Following on from the Instagram photos we post last night, the official details of the McLaren Senna have now become available. The Senna joins the Ultimate Series with some of the design decisions becoming clear for the first time!
As you will have gathered, the brand new hypercar bears the name of the legendary Formula 1 driver, Ayrton Senna. It is apparently 100% road legal but has been designed as the ultimate McLaren track car.
Mike Flewitt explains, “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.”
The McLaren Senna is the lightest McLaren since the McLaren F1. It weighs in at just 1,198kg (2,641lbs). It is underpinned by a Monocage III chassis with every panel built from carbon fibre and optimised for weight.
McLaren admit that the design is fragmented and not easy to look at. It has been designed with a pure focus on aerodynamics and downforce. McLaren claim you “cannot follow a single line from the front to the rear without it passing through a functional air intake or vent”.
Body components, including the door mechanisms are clipped into the interior to allow for massive cut-away sections. An entirely new front and rear active aerodynamics package has also been developed.
At the rear, gurney flaps move the air away from the rear deck. The ‘slash cut’ finishers of the Inconel and titanium exhaust exit direct the exhaust gas away from the rear wing. The single blade rear LED taillights minimising interruptions to airflow. The rear also features a double diffuser and a huge, hydraulically actuated, double element rear wing.
The doors are interesting too. Said to open in a may inspired by the McLaren F1, the have noticably lower sills. They feature a two-piece glass side window with the lower half appearing to be an optional part to replace the carbon fibre.
Underneath the extreme bodywork sits a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, the most powerful McLaren road car internal combustion engine ever. It produces a stunning 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm (590 lb ft) of torque. The power-to-weight ratio of 668PS-per-tonne is guaranteed to produce staggering performance.
The McLaren Senna uses a dual-clutch, seven-speed gearbox to send power to the rear wheels. A new RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II) hydraulic suspension system works with front and rear active aerodynamics. Particular work on the damping and steering weight has ensured that the Senna feels alive at most speeds. The braking system is also the most advanced ever fitted to a McLaren road car.
McLaren bill the Senna as the ultimate interpretation of the connection between driver and car which means it will likely prove an event to drive. McLaren have not succumbed to some of the technical advancements other manufacturers are using. The Senna is a pure rear-wheel drive machine, designed to ensure the dynamics feel right!
In terms of style, the front aero blades are available to be finished in one of five McLaren colour themes including Azura Blue and McLaren Orange.The accent colours are applies to the brake calipers, door gas struts and seat trims.
Inside, the cockpit is stripped back. Alcantara and leather are available to cover the surfaces. The driver controls are kept to a minimum and the steering wheel is refreshingly free of any buttons or switches. The folding driver display is carried over from the 720S. Perhaps most recognisable is the extreme seats which resemble racing buckets, homologated for the road. The McLaren Senna is no GT car with luggage space confined to the chamber behind the seats.
Only 500 will be built during the third quarter of 2018. They will be priced at £750,000 including UK taxes although presumably will be destined for markets beyond the UK. For the public, the Geneva Motor Show 2018 will be your first opportunity to take a look.
Brunno Senna, Ayrton’s nephew, had this to say: “Our family is extremely proud of the naming of the new Ultimate Series McLaren 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.”