McLaren has revealed the Senna, which is not only being touted as the British brand’s most extreme road car yet, but also as the best road-legal track car ever.
The car’s exterior design is further being described as “aggressive” and “unforgiving”, with organic shapes giving way to a styling language that McLaren says is “purposely fragmented”.
Viewed from above, the car appears teardrop-shaped, with various body components then seemingly ‘clipped’ onto the cabin for optimal aerodynamic performance. The designers say they went to great lengths to cut open the ‘shrink-wrapped’ body in order to reduce weight both visually and functionally. As a result, you cannot follow a single line from the front to the rear without it passing through a functional air intake or vent of some kind.
Every exterior panel on the car is also made from carbon-fibre, which, combined with how the body is designed and shaped, means the Senna is the lightest road-legal McLaren since the famous F1 road car, weighing in at just 1,198 kg – that’s a significant 220 kg lighter than the new 720S.
And the Senna also gets the most powerful McLaren road car petrol engine ever, in the form of a twin-turbocharged V8 that generates 789 bhp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a dual-clutch, seven-speed gearbox, it helps the car deliver a power-to-weight ratio of 660 bhp per tonne.
Like the exterior, the mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive chassis is also formed entirely from carbon-fibre. Dubbed “Monocage III”, it is a further development of the structure that underpins the 720S and is claimed to be the strongest monocoque ever built by the Woking manufacturer for a road-legal vehicle.
“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,” says McLaren boss, Mike Flewitt. “The indomitable spirit of Ayrton Senna has always been alive at McLaren and the McLaren Senna will further amplify his global legacy and link to the McLaren brand.”
Succeeding the McLaren P1, the new Senna will sit at the top of the company’s Ultimate Series range and will be limited to a production run of just 500 units; it will make its official public debut at next year’s Geneva motor show.