Uncompromising hypercar


THE long-standing technical partnership between Pirelli and McLaren now opens up a new chapter: one of the most challenging in its history. Namely, the development of tires to guarantee the very highest levels of performance, both on and off track, for a special car with unique characteristics: the new McLaren Senna.

The car is named after legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna and is said to be inspired by his driving style. The result is a particularly extreme version of both the Pirelli P Zero Trofeo and P Zero that will equip the British hypercar. The P Zero Trofeo developed for the Senna, while conceived as a track tire, can also be used for the road. In the same way, the P Zero – by nature more of a road tire – is additionally suitable for use on the track.

To come up with the best possible product, Pirelli’s engineers relied on not only an extensive shared history with McLaren – especially when it came to developing tyres for the P1 – but above all on the lessons learned from motorsport.

The McLaren Senna is an undisguised sports car, reminiscent of a GT3 machine for the road. This is thanks to massive power (800 horsepower), an extremely light carbon fiber chassis, a sophisticated race-derived suspension system, and cutting-edge aerodynamics.

These headlining characteristics required made-to-measure tires capable of withstanding extreme acceleration and aerodynamic loads. Pirelli paid particular attention to materials to reach all the targeted objectives, choosing those most suited to state-of-the-art performance, with light weight and optimal design ensuring perfect reliability and fitness for purpose.

The combination of all these elements guarantees perfect balance and roadholding, with precise turn-in, impressive stability and maximum traction under all driving conditions, as well as reduced braking distances.

In particular, the innovative tire design, with asymmetric profiles and sidewalls, delivers optimal lateral grip and maximizes the interaction between front and rear axles. The new vehicle is a track-focused hypercar that is completely road legs.

According to the car manufacturer, the new Ultimate Series model ‘provides the purest connection between driven and car and delivers the ‘most intense circuit experience of any road McLaren.’

It is made with an ultra-lightweight construction, with carbon fiber chassis and body panels. The carbon fibre Monicage II chassis is a further development of the structure than underpins the McLaen 720S.

These weight reductions make it the lightest road legal McLaren since the iconic F1 road car, at just 1,198kg.

Powering the car is a mid-mounted 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 McLaren engine sending power to the rear wheels.

It produces 789 bhp and 800Nm of torque and is paired to a dual-clutch, seven-seed gearbox.

The cars suspension and electro-hydraulic steering that is said to give instant feedback and control.

“The McLaren Senna is a car like no other: the personification of McLaren’s motorsport DNA, legalized for road use but designed and developed from the outset to excel on a circuit,” said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.

“Every element of this new Ultimate Series McLaren has an uncompromised performance focus, honed to ensure the purest possible connection between driver and machine and deliver the ultimate track driving experience in the way that only a McLaren can.”

A new splitter adorns the front of the car, underlining three huge front air intakes and the grille.

On the bonnet are two severe scoops and around the side are more giant air intakes in-between the flared wheels arches.

More downforce is provided by the huge spoil and double diffuser at the rear.

Its been tailored and developed to improve its aerodynamics and produce more downforce to help its delivers its power more effectively to the road.

Before stepping inside the car is the dihedral doors hinge forward and upwards and are made from glass and carbon fibre, making a large portion of the doors see-through.

The doors are a part-carbon fiber part-glass.

The cockpit features an extensive use of carbon fiber and the seats, fails and side airbags can all be specified in Alcantara or leather.

Driver controls have been kept to a minimum to reduce clutter inside the cockpit and the steering wheel now contains no physical buttons, which has been done to keep focus on driving.

“The McLaren Senna delivers true performance, all the way to the limit of a driver’s ability,” said Andy Palmer, Vehicle Line Director, McLaren Ultimate Series.

“With a truly astonishing power-to-weight ratio, this car is about performance that is accessible and attainable, yet at the same time exciting and challenging for the very best drivers in the world – and with an intense, sensory experience to match.” Production will be limited to 500 vehicles, each costing from £750,000 including taxes (UK price) and all already allocated. — SG

The ultimate road-legal, track-concentrated McLaren hypercar will make its public debut in March, at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show. — SG