VIDEO: MCLAREN GIVES US THE SENNA – AN EXTREME 789BHP TRACK-FOCUSED HYPERCARDate: 2017-12-15
McLaren has revealed the second Ultimate Series model; a lightweight, track-focused hypercar.
Named after three-time Formula 1 World Champion, Ayrton Senna, McLaren says a portion of the car’s profits will go to the foundation set up in his name. All 500 examples have been snapped up at £750,000.
With extreme, aero-optimised bodywork, a stripped-back cabin and a 789bhp twin-turbo V8, it’s said to give “the most intense circuit experience of any road McLaren”.
The Senna sits alongside the forthcoming three-seat BP23 in the Ultimate Series range.
Andy Palmer, McLaren's Vehicle Line Director, says that the brief given to engineers was to “make it as fast as we possibly can going around a track, but also make it road legal”. Palmer also describes it as the “lightest, fastest, most engaging McLaren yet”.
The body is made entirely of carbon-fibre and optimised for aerodynamic efficiency and downforce. Styled as a ‘teardrop’, it features huge gulleys and louvres in the side that channel air down and over the car, and there are a number of cooling vents to feed the car’s multiple radiators. The Senna also gets two-piece glass windows, with the option of a glass insert for the lower half of the dihedral doors for better on-track visibility.
The rear sports three exhausts that sit high and flush with the bodywork, while a huge carbon rear wing is mounted on ‘pylons’, which rise above it and attach to the top, increasing the surface area on the bottom of the wing. Much of the car’s mechanical elements are visible from the back thanks to a giant double diffuser, which can increase in height to boost downforce.
But that’s not all, that rear wing is hydraulic and tilts and adjusts to balance downforce and aero, it also acts as an airbrake under heavy braking. Front aero includes moveable flaps hidden in the air intakes to direct cool air to where it is needed most.
It's a light-weight too at just 1,198kg (about the same as a Ford Focus), which means the Senna has a power-to-weight ratio of 658bhp/tonne. That’s better than a P1 and partly due to a new type of super-light carbon tech McLaren have developed. It means the dihedral doorframe weighs only 8.8kg, and the carbon tub just 75kg.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, which produces 789bhp and 800Nm of torque, is connected to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission – it's the most powerful road-legal McLaren engine ever created.
Palmer said "hybridisation was considered, but discounted, as it didn’t sufficiently benefit lap times." The Senna mechanically amplifies sounds from the air intakes and engine to deliver a better sensory experience.
There are no performance or lap-time data available yet but less than three seconds for the 0-62mph time and a top speed over 200mph. Importantly though, McLaren have said lap-times are more important to them than the performance stats.
The Senna’s has McLaren’s RaceActive Chassis Control II system and a double wishbone setup with hydraulic adaptive dampers and anti-roll bars. The variable stiffness and ride height tech is said to be further developed over the 720S and P1. It now has Race mode to accompany the usual Comfort, Sport and Track settings, which makes the car even stiffer, and drops the body even lower to the ground.
McLaren states the braking system is the most advanced it has ever made for the road. The new carbon ceramic brakes have a special ‘CCMR’ compound feature which takes seven months to produce just one – giving them a far greater thermal efficiency than traditional carbon ceramics. Bespoke Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo tyres are standard, with road-legal tread aimed primarily designed for track use.
Climb on board and you're struck by its minimalism. The door handles, window switches and engine start button are on the roof, while the pared-back dashboard design features only the essentials. There are two double-layer carbon bucket seats with foam padding, which slide back and forth with the gear selector panel for better ergonomics.
The infotainment system is mounted on a freestanding panel, and the sliding digital instrument cluster is lifted straight from the 720S. The only luggage area to speak of is a space behind the driver’s head specifically designed for two helmets.
Although all examples have been allocated to buyers, the first public debut of the Senna will be at next year’s Geneva Motor Show in March.
Check out the video below for more.