McLaren Senna GTR: uncompromised, unconstrained and unshackled by regulations.
This year’s Geneva Motor Show was a very electric affair, beside the barrage of electric cars, Aston Martin stole the show with a flurry of concepts and of course there was ‘that’ one-off Bugatti. The really interesting events were happening outside of the show. Apollo and De Tomaso prowling around the town in matching camouflaged cars, various collectors sharing their hyper cars and the media dinners where little nuggets of information are teased out.
Once again McLaren didn’t disappoint, on top of the teased new GT model we were treated to photos and information on the finished McLaren Senna GTR, first revealed at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.
The hard facts:
825PS and a 1188kg dry weight give a power-to-weight ratio of 649PS per tonne
Downforce levels are now available at 15% lower speeds than the road going Senna
Downforce peaks at more than 1000kg
Only 75 cars will be built and they are all sold
The quickest McLaren outside of Formula 1
Deliveries September 2019
£1.1 million plus taxes
“The McLaren Senna GTR is a perfect example of our determination to bring our customers the Ultimate expression of track driving performance and excitement. The McLaren Senna was designed from the outset to be an extreme track car, but the 2018 McLaren Senna GTR Concept suggested how much more further we could go and now, free from the constraints of road car legislation and motorsport competition rules, we have pushed the limits of what is technically possible to advance circuit driving capability to another level entirely.”
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive
McLaren Automotive’s most track-focused Ultimate Series car has evolved in key areas to deliver on its promise of hypercar power and accessible handling with the aerodynamics and chassis of a thoroughbred racer. The result is a machine able to lap circuits faster than any McLaren outside Formula 1, providing its owners, of all abilities, with an unparalleled track driving experience.
The Senna GTR joins the road-going Senna and new Speedtail in the brand’s top level Ultimate Series. Just like the road-going Senna, the GTR will offer its owners a blank canvas for personalisation via McLaren Special Operations. The road-going Senna has proved to be hugely fascinating with owners choosing conservative hues and wild race liveries and no doubt the Senna GTR will continue this theme.
The McLaren Senna GTR is powered by the most extreme version yet of McLaren’s 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine. The extra 25PS has been achieved by engine control recalibration and removing the secondary catalyst to reduce back pressure. Removing the catalyst also heightens the aural experience of driving the McLaren Senna GTR.
The exhaust system of the concept, which exited through side pipes just ahead of the rear wheels, has been replaced with a more conventional rear exit system on the production car, with the pipes now emerging from the rear deck under the rear wing in the same location as the Senna. The change was made for the purest of engineering reasons: the side exit pipes may have looked the part, but the rear exit pipes provided the shortest, quickest route for exhaust gases to exit, saving weight and reducing complexity.
The McLaren Senna GTR generates astonishing levels of downforce, peaking at more than 1,000kg, a 200kg increase over the road-legal McLaren Senna. A completely different downforce ‘curve’ means the McLaren Senna GTR can call on an equivalent amount of downforce to the McLaren Senna at 15% lower vehicle speed, while still benefitting from reduced drag.
The front splitter has been reprofiled and the rear diffuser reduced in size compared to the components on the 2018 GTR Concept, to optimise performance and meet the required track performance standards. Other changes in comparison to the Concept include new dive planes on the front corners and vortex generators either side of the car to ensure a stable airflow underneath.
The new front splitter features a raised centre section to feed air under the car back to the diffuser. The efficiency of the diffuser has, in turn, been optimised by the new rear wing – a design featuring LMP1-style endplates that connect wing to body in dramatic fashion and are a highly effective way to guide air around the back of the car.
Compared to the standard McLaren Senna wing fitted to the 2018 GTR Concept, the wing of the McLaren Senna GTR has been reprofiled and relocated, having been pushed backwards so its trailing edge is now outside the car’s footprint. This new, ‘free of road car restrictions’ position allows the wing to be coupled to the diffuser, making best use of the air flowing over the rear of the car.
By not having to comply with GT3 regulations, the Senna GTR gets 19-inch rims like the road-legal Senna, but with a centre-lock design. The Ultra-Lightweight forged alloy wheels are also wider than current GT3 regulations allow, being 10J at the front and 13J at the rear. The 19-inch tyres are Pirelli slicks, sized 285/650 front and 325/705 rear.
The larger wheels allow even larger brakes than those fitted to a McLaren 720S GT3 car, delivering a hugely impressive braking system. Like the road-legal McLaren Senna, the Senna GTR also has an air brake function on the rear wing, which in this guise has been designed to deliver 20 per cent greater maximum deceleration on its slick tyres than its road/track counterpart.
The McLaren Senna GTR is left-hand drive only. An FIA-approved, lightweight carbon-fibre racing seat and six-point FIA harness is fitted, with a passenger seat available as a no-cost option. As befits a track-only car, the pared-back cabin does without airbags, infotainment and other driver aids. There is a satin finish to the carbon-fibre elements of the interior, the sills are covered in black carpet – the only carpet in the car, in fact – and the headlining is Alcantara®.
The folding instrument cluster and steering wheel from the road car have been replaced by race-spec items. The driver screen displays key data in the simplest forms, with a row of gearshift LEDs along the top edge. LEDs up the side of the pod count down the closing distance of cars behind via the standard anti-collision radar system, as used by top-tier endurance race cars. An additional centre display, replacing the road-Senna’s touch-screen, shows the view from the rear-mounted camera.
The race-spec steering wheel is based on the GT3 car’s wheel but with different functionality for the buttons, in line with the cabin’s one-button/one function ethos. The wheel, which is adjustable for both reach and rake, is quick release and features integrated gearchange paddles.
The Senna GTR is equipped with a pit-to-car radio and two on-board cameras: one forward facing and one in the cabin. There are simple on-off buttons for launch control, pit lane speed control and light rain dynamic setting. As with the road-legal McLaren Senna, the engine start button is mounted in the roof. And when that big red button is pressed, the McLaren Senna GTR snarls into life, ready to deliver Ultimate thrills on the track of your choice.
We can’t wait to see and hear the first cars on track.