Here's a Look at the 789bhp Hypercar McLaren Senna
McLaren has given a surprise reveal for its 789bhp hypercar Senna during the McLaren Composite Technology Centre opening in Sheffield.
This new beast of a car, which comes five years on after the memorable McLaren P1, was introduced to the public as part of the celebration of the opening of the carbon fibre chassis development and production site.
The McLaren Senna is the second member of the brand’s range-topping Ultimate Series, which is perfectly named as the “ultimate road-legal track car”, and is named after the grand prix team’s greatest racer, Ayrton Senna.
Unveiled during an exclusive event in London in the previous month, the £750,000 (over $1 M) McLaren Senna is the first in the brand’s line-up from Woking to have been aptly described by its creators as “brutal” and “unforgiving”.
The vehicle’s aesthetics and engineering is a product of analyzing the extreme active aerodynamics that come from its awe-inspiring teardrop form: a front splitter and huge rear wing (both of which have active elements) combined with straight flanks, uniquely designed wheel arches, air-absorbing scoops and inlets, and more delicate strakes and dams.
Ultimate Series vehicle line boss Andy Palmer said that the Senna’s engineering and design team worked on the car for two years, injecting carbon fibre chassis and panels into the concept while adding compact, mid-mounted twin-turbo V8, electrohydraulic power steering, and race-bred interconnected suspension to produce the most extreme care made since McLaren’s modern era commenced back in 2010.
What they ended up creating is a car with 1198 kgs, which is pretty light compared to its predecessors. It has a 9% power hike for the 4.0-litre engine, giving the Senna an incredible 660bhp per tonne power-to-weight ratio. It is not farfetched to say that it will easily clock in the fastest lap times in any McLaren production model.
There are a lot of performance figures surrounding the Senna, but perhaps this is the most astonishing. It can get from zero to 62 mph in just 2.8 seconds, and reach speeds up to 211 miles per hour.
While it is a beast in speed, Palmer was quick to point out that it wasn’t, in any way, a P1 successor.
Unlike other cars that have various capabilities, the Senna puts its focus mainly on lap times, which provides “the purest connection yet between driver and car of any road-legal McLaren.” Moreover, while the P1 was a hybrid, like half of the company’s cars come 2022, the Senna gets its power from fossil fuel, and its lack of electrification is one of the many reasons it is surprisingly light.
Practicality and luggage carrying is not considered for this hypercar. To argue, a 720S has enough room for luggage and storing other items, but this track star has very little. There’s only storage, if that’s what you call it, behind the driver’s head, and as per Palmer is only good for “two helmets, two driving suits and possibly a packet of sandwiches.”
The name of the hypercar is not only homage to the great grand prix racer, but also due to the continuing presence of Bruno Senna, which happens to be Ayrton’s nephew as well as a former Formula 1 racer, who now acts as a McLaren Automotive driver and ambassador.
“This is the first project that really connects with Ayrton’s racing spirit and performance,” Senna mentioned. “The McLaren Senna honors my uncle because it is so utterly dedicated to allowing its drivers to be the best they can possibly be.”
The core component of this impressive vehicle is an upgraded 720S carbon fibre chassis, which is now given the moniker Monocage III and said to be the most powerful chassis yet to be built in a McLaren road car. The front subframe is made of aluminum while carbon fibre forms the rear bulkhead, further bringing down the weight by an impressive 18 kgs.
A lot has been invested to making the McLaren Senna relatively light yet sturdy, such as removing bulky accessories the driver doesn’t really need to implementing unique technology. One of which is a patented technique in using carbon fibre that brings the front wing’s weight down from 2.2kg to a measly 650g, with no crucial loss of durability whatsoever.
The engine can be found at a lower position like that of the 720S, but a revamp in design let’s the rear deck get closer to the ground by another 18mm, further making it light.
The doors of the McLaren Senna have no switches and have only half-sized lowering glass panes, reducing complication in the process and bringing in the tested functionality of the McLaren F1. The doors weigh just around 8.8 kgs, which is a lot less than that of the 720S.
Engineers have gone as far as saying it has impressive downforce aside from the cutting edge aerodynamic design. The pylon-mounted rear wing can adjust by around 20 degrees, depending on the driving mode, which allows braking drag, high-speed downforce, and a “DRS mode,” all of which add to the safety of this extreme ride.
You can also find small yet extremely efficient blades at the front, which allows it to scoop air, balancing aerodynamics and downforce, allowing air to glide to the back even when cornering.
The rear deck has a low-pressure area created by Gurney flaps, drawing hot air away from the engine bay and radiators. To cause minimal interference, a four-outlet exhaust is positioned at the sloping rear deck, which is just below the rear wing but above the diffuser.
Ultralight seats are hosted in the Senna’s interior with controls grouped in a roof console, freeing the dashboard. Furthermore, the inside of the car was simplified to make sure there wasn’t any excess weight. For a time, McLaren even considered removing a passenger seat altogether just to make it even lighter.
A double wishbone layout lifted from the P1 was improved and further developed to make the McLaren Senna’s suspension setup better and more comfortable. A stiffness control coupled with this suspension upgrade keeps the ride safe and secure. The system carefully adapts to road conditions automatically, although it can also be manually set from an Active Dynamics Panel on the centre console which has Comfort, Sport and Track mode options. A Race mode can be chosen at the overhead panel of the Senna.
The McLaren Senna will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show, and production will commence by the summer. The first 500 cars which are all hand-built will be sent to their respective owners before 2018 ends. If you haven’t ordered yet, you’ve just struck out of luck unfortunately. The final model was auctioned at an event for customers, with the car unveiled in all its glory. It sold for £2 M (almost $2.8 M) with proceeds donated to the Senna Foundation.