel a tinge of excitement just to go for a drive. As professionals, driving is a clinical exercise. But the GTR triggered that feeling.

I started by pushing hard in slower corners and before long worked my way up the ladder to the fast, high-commitment sections. The car violently accelerated up through the gears, leaving streaks of rubber at the exit of every corner.

Once the car is straight, drivers can push the DRS button to reduce drag and increase speed for an extra haptic kick. The DRS button is now a manual function on the upper left of the steering wheel to give the driver more control over when it’s deployed. After hitting the DRS, the car dares you to keep your right foot planted on the throttle, then instantly hunkers down under braking with a stability I’ve rarely experienced.

The active rear wing adds angle while the active front flaps take it out to counterbalance the effect of the car’s weight shifting forward onto the front axle, letting you drive deeper and deeper into each corner. It’s sharply reactive; the GTR stuck to the road, but still required a bit of driving with my fingertips out at the limit on that cold day. I soon discovered that the faster I went, the more downforce the car generated, and the more speed I was able to extract from it.

Tip to tail

In almost any other environment, the Senna road car is the most shocking car you’ve ever seen. Its cockpit shape is reminiscent of a sci-fi spaceship capsule. The enormous swan neck-mounted rear wing is one highlight in a long list of standout features. The Senna road car looks downright pedestrian next to the GTR.

The rear wing stretches off the back of the car with sculpted carbon fiber endplates and seamlessly connects to the rear fender bodywork. The diffuser that emerges from the car’s underbody — creating low pressure by accelerating the airflow under the car for added downforce — is massive. The giant 325/705-19 Pirelli slicks are slightly exposed from behind, giving you the full sense of just how much rubber is on the ground, and the sharp edges of the center exit exhaust tips are already a bluish-purple tint.

The cockpit shape and dihedral doors are instantly recognizable from the road car. But inside, the GTR is all business. The steering wheel is derived from McLaren’s 720S GT3 racing wheel, a butterfly shape with buttons and rotary switches aplenty. The dash is an electronic display straight out of a race car; six-point belts and proper racing seats complete the aesthetic.

Arriving at the front of the car, the active front wing-flaps are as prominent as ever, while the splitter extends several inches farther out in front of the car and is profiled with a raised area in the center to reduce pitch sensitivity given the car’s much lower dynamic ride-height. In fact, nearly the entire front end of the car has been tweaked; there are additional dive-planes, the forward facing bodywork at the sides of the car have been squared-off and reshaped, and an array of vortex generators have been carved into the outer edge of the wider, bigger splitter surface.

All of these design choices in the front point to the primary area of development from the Senna road-car to the GTR: maximizing its l/d or ratio of lift (in this case the inverse of lift, downforce) to drag.

McLaren pulled two of its F1 aerodynamicists into the GTR project to take the car’s aero to a new level. The upshot: a 20% increase in the car’s total downforce compared to the Senna road car, while increasing aero efficiency — the ratio of downforce to drag — by an incredible 50%. The car is wider, lower and longer than its road-going counterpart, and somehow looks more properly proportioned with its road-legal restrictions stripped away to take full advantage of its design freedom.

This was the car the Senna always wanted to be.

The development process of the GTR was short and to the point. When you have F1 aerodynamicists and a GT3 motorsport program in-house attacking what is already the most high-performing production track car in the industry, it can be. There were areas they could instantly improve by freeing themselves of road-car constraints — the interior of the car could be more spartan; the overall vehicle dimensions and track width could increase; the car would no longer need electronically variable ride heights for different road surfaces so the suspension system could be more purposeful for track use; the car would have larger, slick tires.

All this provided a cohesive mechanical platform upon which to release the aerodynamic assault of guided simulation and CFD.

The GTR benefits from the work of talented humans and amazing computer programs working together with a holistic design approach. What was once a sort of invisible magic, aerodynamics has become a well-understood means of generating performance. But you still have to know what you’re seeking to accomplish; the priorities for a car racing at Pikes Peak are much different than those of a streamliner at Bonneville.

The development team for the GTR sought to maximize the total level of downforce that the tires could sustain, then really kicked their efforts into gear to clean up airflow around the car as much as possible. Many of the aggressive-looking design elements that differentiate the GTR from the Senna are not just for additional downforce but to move air around the car with less turbulence — less turbulent air means less drag. You can’t see it or feel it, but it certainly shows up on the stopwatch, and is often the difference between a car that just looks fast and one that actually is.

I hadn’t asked how fast the car was relative to other GT race cars before I drove it. I think a part of me was fearful that despite its appearance and specs it might be wholly tuned down to be sure it was approachable for an amateur on a track day. And that would make sense, as that’s the likely use-case this car will have. After driving the GTR, I didn’t hesitate for a second to ask, to which they humbly said that it’s seconds faster than their own McLaren 720S GT3 car, and still had some headroom.The Senna GTR is another exercise in exploring the limits of technology, engineering and performance for McLaren, enabled by a market of enthusiasts with the means to support it. And this trend is likely to continue unless motorsports changes the rules to allow hypercars.

McLaren’s next move

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has been working for years to develop regulations that could include them. While these discussions are gaining momentum, it remains to be seen whether motorsport can provide a legitimate platform for the hypercar in the modern era.

The last time this kind of exercise was embarked on was more than 20 years ago during the incredible but short-lived GT1-era at Le Mans that spanned from 1995 to 1998. It saw McLaren, Porsche, Mercedes and others pull out all the stops to create the original hypercars — in most cases comically unroadworthy homologation specials like the Porsche 911 GT1 Strassenversion (literally “street version”) and Mercedes CLK GTR — for the sole purpose of becoming the underpinnings of a winning race car on the world’s stage.

At that time, the race cars made sense to people; the streetcars were misfits of which only the necessary minimum of 25 units were produced in most cases, and the whole thing collapsed due to loopholes, cost, politics and the lack of any real endgame.

Today, the ACO benefits from a road-going hypercar market that McLaren played a key role in developing. Considering McLaren’s success with hyper-specific specialized vehicles in recent years, I’d bet the automaker could produce a vehicle custom-tailored to a worthy set of hypercar regulations. Even if not, McLaren will continue to develop and sell vehicles under its Ultimate Series banner.

And there’s already evidence that McLaren is doubling down.

McLaren shows off the open cockpit Elva.

McLaren’s Track 25 business plan targets $1.6 billion in investment toward 18 new vehicles between 2018 and 2025. The company’s entire portfolio will use performance-focused hybrid powertrains by 2025.

The paint had barely dried on the Senna GTR before McLaren introduced another new vehicle, the Elva. And more are coming. McLaren is already promising a successor to the mighty P1. I, for one, am looking forward to what else they have in store.

McLaren hybrid tech will create one of the quickest cars in the world

McLaren’s entire range of models will be electrified by 2023, and hybrid technology will help the British firm build one of the quickest cars in the world. The company’s chief executive outlined an unnamed upcoming model that will boast an organ-displacing zero-to-60-mph time of 2.3 seconds.

Speaking about the firm’s future with Car & Driver, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt provided crunchy new details about the next-generation platform and the gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain the firm plans to unveil in early 2020, possibly during the next edition of the Geneva Motor Show. The 2.3-second car’s secret ingredient will be an electric motor that will zap the front wheels into motion. It will work with a mid-mounted engine, likely a twin-turbocharged V8, to deliver through-the-road all-wheel drive. We expect a generous serving of carbon fiber will keep the model’s weight in check.

Though there’s much more to a sports car than an impressive zero-to-60-mph time, 2.3 seconds would put McLaren’s looming hybrid on par with the sold-out Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, and ever so slightly ahead of hypercars like the Bugatti Chiron (2.4 seconds). McLaren’s limited-edition P1 hybrid took 2.6 seconds, and the hardcore Senna (pictured) is a tenth of a second slower.

Looking ahead, McLaren will gradually replace the current members of its range with new models built on its next-generation platform. The cheaper, less powerful ones will surf the downsizing wave sweeping across the industry by adopting a V6 the company hasn’t unveiled yet, while the bigger cars with higher horsepower ratings will carry on with a twin-turbocharged V8. All of the upcoming models will come standard with hybrid power, and they’ll be capable of driving for up to 20 miles on electricity, yet they’ll weigh as little as 65 pounds more than the supercars they’ll replace. The weight difference will likely increase when all-wheel drive, a V8 engine, or both enter the equation. 

McLaren has talked about building an electric car for years, and it even turned the 720S into a test mule to put the drivetrain though its paces, but Flewitt reaffirmed the technology isn’t ready. While solid-state batteries expected to merge into the mainstream halfway through the 2020s could make an electric McLaren more feasible, Flewitt warned the firm might not completely ditch gasoline for another three decades. Profitability is a deciding factor, too, especially as the company eyes an IPO.

Finally, Ferrari’s contentious but seemingly inevitable move into the SUV segment hasn’t changed his mind about launching a high-riding model. No means no, regardless of what rivals are doing. Instead of seeking additional ground clearance, McLaren is developing the first supercar it plans to release on its new platform. The model will make its debut in late 2020, and it will go on sale in early 2021.

McLaren Senna LM Spotted: Is This The Next Project for MSO?

The McLaren Senna is already one of the most track-focused McLaren models. It’s difficult to believe that McLaren could make it any more focused. Yet that seems to be what its special projects department, MSO, is working on with the McLaren Senna LM.

Pictures of a McLaren Senna LM prototype emerged today on popular forum Pistonheads. A single photo shows a Papaya Orange model parked outside an industrial unit. It’s missing its front left fender, either the result of an accident or partway through development.

The Senna LM is parked next to another Senna, hidden under a delivery wrapping but clearly missing its rear wing. Hiding in the car wash bay is a McLaren F1 road car too.

Renderings of the McLaren Senna LM have hit the web over the past month. They appear to show a car which dispenses with the Senna’s glass door windows in favour of a flatter carbon fibre door panel.

The renders also show a GTR-look front end without the extreme canards. There is a set of fender vents, a larger roof snorkel and a re-designed side panel. The rear looks like a blend of Senna GTR and road car too with some subtle tweaks, including a new rear panel.

It remains unclear whether the McLaren Senna LM will be officially sanctioned, like the GTR, or whether it will be produced third-party, like the McLaren P1 LM by Lanzante. Hopefully, we will hear more very soon!


Special Report: The McLaren 720S Spider is Britain’s Finest Export

Be warned, this tale features the B word, Brex*t. The title has been coined to address the colossal saga that is the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and must be one of the most used words in international news in the past three years. There have been amendments, referendums, prorogations, high court rulings and even Queen’s Speeches. I shall not dwell, you’re not here for politics, but for automobiles.

Ever switch on the 10 o’clock news and see politicians being ferried from conference to conference in rather dull executive limousines? The best you can hope for is a Mercedes-Benz S Class, black on black, of course. This got me thinking, it was the night before the final European Union Summit that would be deliberating the latest iteration of the Brexit deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first attempt. Tomorrow, news agencies from across the world would crowd and jostle outside Le Berlaymont to catch a word from the 27 EU leaders that would be reviewing the latest version of proposed deal.

What if BoJo didn’t arrive in a mundane, vanilla S Class or Jaguar XJ, but instead stunned the crowds by representing British business, an example of the very businesses that will be impacted so significantly by the outcome of this tumultuous series of events? I felt Boris needed a helping hand, I took matters into my own palms. The next morning I left home at 0630 on a mission to not only improve Boris’s image, but to showcase one of the finest exports that Britain produces. It is an example of why the UK is one of the worlds leading automotive manufacturing countries, and why trade deals with the UK should never be doubted, but encouraged.

The ambassador of choice was perfect. Bentley and Rolls-Royce are British brands, but are both now parts of Audi and BMW, respectively. Jaguar is Indian and Lotus Chinese. Caterham and Morgan are British, but neither are known internationally as representing the best of British, more cottage industry forerunners. There is only one brand suited to this endeavour – McLaren.

I recently was on the continent in a McLaren GT, a car that left me somewhat conflicted and confused. Having previously driven to Paris and back to London in a single day in a 720S, I was in no doubt that it doubled as both a track monster and a capable GT car. To reaffirm my thoughts, I had a 720S Spider for the ride to Brussels to see if the additional 49 kilograms for the roof mechanism would alter the driving characteristics and if the GT would make more sense for such a journey.

One thing that does not change, roof or no roof, is the fuel economy. It is abysmal, even when trundling towards the Channel Tunnel with the cruise control set to a smudge above the speed limit. Seeing anything above 23 miles per gallon was a rare treat. Boris’s refusal to take no deal off the table had sent the pound into a tizzy and fuel prices were through the roof, premium unleaded was emptying my wallet faster than the my ex girlfriend – just as thirsty too. Best not to worry about saving fuel and instead blow it to thy kingdom come with a smile on your face and bangs and cracks coming from the twin exhaust pipes.

A grey drive to Folkestone, quick Starbucks and a deep breathe in to squeeze onto the train later, it was time to cruise across the Continent. Well, part of it at least. It is always surprising how quickly the French autoroute gives way to terrible Belgian tarmac. With the active panel engaged and the handling and drivetrain toggles in comfort, the 720S cruises quietly and somewhat comfortably. The hydraulic suspension is fabulous and plaint. It is upset by bigger holes and cracks in the road, but it is a tradeoff worth making for the terrific handling through the bends on more engaging roads. One element that, still, cannot be faulted is the steering. It remains hydraulically assisted and a pleasure to work with.

The mighty torque is impressive too. The gearshifts are as great as you would expect from a McLaren dual clutch, but when touring you need not be pulling the left carbon paddle for downshifts as you can ride the torque in the upper gears. This is, of course, when the revs are above 2,500rpm, there is a world of lag below this threshold. As the kilometres trickled by, the weather worsened and the chances of experiencing the 720S Spider with the roof down diminished. A special mention, once again, to the awesome rear window that can be lowered or raised regardless of the roof being up or down. It is a great way to enjoy both fresh air and that hard edged engine tone, even when it is raining.

This car featured a clever and very expensive option, an electrochromic glass roof panel. This meant that the panoramic glass was able to go from fully clear to dark in a couple of seconds. It is cool and strangely satisfying to press the button and watch the glass ceiling change from ‘shade mode’ to ‘full sunlight’.

Other interior highlights included the luxurious Cognac leather in this ‘Luxury’ spec 720S. The 720Ss I had previously driven were all configured in ‘Performance’ trim meaning there was far more Alcantara and less leather to be found. The quality of the leather is great, as is the colour, my opinion of course. The infotainment is a generation behind the updated McLaren GT system, but I was not a huge fan of the update and the older system felt no less capable as it also lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems.

As Brussels neared, the rain relented and there was time to relish precious minutes with the roof down. Heated seats work brilliantly to negate wind chill and the car looks utterly spectacular in shop front reflections. Say what you like about the eye-socket headlamp design, few will argue that the 720S does not look like a missile from its side profile. The well behaved demeanour from the motorway cruise continues in the congestion of Brussels. The Start-Stop system decided to go on strike, other than that the 720S Spider was flawless around town. Visibility was good, the ride supple and the turning circle…acceptable. Things are a little scarier when squeezing through narrow gaps or high kerbed car parks, more a case of driver fear and being unfamiliar with the supercars dimensions.

As the infamous Berlaymont building neared, Theresa May had been collected, riding shotgun and Boris Johnson jumped in behind the wheel. The time had come to change the bumbling Prime Ministers image once and for all. Passers by gasped and laughed in equal measure. Camera phones flashed and selfies were taken. It seemed that it was mission accomplished, a hypothesis that was all but confirmed later that day when Boris Johnson announced that Jean Claude Juncker had accepted his governments proposed deal. I’m not saying that it had anything to do with the McLaren or my mission…but maybe, just maybe, it did.

In another bizarre ‘coincidence’, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt confirmed that McLaren Automotive will keep production entirely UK based despite Brexit in an interview to CNBC on the same day. He continued saying that the firm is ‘born and bred’ in the UK. The brand is one that is proudly British and one that should be celebrated. The McLaren F1 is, arguably, the greatest car ever and when the 12C rolled off the production line in 2011 a new era was born. McLaren seemingly came out of the blue and shattered any complacency that the likes of Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini had, pushing performance to new levels.

Almost 9 years on, McLaren continues to push it rivals to the extent that it is difficult to compare its offerings to that of the aforementioned rivals. The 720S is pitched against cars like the Porsche GT2 RS, Ferrari 488 Pista and Lamborghini Huracan Performante – hardcore special edition models that are stripped out track animals. The 720S obliterated the trio in a number of tests and it is the ‘standard’ car complete with creature comforts and touring credentials that make it just as usable as the McLaren GT. The LT model is expected to demolish its European rivals. McLaren Automotive represents the best, not only of British, but supercars produced anywhere in the world. Brexit or not, deal or no deal, McLaren will continue to be a flag bearer of British innovation and technology for years to come.


Pikes Peak Collection: 6 McLaren 600LT Spiders Delivered in US

We have seen before how McLaren’s dealership network creates unique collections for its customers. All manner of special editions are possible through MSO, McLaren Denver recently took full advantage. This special edition run of McLaren 600LT’s has been named the Pikes Peak Collection and consists of 6 600LT Spider’s.

Each example is different to the next. The cars were revealed a month ago, inspired by the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Each car is finished in MSO Bespoke or MSO Heritage paintwork – Black Gold, White Gold, Nerello Red, Volcano Red, Aurora Blue and Midas Grey. All 6 get a gold and matte black vinyl stripe over the hood and roof, as well as Satin Speedline Gold Wheels.

Inside, the theme continues. A Satin Gold centre band is applied to the steering wheel, extended paddle shifters and contrast stitching. The headrest features the Pikes Peak logo in gold embroidery, and a dedication plaque reading “Pikes Peak Collection 1 of 6”. All 6 cars get the MSO Club Sport Pack, which features carbon fibre cantrails, carbon fibre front fender louvres and titanium wheel bolts, as well as the Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing seats found in the McLaren Senna.

The rest of the package is identical to the rest of the McLaren 600LT Spiders. This means power is provided by a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 which produces 600 hp and 620 Nm of torque.


The McLaren F1 LM-Spec Sold for $19.8 Million at Auction

That’s Slightly Less Than the Estimates

The McLaren F1 LM-Spec that went up for auction at the Monterey Car Week in California sold for $19.8 million, making it the most expensive McLaren F1 to ever be sold. This impressive number, however, was still slightly below estimates, according to The Supercar Blog

The RM Sotheby’s auction was expected to see somewhere between $21 million and $23 million for the car, but the bidding never quite climbed that high. The car is the real deal. It has the production number 18 and an immaculate service record and record of ownership. 

The car’s first owner had it in Midnight Blue Pearl with a black interior. When the car sold, its second owner decided they wanted to have the car altered. So, it was sent to Surrey to the McLaren facility there to be restored and reworked. What it looked like at the auction at the Monterey Car Week is how the second owner wanted the car. 

It has a Platinum Silver exterior, cream-colored leather-clad interior, and a large rear wing was added. The owner also had McLaren work on the enigne, adding new radiators and cooling elements as well as a tune. The V12 engine now makes 680 hp over the original 627 hp. Despite the fact that the car didn’t get what the estimates expected at auction, this is still the most expensive F1 ever sold. 

MSO Has a Special McLaren GT for Pebble Beach and It’s Gorgeous

As You Might Expect, This Is a Beautiful Machine

On August 18 at Pebble Beach, McLaren will reveal a special MSO version of the GT. The car will feature special exterior and interior colors and accents. This will set it apart from other GTs that will be made. The GT is coming later this year with a price tag north of $200,000. You can bet this special edition will go for more money than that. It’s a super special GT and will be one of the eye-catching cars at Pebble Beach this year. 

The exterior of the MSO GT will feature a new bespoke paint called MSO Defined Flux Silver and Satin Graphite paint as the contrast color. This contrasting color will appear on the door skirts, front splitter, wing mirrors, rear bumper, and rear diffuser.  The car will also feature Satin Graphite Iron brake calipers and what MSO calls the Bight Pack, which is chrome trim around the windows, polished titanium exhaust tips, and gloss black wheels. 

Inside, the car gets Geoform Stitching on the seatbacks, sun visor, door cards, and armrest. The stitching pattern is inspired by the canopy design of the British Museum. There’s Satin Graphite Leather in various spots in the interior, and otherwise, most of the cabin features Flux White Leather. The MSO logo appears at various spots on the car including the headrests and doorsills. 

Mechanically, the car hasn’t been altered it will still get the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine that produces 612 hp. That engine is good enough to make this gorgeous car sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. This car should be one of the more important models at Pebble Beach this year. 

McLaren Is Working on a 720S Longtail

The March Forward With New Models Continues

In about decade, McLaren has put out eight cars. The next could be a 720S Longtail. McLaren has no plans of slowing down, and the longtail version of the 720S makes quite a lot of sense. According to PistonHeads, one of the two cars coming to the company’s lineup next year will be a 720S Longtail. The other is the already reported McLaren roadster or speedster

While the speedster or whatever, McLaren ends up calling its roofless car will be impressive, the longtail version of the 720S will arguably be the more important car because it’s more of an all-around, use-it-everyday car. The vehicle will likely get more power than the regular 720S and be improved in many of the ways that people would like to see the car improved. 

This Longtail move will also probably earn the supercar a new name. In the case of the 600LT, that car got its start as the 570S. Motor Authority suspects the name will by 750LT, but there’s no indication beyond the naming schemes of the previous Longtail cars that this will be the case. 

There are no concrete details on what McLaren will do with the model, but we suspect it will have revised styling but still fit in with the McLaren lineup easily. This should be a wonderful Longtail model, and we’re excited to see what comes of it. 

Autocar Reviews the McLaren F1, P1 and Senna

The Best Hypercars Reviewed Back-to-Back

There’s a lot to love about what McLaren is doing right now with its lineup. However, Autocar thought it best to take a look at the Senna and its predecessors to get a true understanding of what the company is doing and how it has progressed over time. 

The publication managed to get the McLaren Senna, P1, and F1 all for one fantastic video shoot so it could discuss their impacts, how they drive, and how they’ differ from one another. Matt Prior of Autocar takes you on a journey through the car’s history and how they drive. 

While the McLaren P1 and Senna are so much more advanced than the F1, it seems that Prior enjoys the F1 the most. The car will do 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds and do a standing quarter-mile in 11 seconds, and that’s with no launch mode or traction control or really any assisting systems of all time. 

However, the P1 and the Senna are truly amazing cars, and it’s clear how one leads into the other in a lineage like no other. Check out the full video below. It’s worth the watch to see these three icons doing what they do best. 

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One of 58 Special Street-Legal McLaren P1 GTRs Is For Sale

For The Person Who Wants a P1 for the Road

If you’ve always dreamed of driving a McLaren P1 on the road, then you need to check out this P1 GTR that is currently for sale. Only 58 of the road-legal version of the P1 exist. Lanzante Limited is the company that handled the P1’s road conversion, and now the website Luxury and Expensive has listed one for sale, and it’s very yellow. 

McLaren originally built the P1 as a track-only car, but as you might expect something so cool and fast and innovative was eventually taken to the streets by folks with plenty of money to pay for the conversion. The British company Lansante Limited has worked with McLaren in the past and did so again to make the dreams of having a road-legal P1 a reality. 

The car in question here is number 34 of the 58 cars that underwent the changes needed to make the car legal for the road, at least in the European Union. Each of the street-legal cars is a little different, so no two are exactly alike. What doesn’t change, though, is the powertrain. All of the cars, including the one see here have a twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8 and an electric motor. Together they put out 986 hp. 

So, what’s the price of this particular one? Well, if you’re worried about price, then you can’t afford it. The website says the price will be disclosed upon request. You can bet it will be more than the P1’s $1.15 million original price tag due to its exclusivity. 

McLaren to Build Open-Cockpit Speedster

A Limited Run Hypercar

How fast will you dare to go in an open-top speedster? How fast before the skin on your face flaps in the wind? Those are the first questions we had when we read that McLaren would produce a speedster hypercar. According to Autocar, the company plans to build a speedster that will sit at the top of the company’s model line right up there with the Senna and the Speedtail

Designed for the road, the point of the speedster will be to maximize the driver’s engagement and enjoyment. It’ll do this while still providing extremely high levels of performance and technology. According to Autocar, the unnamed source who discussed the model will feature a more fluid interpretation of the company’s design language. 

The car is supposed to have McLaren’s 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbocharged engine. The model won’t include any electrification. Official power numbers aren’t known but Autocar suspects it’ll be below the Senna’s 789 hp. The vehicle will likely get a dual-clutch gearbox and should weigh even less than the Senna. The price will likely fall around $1.9 million. 

Autocar reached out to McLaren for further details but the company wouldn’t reveal any more information and said they couldn’t comment on possible future vehicles. We’ll keep you updated with any new developments. 

LM Spec McLaren F1 to be Sold in Monterey by RM Sotheby’s

One of Only Two Cars Like It

The McLaren F1 is a car that’s burned into the brains of many motorsports and car enthusiasts as the ultimate machine. The car is a legendary one. McLaren built 64 production road cars, 28 F1 GTR racers, two long-tail GT cars, and seven prototypes. The company also built five F1 LMs, according to EVO. Two of the production road cars were later converted to LM cars. One of these will go up for auction in Monterey at the RM Sotheby’s sale in August. 

The conversion cars received complete makeovers. They also got numerous upgrades, including a full aerodynamics kit, transmission cooler, upgraded radiators, modified exhaust, 18-inch GTR alloy wheels, new air conditioning, different lights, upgraded suspension, and a new steering wheel. 

The car that will be on sale in Monterey is said to be in amazing condition. The car’s previous owners cared for it meticulously over the years. All of its history, including maintenance, has been well-documented ensuring the next owner of the car knows everything about it. While it’s unclear what the car will bring at auction, EVO Magazine notes that due to the previous sales of similar cars you can expect this model to fetch over $15 million and maybe even more than $20 million. 

RM Sotheby’s List McLaren F1 ‘LM-Specification’ For Sale

The McLaren F1 is an incredibly rare car. Just 106 were produced, 64 of which were designated as road cars. If you know anything about the road cars, you will know that the most sought-after are the limited edition F1 LM models. McLaren produced just 5, 3 of which went to the Sultan of Brunei (disappearing from public view).

Such was the demand for these cars that once the original production run was complete, McLaren upgraded two “standard” F1 road cars to LM specifications. Both cars received modifications in excess of the optional High Downforce Kit. The package consisted of a large rear wing, enlarged front splitter and louvres on the front clamshell.

The real highlight is the engine. Rebuilt to LM spec from the original engine, it revs 1,000 rpm higher than the standard V12 and develops 680bhp. 

The example that RM Sotheby’s plans to sell currently belongs to New Zealand-based collector Andrew Bagnall. It is chassis number 018. It is regularly used, displaying 21,500 km on the clock.

RM Sotheby’s also sold the other uprated LM car, 073, back in 2015. Part of the Pinnacle Portfolio, it hammered at a price of $13,750,000. 018 has a $21,000,000 – $23,000,000 estimate. Whether it is able to reach those dizzy heights is a different question! Imagine if an original McLaren F1 LM hit the market…


Watch the McLaren GT Do a Run at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

Beautiful Sights and Sounds

The McLaren GT made its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This gorgeous grand touring car features a strong 4.0-liter V8 that makes 612 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. The car is able to utilize that power on the course at Goodwood for all to see. In the video included below, you’ll see and hear the car move through the course. It’s one of McLaren’s most elegant-looking cars ever, and the engine note is something wonderful to behold. 

One of the reasons the GT sounds so good is because it has a bespoke exhaust system. While the engine itself isn’t all that different from the one found in other McLarens, the new exhaust gives it a distinctive and unique sound. This is exactly what you want from a supercar. 

The GT also stands out from the rest of the McLaren lineup because it’s a straight up bigger car. The mid-engine vehicle is longer than any other McLaren. The car also has more luggage space than any other car, meaning it can be used as an everyday car. That doesn’t keep it from being fast, though. This car can do a 0-60 mph sprint in just over three seconds. It’ll do all the way up to 124 mph in just nine seconds. The top speed is 203 mph. You can view the GT getting down at Goodwood in the video below. 

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Special Report: Intoxicating Drives With The McLaren 600LT Spider

Saturday, 0800. It’s June just outside London, summer is taking its sweet time to make an appearance – instead it’s more of a hybrid of autumnal dull juxtaposed with greens of spring. I am on a road I’ve opened many stories, such as this one, on and I’ve got butterflies akin to those of a 15-year-old being alone with his high school crush for the first time. My senses are heightened – my ears are being hammered with abusive whip cracks on gearshifts, up and down, harsh V8 noises fill the gaps in between.

My eyes are focused on the ribbon of road ahead; I’m at the head of a needle ducking and diving, stitching apexes together. They are being bordered by boisterous lime green a-pillars, a racing horse with blinkers. The smells of the morning are concentrated and heavy, courtesy of the dense country damp – I can taste it. My palms and fingers are wrapped around the soft warmth of an alcantara steering wheel that is wriggling with feel and communication, a sixth sense. This is what the McLaren 600LT is about – sensory overload.

The 600LT is a car that caused quite an upset, and not just for its competitors. McLaren invited esteemed members of the press (including GTspirit) to experience the LT just a few weeks after they had driven the McLaren Senna – with the thrill and adrenaline of the Senna likely still coursing through their veins, wordsmiths such as Henry Catchpole and Chris Harris openly claimed that they would prefer to own a 600LT than the Senna hypercar that costs almost four time the price.

You would assume that this is because the Senna is so extreme, but they went further than that, saying that the 600LT is more engaging, playful and absorbing on the edge. Bold. Then came this, the 600LT Spider and rumour had it that the 600LT really took the levels of excitement and driving experience a step further with the removal of the roof, surely then this is the ultimate adrenaline hit on four wheels for a fan of topless motoring and track day speed. An un-compromised Spider based on what many claim is the most hair-raising McLaren since the F1.

To find out what was what, I called the friendly people at McLaren and a few weeks later the vivaciously specced car you see pictured here arrived. As statements of intent go, this car screamed street legal race car with lashings of exuberantly expensive carbon, alcantara and other exotic materials. For me personally, one element above everything is the real statement of intent – the seats.

It’s for this reason that I insisted on having a test car fitted with the extraordinary ‘Senna seats’. These hallow carbon sculptures blur the lines between race and street car saving an incredible 24.6 kilograms, a feat and one that contributes heavily (pardon the pun) to the 100 kilogram saving between 570S and 600LT. Not only are they light, they are comically impractical, but in the coolest way possible. The shoulder and thigh support bolsters are enormous and share a shape more welcome in something at Le Mans than your local high street. These shells are clad with seven sponges wrapped in alcantara. Being one piece, they are frozen and cannot be adjusted. The driver’s seat moves forwards and back on traditional rails, manually of course. The passenger seat cannot be moved – at all. As statements of intent go…

It’s not just the seats that hint at what you’re letting yourself in for. McLaren removed most of the carpeting from the inside saving a few kilos, the glovebox saves one more. You could remove the AC and speakers and save around 13 kilos – don’t. Elsewhere, the wheels and Trofeo R rubber combined save 21 kgs, wishbones and uprights 10.2, exhaust 12.6, wiring 3.3, thinner glass 2.1 and a host of body panels in carbon save a further 7.2 kilograms. That’s 100 – spec the Spider and you undo half of McLaren’s hard work and stuff 50 kilograms of roof motors back in, still 50 kilograms lighter than the 570S Coupe and believe me when I say it is worth every gram.

If you’ve read or watched any reviews of the LT Spider you’ll be aware of the hype and why everyone fell in love with it. As many before me have reported, there’s a hack – keep the roof up and the rear window down. Put the drivetrain in Sport, not track, and hit it. The sound from the V8 is not tuneful but its intense. The top mounted exhausts that are situated so close to the rear window and the lack of wind noise from having the roof up combine to concentrate the brutality into an angry, merciless cacophony of tyranny. It’s like nothing else. The gear shifts in sport are just as barbarous and put the infamous Aventador changes to shame, even with a dual clutch gearbox courtesy of Ignition cut.

Want to be fast and smooth? Engage track and the LT stops being a drama queen and becomes a speed freak. Ignition cut is traded for inertia push which harnesses the engine’s torque for a feeling of positive acceleration throughout the shift. It’s wizardry that makes the shifts feel supple, smooth and blooming quick. It’s a shame that the downshifts are not always available upon command as they are with Porsche’s PDK. The dramatic shifts in sport compensate and will have you laughing.

Another point of contention is turbo lag. McLarens are heavily turbocharged and you can feel it. There is a fatty wall of lag that melts away into tyre shredding torque in the midrange, but below 3,000rpm you feel it slugging away before the explosive turbos are spinning at their best. One element that few could ever criticise is the uncorrupted steering that features a traditional hydraulic rack. Like all McLarens it is a joy to flow through the bends being fed granular, accurate feel from the front tires.

Enough technical ‘torque’, what is it like drive? As my Saturday morning introduction highlighted, the 600LT is all you could ask for and so much more if you’re looking for a car that looks, feels and is special. It gets better the harder you push and you learn more about how to access that intoxicating speed the more you drive it. It gets under your skin, one of those cars you’ll empty the milk down the sink for so you can have an excuse to tell your partner you need to nip down to the shops. For me, that’s what these cars are for, not just to set lap times on track days, that’s where the Senna is in a class of one, but to test and goad you to learn their idiosyncrasies and make you a better driver – to bring a smile to your face and hit you with a sensory overload on the way. There may be 592 brake horsepower and 620 Nms, but you feel the LT is on your side.

It’s makes you feel alive and it’s why the 600LT Spider is correctly heralded as one of the greatest car that McLaren has built – it has soul and character. Know someone that says McLarens are cold and not engaging to drive? Put them in an LT Spider and watch them smirk at the antisocial sounds and struggle to articulate to sensation of speed.