By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
McLaren has unveiled their most extreme road car yet and named it after the most extreme racing driver to ever pilot one of their F1 cars, the one and only Ayrton Senna. The new McLaren Senna is their most track focused offering to date with a 4.0 liter twin turbocharged V8 that develops 789 horsepower and 590 lb ft of torque. The car is also the lightest McLaren since the original F1 and comes in at a svelte 2,641 pounds, albeit without fluids onboard. It is the second car in the company’s Ultra Series after 2013’s incredible P1.
The new car features all manner of active aerodynamics including flaps in the intakes around the headlights as well as a massive, active rear wing that features DRS in a clear nod to McLaren’s F1 machines. Like the P1 before it, the Senna also has extremely adjustable ride height settings. Race mode lowers the car 50 mm, which boosts claimed downforce by an incredible 40 percent.
McLaren developed the car because they felt they could not push as hard as they had wanted to with the P1. In making it a true road car they left some performance on the table and it is the Senna’s job to address that while still retaining a minimum of road going sensibility. It should easily top most track day specials, and compete for top supercar honors with upcoming dream machines like the Aston Martin Valkyrie.
It might not be the prettiest McLaren, but it pushes the styling envelope beyond its purposeful looks with fantastic gorilla glass panels in the doors that add a very concept car cool to the exterior. Watching the pavement fly by just inches from your side will surely heighten the sensation of speed in what already looks to be one of the fastest, most aggressive supercars you can buy. That is, if you could only buy it. Only 500 will be produced and they are already spoken for. There will be an even more extreme track only GTR version, but no doubt that will sell out instantly as well.
Thankfully the car doesn’t just pay tribute to Ayrton Senna in name only as a portion of the proceeds for each car will go to the Ayrton Senna Institute, which helps over 1 million Brazilian children living in poverty.
Senna wasn’t beloved just for his incredible talent on track, but also for his deep appreciation and devotion to the Brazilian people who he helped immensely in his short time on this earth. It is good to see that McLaren has not forgotten them in their vehicular tribute to F1’s most legendary character.