The 789bhp McLaren Senna Doesn't Give A Damn About Anything Other Than Lap Times

The function-led McLaren Ultimate Series newcomer may not be the most aesthetically-pleasing thing to come out of the MTC, but it's set to be brutally fast
The 789bhp McLaren Senna Doesn't Give A Damn About Anything Other Than Lap Times

The latest car in McLaren’s Ultimate Series is here, and yes, it is a rather challenging thing in the aesthetics department. It’s called the Senna - named after you know who - and we haven’t seen function surpass form quite so dramatically in a supercar since the Gumpert Apollo. The result is a road-legal, track-focused car that looks downright weird from some angles.

It’s all - as you’d expect - down to aerodynamics and cooling. As McLaren puts it, “you cannot follow a single line from the front to the rear without it passing through a functional air intake or vent.”

The McLaren Senna is named after a certain driver who did rather a lot of winning for Woking's F1 team in the 80s and 90s...
The McLaren Senna is named after a certain driver who did rather a lot of…

The front end is dominated by a gigantic splitter and ‘aero blades’, while at the back you’ll find a double diffuser - the thing that was banned from F1 a few years back - and an active rear wing. But this is a littler cleverer than your usual active wing that changes position for a certain mode and/or speed: it adjusts constantly, and also acts as an air brake. It’s huge too, with the dual-element, hydraulically-actuated unit having 6500cm2 of surface area.

Then there’s the rear clamshell. See those “stepped louvres” on the rear deck? These work together with a set of gurney flaps just ahead, with a low pressure area sucking hot air out of the radiators, and the louvres making sure the resulting airflow doesn’t muck up the efficiency of the rear wing.

The 789bhp McLaren Senna Doesn't Give A Damn About Anything Other Than Lap Times

Mounted in the middle you’ll find the most powerful McLaren road car engine ever. It displaces 4.0 litres, kicks out 789bhp and 590lb ft, and has just 1198kg of car to punt around. That last figure - by the way - makes this the lightest McLaren road car since the legendary F1.

The car is built around McLaren’s carbonfibre ‘MonoCage III’ tub, and the bodywork is predominantly made from carbonfibre. The doors are particularly interesting, as they each have optional glass sections above and below the ‘regular’ window. The top bit of glass - which forms part of the roof when the door is closed - is available as it “enhances the sense of space inside the cockpit” while the lower part “dramatically reinforces the visual connection between driver and track environment.”

The 789bhp McLaren Senna Doesn't Give A Damn About Anything Other Than Lap Times

The Senna has “race-derived” double-wishbone suspension, plus McLaren’s RaceActive Chassis Control II hydraulically-linked dampers. This system negates the need for a regular, mechanical anti-roll bar, and also features two valves for each damper to allow independent adjustment of compression and rebound.

In the cabin there’s an absence of, well…pretty much anything. Partly to reduce weight, and partly to reduce distractions for the driver: you’ll notice there aren’t any buttons on the steering wheel, for instance. The sills meanwhile have been kept deliberately low to make ingress and egress easy, even if you’re wearing a full race suit and helmet.

Tempted? Tough, you can’t have one. Not just because each costs £750,000: McLaren is only building 500, and each and every one is spoken for.




12/10/2017 - 12:18 |
2 | 2

Hottest car of 2018

12/10/2017 - 12:21 |
6 | 6

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

It would be if it wasn’t for the Project One and Valkyrie…

12/10/2017 - 14:26 |
10 | 0

Most will hate the design initially, but I think it will grow on people, like it happened with the 720S

P.S. Those glass doors look mega. So do the exhaust tips. And that winggg

12/10/2017 - 12:24 |
74 | 2

Plus, this car is not about the design, but about setting a new benchmark for hypercars. It’s about beating the Porsche’s Nurburgring record, and potentially fighting the Valkyrie and the Project 1. And with that name, McLaren must be confident, that it will succeed… I hope it will!

12/10/2017 - 12:25 |
30 | 0

the glass is probably plexiglass or some really light plastic

12/10/2017 - 22:03 |
2 | 0

A cross breed between a Gumpert Apollo and a 720s. I like it tho

12/10/2017 - 12:32 |
16 | 0
Ewan23 (The Scottish guy)

Thank you Matt Robinson someone finally understands this car, and didn’t judge a book by its cover witch is what everyone else done.

12/10/2017 - 12:36 |
186 | 0

The issue is, the only thing we can do is judge it by its cover. We have no idea actually how fast it goes. When the only thing we can go by is it’s looks and how much horsepower it has. For all we know, it could only be just as fast as a P1.

12/10/2017 - 14:07 |
34 | 10

Well we know what Matt has to say but what about James May?

12/10/2017 - 18:11 |
2 | 0

i agree

12/12/2017 - 13:12 |
2 | 0
Joseph Le Corre

From the side it looks like a 720s that’s been to the gym.

12/10/2017 - 12:56 |
0 | 0
FLixy Madfox

Ya know… Seeing it in orange and black… You can’t help to think of a veilside rx7

12/10/2017 - 12:57 |
0 | 0

Is it fast? Yes.
Is it an absolute monstrosity to look at? Yes.

12/10/2017 - 13:02 |
12 | 14

This is what happens when a 720S and P1 GTR have a baby

12/10/2017 - 13:07 |
4 | 2
ThatMercFan🅱️oi (EDM ftw) (Likes Aventadors) (O

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

With some Multipla mixed in.

12/10/2017 - 17:50 |
2 | 0

I want that wing.

12/10/2017 - 13:16 |
6 | 0



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