For all the mystery surrounding the nature of the first McLaren Ultimate Series, the car was unveiled rather unceremoniously at midnight last night. And, well, it’s named after a dead man. But what a man! The all-new McLaren Senna is the “ultimate” car in every way, offering unrivaled performance on both road and track.
At least that is the pitch. The spec sheet is not particularly overwhelming. McLaren Senna has only 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm (590 lb ft) to play with, which by the standards of today’s hypercars is not that impressive. But this thing is a racer at heart, and as such it does not rely entirely on power for speed. The Senna puts a premium on lightness, focused and sophisticated chassis, and advanced electronics. That is why it could potentially beat all the other hypercars, and some race cars, at a circuit race. Think of this car as the ultimate 720S.
Weighing at 1,198kg (2,641lbs), the modern-day McLaren F1 boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 668PS-per-tonne, which is the real key to its performance. McLaren Senna features carbon fibre chassis and body panels, a mid-mounted twin-turbo V8 engine with no electric assistance, race-derived suspension, electro-hydraulic steering, and rear wheel drive. So it’s fair to say this car is not built to smash any quarter-mile or top speed records. But it could be the fastest thing ever to go around the Nurburgring.
The Senna is also not built for showing off. The design is dramatic for sure, but McLaren admits it’s more form following function. That is why they haven’t shied away from using massive aero parts to achieve their downforce goal. And to hell with beauty and style. You want that, go get a Pagani. Likewise, the interior is pretty spartan, featuring a couple of seats, a big display and a ton of carbon fiber.
Then again, McLaren Senna is not priced like most high-end hypercars. It starts at £750,000 at the factory for a limited run of 500 cars, with deliveries expected from the third quarter of 2018. Needless to say, when it reaches the free market it is going to be well over a million quid,but it’ll probably never surpass the kind of money a Huayra or a Chiron commands.