McLaren Names Car After Legend

Is the new Mclaren worthy to be called a Senna?

Salient features of the New MacLaren Senna:

  • New Ultimate Series is the most extreme McLaren road car yet
  • Bears the name of legendary Formula 1 driver, Ayrton Senna, honouring its status as the ultimate McLaren track car, legalised for the road
  • At 1,198kg (2,641lbs), the lightest McLaren road car since the iconic McLaren F1
  • 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 is the most powerful McLaren road car internal combustion engine ever, with 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm (590 lb ft)
  • Power-to-weight ratio of 668PS-per-tonne delivers savage performance
  • The purest connection between driver and car of any road-legal McLaren
  • Aggressive appearance epitomises ‘form-follows-function’ McLaren design philosophy
  • Mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive chassis – the optimum configuration for dynamic excellence
  • Priced at £750,000 including taxes (UK)
  • Production limited to 500 units, all hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, England from Q3 2018

Does this McLaren deserve the name Senna? (photo from McLaren)

So McLaren has finally gotten the go signal to make a car and name it after the Formula One champion and racing legend Ayrton Senna. The new McLaren Senna was created with the mission of fulfilling the personal ambition of Senna to “commit to a level where there is no compromise.”

The McLaren Senna has been designed, engineered and developed with single-minded purpose: to be the ultimate McLaren track-concentrated car for the road. Legalised for road use, but not sanitised to suit it, the new Ultimate Series deliberately compromises McLaren’s trademark breadth of supercar daily usability; instead it provides the purest connection between driver and car, to deliver the most intense circuit experience of any road McLaren.

“You commit yourself to such a level where there is no compromise. You give everything you have; everything, absolutely everything.”
Ayrton Senna

The carbon fibre Monocage III chassis that forms the core of the McLaren Senna is a further development of the structure that underpins the McLaren 720S and the strongest monocoque ever built by McLaren for a road-legal vehicle. Every body panel is made from carbon fibre, in line with a relentless focus on the weight of every individual component that has resulted in the McLaren Senna being the lightest road-legal McLaren since the iconic F1 road car, at just 1,198kg.

With maximum power of 800PS (789bhp), the McLaren Senna enjoys a power-to-weight ratio of 668PS per tonne. This statistic immediately underlines the performance credentials of the newcomer to the McLaren Ultimate Series, a product family introduced with the McLaren P1™ that is reserved for the rarest and most extreme McLaren cars.

Our family is extremely proud of the naming of the new Ultimate Series McLaren Senna. This is the first project that really connects with Ayrton’s racing spirit and performance. The McLaren Senna honours my uncle because it is so utterly dedicated to delivering a circuit experience that allows a driver to be the best they can possibly be. There is an absolute, seamless connection between car and driver and this pure engagement, these sensory cues that a driver responds to and relies upon, ensure an experience so focused and immersive that you are left in awe of the depths of excellence the McLaren Senna possesses.” – Bruno Senna, racing driver and McLaren Ambassador

The Senna shocks your senses from the first look. (photo from McLaren)

Visually, the McLaren Senna shocks. The first impression is of an aggressive, unforgiving machine, organic shapes having given way to a design language that is purposely fragmented in pursuit of absolute performance. With downforce and aerodynamic balance the guiding principles, this car is the purest expression yet of the ‘form follows function’ design philosophy embraced by McLaren.

The cockpit environment reflects the stripped-back, functional nature that is evident in every aspect of the McLaren Senna. Visual carbon fibre is used extensively. Dependent on customer preference, Alcantara® or leather covers the seats, facia and side airbags, but the absence of any other interior trim both saves weight and reveals the construction of the doors. Even the gas struts are exposed to save vital grams.

The interior of the McLaren Senna was decluttered to give more space for driving. (photo from McLaren)

Codenamed M840TR, the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine at the heart of the McLaren Senna is the most powerful road car internal combustion engine ever created by McLaren, producing 800PS (789bhp) and torque of 800Nm (590 lb ft). The engine’s dry sump lubrication and flat-plane crankshaft are technologies with their roots in motorsport. Lightweight internal components reduce mass in the powertrain and combine with ultra-low inertia, twin-scroll turbochargers and electronically controlled wastegates to deliver lightning-quick throttle responsiveness.

A dual clutch seven speed transmission controls the power of the Senna engine. (photo from McLaren)

A dual-clutch, seamless-shift, seven-speed gearbox delivers power to the rear wheels. A fully automatic mode is the default, with the driver able to choose full manual control of gear shifts via paddles mounted on a rocker behind the steering wheel. The elongated carbon fibre paddles are optimised to be used both with or without racing gloves, and create a deep sense of mechanical connection with the McLaren Senna.

The character of the 4.0-litre twin-turbo McLaren V8 and the transmission can be tailored using the Active Dynamics Panel, with the driver having a choice of Comfort, Sport or Track powertrain modes. Whatever the mode, performance is suitably savage. Throttle response is immediate and neck-snapping, pinning the driver back into their seat.

It’s public debut will be at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show in March next year. But, hey, we got the pictures here now. 

The author is a certified motorhead and has been a journalist for the past 30 years. He will be a journalist all his life. He thinks he is famous and his mother agrees. His father has another opinion on that matter.
Email him at irapanganiban@wheelsph.com

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