McLaren have a reputation for releasing new models quicker than Apple unveils new iPhones. From the expected LTs and Spiders to the surprise HS, MSO and Carbon Series models, it is fair to say that the line up can be a touch perplexing. One model that was not predicted was the 620R, a car based on the GT4 car which was based off of the 570S. ‘Just buy a 600LT’, I hear you pine – well, this is a different proposition. Where the 600LT is a fine road car with track day credentials, the 620R a race car which can be used on the road.
Whenever pushing a road car on track, even something as focused as a Senna, the general criticism is that the tyres are always the limiting factor. Bolting on a set of slicks is no simple feat as it requires significant geometry adjustments. Being a race car at heart, the 620R is an exception. It requires no chassis adjustments to accommodate a slick, in this case rubber which has specifically been formulated for the 620R by Pirelli. This is an entirely more track focused proposition than the 600LT, a toned down racer, not a turned up road car. So long as you find a way to have a spare set of wheels shod in the slick at the track you’re heading to, you can drive the 620R to the track on Trofeo Rs, swap over to the track tyres before swapping back to the road legal rubber and heading home. In my mind, this makes more sense that the Senna does, and at a fraction of the price of the Ultimate Series car.
I jumped behind the wheel at the Goodwood Motor Circuit during SpeedWeek. There was no road drive, but I hope to remedy this soon. Being cold and damp in places, the Trofeo R was the tyre for my drive, seeing as the circuit is such a high speed one, it was a chance to feel the aero offered up by the slightly altered GT4 package which now produces 185kg of downforce at 250km/h.
It is not just the downforce figure that is impressive, this is the most powerful Sports Series car yet with 612bhp and 620nm on tap meaning the 1,282kg (1,386kg wet) 620R will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 2.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 322km/h. What does this unique package cost? There will be 225 620Rs built, each starting from £250,000. For and additional £25,000 there is an optional R Pack available in EMEA regions which comprises of a titanium SuperSports exhaust, fully-functional roof scoop and visual carbon fibre upgrades to add to the race car vibe.
Enough of the details, what is this race car with numberplates like on circuit? If ever a car drives the way that it looks, this is it. The 620 looks light and extremely aero focused with it large wing, splitter and dive planes. The Goodwood Motor Circuit is an extremely high speed circuit and above 250km/h you can feel the downforce working. This in conjunction with the magnificent hydraulically assisted steering makes the 620R incredibly stable and surefooted. This encourages you to push harder and try to find the limits of the grip. Having only had a few laps to enjoy the car, I was far from exploiting its full potential, but can report that the 620R is one of the most balanced, planted and confidence inspiring cars I have driven on track. I left the drivers seat telling the McLaren team that I wished I could have had a weekend on track with it. This is a car you learn more about with every addition lap you complete.
Where the 765LT makes you think twice about how you deploy full throttle, the 620 is on your side and lets you focus on honing your skills and learning the lines of a circuit. Furthermore, you are treated to a much louder and raw experience courtesy of the titanium exhaust and the whooshing sounds of the air rushing through that towering snorkel. I cannot imagine how much more dialled in it would feel on a slick and look forward to completing this review with a road drive to understand what a road car transformed into a GT4 and then fettled with to become road legal once again, is like to drive on the street.