27 April, 2018

McLaren Unveils New "Senna" 

Read time 8-9 mins

The McLaren Senna has been unveiled and it's a track-focused hypercar (a monster). They honoured their former F1 racing driver Ayrton Senna by naming the car after him. If one thing is certain then watching it delicately grace racing tracks will be reminiscent of the man himself.

The newest addition to McLaren's Ultimate Series which already has the P1 on the roster, It's a bold step in a new direction for McLaren who has relentlessly sought to extract as much performance from this car as possible. 

Before we get started, who is the man behind the inspiration?

Aryton Senna - The Icon

Born in Brazil, Aryton showed his promise and delivered by working his way up the pyramid to reach Formula 1. His style of driving quickly earned him plaudits in the paddock and a few rivals. One of his biggest rivals was the French driver Alain Prost whom he battled with for many years.

“This is the first project that really connects with Ayrton’s racing spirit and performance,” - Bruno Senna

Aryton Senna was renowned for his ability to race Formula 1 cars to their limits which won him millions of fans around the world. Despite suffering an untimely death, his influence on racing lives on.

Continuing their Legacy

In our search for "Britain's Greatest Car Manufacturer - McLaren" (read here), what became evident is their ability to continually push the boundaries of car design. These feats were illustrated with the McLaren F1, P1 and the 720s.

What is the McLaren Senna?

It takes the British marque to another level. It's boasting some rather striking stats compared to the other cars in its league.

With a dry weight of 1198 kg, it's already lighter than the LaFerrari (1,255 kg), the McLaren P1 (1,395 kg) and the much heavier Porsche 918 Spyder (1,674kg). This weight advantage offers a monster 660bhp per tonne! Let's get some performance stats.

The McLaren Senna possesses some enviable abilities. 

  • Top Speed - 211mph.
  • 0-62mph - 2.8sec.
  • 0-124mph in 6.8secs.
  • 0-186mph in 16.5secs.

The McLaren Senna will certainly be lapping circuits faster than anything McLaren has made before and quite possibly its biggest competition.

Philosophy of the Senna

In our article "Not every sports car is a supercar" (read here) we explored the misconception between a supercar and a sports car. Sports cars blend design, performance and speed whereas a supercar and even hypercars will throw comfort out of the window and offer some of the rawest hair-raising driving experiences available. 

“The McLaren Senna honours my uncle because it is so utterly dedicated to allowing its drivers to be the best they can possibly be.” - Bruno Senna

The McLaren Senna is exactly that and more. They have gone back to basics and ignored the popular hybrid engine and made it run solely on fuel which explains its weight advantage. It's been built with the idea of producing the purest connection between driver and car.

Now a pinnacle of McLaren design which is adorned with carbon-fibre components and laden with advanced aerodynamics, it's going to take some beating.

Trivia - During Racing Mode, the ride height changes to increase stiffness. The front lowers by 39mm and the back is lowered 30mm.

The Design of the Senna

The design of is quite fierce. McLaren has sought to extract aerodynamic performance from every millimetre of the car which meant finding ways to get rid of as much excess weight as they could possibly find. They even went as far as mapping where the body interacts with the seat and only padding those areas!

The cost of this endeavour is an eye-catching design with a rear wing which is big enough for two cars! The rear wing will help to keep the car grounded so it can achieve its goal of having minimal losses in performance.

Trivia - The rear wing weighs 4.87 kg and supports 100x times its weight in downforce. It contributes around 500kg of the car's 800kg of downforce at 155mph.

Further additions to the car are bigger improvements in many of the areas the P1 had excelled in. For example, lateral grip, downforce and brake pads which are said to take 7 months to make and more!    

Trivia -The Senna can decelerate from 124mph to 0 in 100m compared to the P1's 116m.

Does the Senna Replace the P1?

The McLaren Senna is not a direct successor to the P1.

It's true that they are both a part of McLaren's ultimate series but the P1 had to compromise with both track and road requirements and this lead to some compromises. However, the McLaren Senna was specifically made for the track and thus, McLaren was able to extract more performance from it.

Final Words

The McLaren Senna will set you back £1million which puts it in the same bracket as the LaFerrari. It's a fierce statement from McLaren and to see how the rest of the market reacts will be something we look forward to writing about!

McLaren's strong ties to Ayrton Senna also extend to his family. They have pledged to make a donation to the Senna Foundation charity for each of the 500 they will make and all 500 have sold out!

What are your thoughts on the McLaren Senna?

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McLaren Senna - the new track-focused Hypercar
McLaren Senna - the new track-focused Hypercar
McLaren Senna - the new track-focused Hypercar