In a world where the word “hypercar” is synonymous with a Formula 1-style hybrid driveline, insane amounts of power and enough teasers to make your head spin — McLaren introduces its latest hypercar — the P1’s successor with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that spins just the rear wheels — and drops the mic. Dubbed the McLaren Senna, after legendary racer Ayrton Senna, the newest Ultimate Series McLaren is more of a true McLaren F1 successor than a continuation of the P1’s groundwork.
McLaren and supercar fans might be confused by the engine — a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8. Similar to the M840T under the rear clam-shell of the 720S, it’s got an extra letter (an R) and more power. The M840TR in the Senna sends 789 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque through a dual-clutch seven-speed transmission and to the rear rubber. More important than its figures, the folks at McLaren slapped an F1-style roof scoop on the top of the car, like a real race car, for that V8 to pull the most air possible.
The suspension is hydraulic and works alongside the active aero bodywork to keep the car sucked to the road. McLaren calls it the RaceActive Chassis Control II system and it uses double-wishbone control arms at every corner, which helps keep the tires planted to the ground. The hydraulic dampers are connected to each other to work together to keep the car at the right height for every situation. In race mode, the Senna gets in race car form by lowering everything. Slowing the Senna is a set of massive carbon ceramic brakes, which work in conjunction with a special set of Pirelli Trofeo R tires that wrap race-car-ready center-lock wheels.
You might not get windows that roll all the way down, but the rear wing makes up for most of the sacrifices you have to make.
McLaren axed some luxe features to get the Senna the right shape and the right weight. Want windows that roll down? Go somewhere else. The team at McLaren designed the Senna with aerodynamics in mind and luxury features such as full windows didn’t make the cut. The interior is also full of carbon fiber and synthetic suede, but not a lot else.
However, keeping the 2,641 pound McLaren on the ground is a huge rear wing, double diffuser in the rear and a front splitter. The active aerodynamics help keep the downforce away when you don’t need it, but supply it when you do.
McLaren plans to officially debut the Senna at the Geneva motor show, but it already said how much it costs — just over $1 million. McLaren is only making 500 Sennas, and if you’re reading this before McLaren approached you — you might have a hard time getting one. If you can afford (and find) one, the McLaren Senna has the makings of something special … maybe even as special as the F1.