The Senna becomes the first variant based off the 720S supercar that was revealed in 2017, but with a heavily revised engineering package that sees the new model designed as the ultimate race car for the road.
“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,” said McLaren CEO, Mike Flewitt.
“Every element of this new Ultimate Series McLaren has an uncompromised performance focus, honed to ensure the purest possible connection between driver and machine and deliver the ultimate track driving experience in the way that only a McLaren can,”
In order to deliver that pure connection McLaren has landed a one-two punch that includes stripping 100kg off the dry weight of the 720S, for a scant 1198kg overall while power from the the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 gets bumped from 537kW/770Nm in the 720S to a more substantial 588kW and 800Nm.
Power is delivered to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The Senna is able to bolt from 0-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds, 0.1 seconds faster than the stock 720S. Acceleration to 200km/h is even more astounding with the Senna dropping a full second compared to the 720S for a 0-200 km/h mark of just 6.8 seconds.
To deliver that kind of brutality McLaren has massaged the torque curve of its 4.0-litre V8 with 700Nm delivered from 3000rpm before hitting its 800Nm peak 5500rpm to 6700rpm. Peak power hits at 7250 rpm.
The Senna’s uncompromisingly aggressive design also helps thanks to numerous aerodynamic elements to help guide airflow over the car and maximise downforce. The Senna is claimed to generate a maximum 800kg of downforce.
Multiple carbon fibre elements such as the rear wing and double diffuser are major contributors to the large amount of downforce created by the Senna.
McLaren has utilised a carbon fibre monocoque and panels which help the road racer withstand the immense aerodynamic forces and keep weight down. McLaren claims exterior body panels weigh just 60kg in total.
The Senna also features upgraded suspension with adaptive dampers hydraulically connected both left to right and front to back. This is coupled with sensors - four wheel accelerometers, two pressure sensors per damper and multiple body sensors - that allow the car to react in 2 milliseconds for seamless damper response.
Ultra-lightweight 19-inch front and 20-inch rear nine-spoke forged alloy wheels are wrapped by bespoke Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres developed in conjunction with Pirelli.
McLaren has also developed a new type of high-performance carbon ceramic brakes to go with the Senna’s heady performance, utilising cooling vanes that have been machined in rather than moulded. McLaren claims each rotor take seven months to create.
The Senna’s interior keeps the motorsport theme running with Alcantara and carbon fibre trim and a minimalist Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel with carbon fibre gear shift paddles free of any buttons or switches.
A centre roof-mounted console houses the door release and window controls while the drive, reverse and neutral selection module is fixed to the driver's seat and moves with it.
The McLaren also features a portrait-style infotainment screen and an 'active dynamics panel' that displays performance figures.
A reversing camera with parking sensors is a no cost option.
Speaking of cost, the McLaren Senna is priced at £750,000 pounds, which would put it firmly around the $2m mark locally once taxes and duties have been added.
However, even those collectors with a lazy $2m to spare will find that McLaren’s small Australian allocation, and in fact the global 500 car production run, has already sold out.
2018 McLaren Senna at a glance
Price: $2 million (estimate)
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Power: 588kW at 7250rpm
Torque: 800Nm 3000-6700rpm
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
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