McLaren Senna – The ultimate road-legal track car
Any automotive vehicle named after one of the most legendary racing drivers to ever live, surely sounds like it’s going to impress. When that racing driver is the late Ayrton Senna, known as one of the fastest men to grace the circuit, it needs to do more than just impress, but rather blow us away. Welcome the McLaren Senna, the second vehicle in McLaren’s Ultimate Series, dubbed the ultimate road-legal track car.
You commit yourself to such a level where there is no compromise. You give everything you have; everything, absolutely everything.” – Ayton Senna
McLaren vehicles are known for their everyday supercar usability, the McLaren Senna is not that type of car. McLaren designed this vehicle to provide the purest connection between driver and vehicle and deliver the most intense circuit experience of any road going McLaren.
The exterior design immediately gives off a sense of speed, seriousness and performance. You may disagree, but the front end strikes me as a combination of a McLaren 720s and the Gumpert Appollo. Its sharp, edgy and features a multitude of scoops, lines and crevasses for aero purposes. In fact, McLaren says you cannot follow a single line from the front to the rear without it passing through a functional air intake or vent. It’s undoubtedly beautiful body is short and features a huge rear wing. HotWheels comes to mind, and we all know from our childhood days how awesome HotWheels cars were.
The visual carbon fibre elements are stunning, but what’s even more outstanding is that the lower half of the door side can be specified with glass as a replacement to the carbon fibre panel, increasing the sense of space inside the cabin and amplifying driver connection.
Sounds pretty wild, doesn’t it? It is. Over 789 hp (588kW) and 800Nm can be expected from the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged v8, which is the most powerful internal combustion engine produced by McLaren for a road-going vehicle. It also features dry sump lubrication and a flat-plane crankshaft. There’s more, the McLaren Senna Is the lightest McLaren since its rebirth with a dry weight of just 1,198kg, it’s also the strongest thanks to the improved carbon fibre Monocage III chassis. Further, everybody panel bolted to this chassis isalso made from carbon fibre, resulting in a power to weight ratio of nearly 500 kW per tonne.
With this level of power, you can imagine that much grip is required, and this comes in the form of ground-breaking front and rear active aerodynamics. Every part of the vehicle is not just an element of visual design, but rather an aid in an aerodynamic capacity to optimise downforce and balance. Assisting the active aerodynamics and the unmissable double diffuser is the RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II) hydraulic suspension system. This system compromises of double wishbone suspension and hydraulically interconnected two-valve dampers, which allow for bump and compression to be controlled individually. There is a Race Mode of course, which brings into play a lower ride height, lower centre of gravity and much stiffer suspension. This mode is activated by a roof-mounted switch. Comfort, Sport and Track modes are all accessed via the centre console.
Along with many elements of this car, the braking system is also the most advanced system ever fitted to a McLaren vehicle. We are not told much, just that it uses Carbon Ceramic discs and motorsport technologies. Bespoke Pirelli P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres are the choice of rubber, fitted to an ultra-lightweight race inspired alloy wheel.
As much as the McLaren Senna provides ground-breaking performance, McLaren also wanted this vehicle to provide a driving experience like no other. Noise contributes massively to this factor and McLaren engineers decided that the full mechanical symphony of the engine needed to be a sensory experience. The driver will experience high-frequency sounds caused by rushing air into the roof-mounted intake, all while low-frequency engine sounds are transferred into the cockpit through unique engine mounts, which make it seem as if the V8 is sitting right alongside the driver. We can only imagine the noise provided by gear changes using the dual-clutch, seamless-shift, seven-speed gearbox.
Now, all we need to know is how fast it can go around Nurburgring!
McLaren Senna Pricing and availability
The McLaren Senna will be hand-assembled in, Production will be limited to 500 vehicles, each costing from £750,000 or R13.6M (at the time of writing) and all are already allocated.
Also published on Medium.