Say hello to the company’s most track-focused road-legal car since the McLaren F1, one that will surely snatch a tear from each motorsport fan, given the fact it bears the name of the legendary Brazilian Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna da Silva.
Let’s get the record straight, the new McLaren Senna, scheduled for its initial public premiere next year in March during the 2018 Geneva Motor Show is not the well-known “BP23” project – the latter is the true heir to the F1 with a resembling three-seat layout and a “Hyper-GT” internal designation (just 106 units will be made). Instead, the Senna and its 500-examples production run is designed as an integral part of the Ultimate Series, next to the P1, P1 GTR and the F1 spiritual successor. Now with that out of the way, let’s talk numbers – because this car really is something the goes by the “form follows function” principle. First off, all the production quota has already been allocated, even at £750,000 a pop, with benefits going to the Senna Foundation charity for each example and with McLaren declaring it the most track-focused model with road-legal status.
The design is a tribute to the aero and cooling functions, and includes active aerodynamics. There’s also see-through glass in the door panels, carbon ceramic brakes that need seven months of production time each, sitting behind the wheels shod in Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R tires. The cockpit is minimalist, but comes with an infotainment system, rear camera, 720S inspired foldable driver’s display, and a sound system – while the carbon fiber seats will be uniquely tailored to each and every driver. At 1,198kg (2,641lbs), this is the lightest McLaren road car since the famous McLaren F1, with the mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V8 engine driving the rear wheels.
“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,” comments Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.
The M840TR 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine is the most powerful iteration created by McLaren, good for 800PS (789bhp) and a maximum torque of 800Nm (590 lb ft). Drivers will hear its roar through the roof-mounted ‘snorkel’ intake and it has been linked to a dual-clutch, seven-speed gearbox – which can also be controlled via the Active Dynamics Panel, with a choice of Comfort, Sport or Track powertrain modes. McLaren also deploys the RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II) hydraulic suspension – an evolution of the pioneering hydraulic system in the McLaren P1.