The McLaren Senna is described by the British sports car firm as “the ultimate road-legal track car” and is priced accordingly: £750,000. Despite this, all 500 cars have already been allocated to customers, meaning the car effectively sold out even before its dramatic launch this weekend.
Production will start from Q3 2018, and McLaren says the Senna will make its public debut at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March.
Derived from the McLaren 720S, the second ‘Ultimate Series’ McLaren (following 2013’s McLaren P1) is the firm’s lightest road car since the original McLaren F1; it weighs 1,198kg.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is the most powerful road-going McLaren engine, producing 800hp for a power-to-weight ratio of 668hp per tonne. Exact performance figures won’t be revealed until next year; for now, McLaren’s simply calling it “savage”.
It goes further when describing the styling, saying it visually “shocks… the first impression is of an aggressive, unforgiving machine”. Organic shapes are out, fragmented and performance-focused design is in. It’s not pretty, and that’s exactly what McLaren intended.
Buyers who, for some reason, feel they need extra visual drama can choose one of five ‘By McLaren’ colourschemes for the front aero blades, brake calipers, exposed gas door struts (covers are apparently too heavy…) and seat trim: colours include Azura Blue and McLaren Orange.
There’s only one choice of wheel though: it’s ultra-lightweight, uses a racing centre lock, and is fitted with Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R track-spec, road-legal tyres.
It’s also not the most practical of road cars. It still has a passenger seat, but there’s no boot, simply a chamber behind the seats in which there’s just enough space for two helmets and race suits. Such racing focus is why McLaren’s added a button on the roof console to engage Race mode: this lowers the ride and “significantly” stiffens the suspension.
It’s all been enough to get the Senna family seal of approach. “Our family is extremely proud of the naming of the new Ultimate Series McLaren Senna,” said Ayrton’s nephew, racing driver and McLaren ambassador Bruno Senna. “This is the first project that really connects with Ayrton’s racing spirit and performance.
“The McLaren Senna honours my uncle because it is so utterly dedicated to delivering a circuit experience that allows a driver to be the best they can possibly be. There is an absolute, seamless connection between car and driver and this pure engagement, these sensory cues that a driver responds to and relies upon, ensure an experience so focused and immersive that you are left in awe of the depths of excellence the McLaren Senna possesses.”
Unless you have £750,000 but your name’s not on the list, that is.