What you’re looking here is the most extreme McLaren car ever, capable of toppling record track times but also mild mannered enough for the weekly shop. It is called the McLaren Senna and it feels like Christmas has come early.
Weighing 1,198kg, it is the lightest McLaren road car since the iconic McLaren F1 and it makes great use of this weight advantage by incorporating a four-litre twin-turbocharged V8 – the most powerful McLaren road car internal combustion engine ever.
Boasting a power output of 789bhp and up to 800Nm of torque, that gives the Senna a power-to-weight ratio of 658bhp-per-tonne.
McLaren claims that performance will be ‘savage’, and we believe them, but no acceleration figures have been confirmed yet. We’d hazard an educated guess that it could clear a 0-62mph sprint in under three seconds.
To be honest, we’d expect nothing less from a car that looks like this. It is shocking, aggressive and unforgiving with downforce and aerodynamic balance shaping a car that McLaren describes it as “the purest expression yet of [our] ‘form follows function’ design philosophy”.
A top-down view reveals its efficient teardrop shape with body components ‘clipped’ onto the cabin to deliver optimal aerodynamic performance. McLaren’s designers went to extremes by cutting open the ‘shrink-wrapped’ body to reduce weight visually and functionally.
While recognisably a McLaren in proportional terms, you cannot follow a single line from the front to the rear without it passing through a functional air intake or vent.
You don’t decide to name your new car after the world’s greatest racing driver on a whim either, but the car was developed with the help of nephew and McLaren ambassador Bruno Senna and very much received the blessing of the Senna estate.
“Our family is extremely proud of the naming of the new Ultimate Series McLaren Senna,” said Bruno.
“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.”
The McLaren Senna will be hand-built in England at the McLaren Production Centre and if you fancied buying one, tough. Not only do they command a £750,000 asking price, only 500 will ever be produced and all of them have already been spoken for.
Those lucky customers who can anticipate Senna ownership will receive their new toy from the third quarter of 2018, following a wider reveal at the Geneva Motor Show in March.