• McLaren Senna GTR

McLaren Senna GTR Gets Near-F1 Performance, Near-Airbus Wing

It's a faster, more powerful, and lighter version of the McLaren Senna.

Evan Williams By: Evan Williams March 12, 2019
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McLaren Automotive continues to build ever quicker, ever sharper, and ever more amazing cars. The latest one makes the performance gap between road and race even smaller. The company says that the McLaren Senna GTR is the quickest car they’ve ever put on track. Short of a Formula 1 car, that is.

The Senna GTR was first displayed at the Geneva show last year. There, it was billed as a concept. And while some concept cars will never see the light of day, this isn’t one of them. It’s a faster, more powerful, and lighter version of the McLaren Senna. One that McLaren says moves it “several steps further into the realm of ultimate performance.” You know, because the standard Senna is such a slouch.

If you’re wondering how they can put such a car on the street, the answer is that they can’t. The Senna GTR is meant solely for the circuit.

It starts with an engine boost. The Senna’s 4.0L twin-turbo V8 and 789 hp aren’t enough. A new engine calibration and removal of the car’s secondary catalytic converter bring the figure to 814 hp and 590 lb-ft. The company says that removing the cat “heightens the aural experience of driving” as well. Though that cat-less exhaust now exits at the rear instead of the side-pipes of the concept.

The structure uses a carbon-fibre safety cell with integrated roll cage for on-track protection. The GTR also gets integrated mounting points for a racing harness. The chassis is wider than the Senna, 77 mm in the front and 68 mm at the rear. Despite that, at 1,188 kg, the GTR is 10 kg lighter than the car it’s based on. Which makes it one of the lightest cars the company has ever built.

McLaren Senna GTR

McLaren Senna GTR

The weight loss is even more impressive when you look at the car’s extra kit. Like pneumatic air jacks, integrated radio communications, fire suppression system, and data logging. Deleting the touchscreens and audio system help, but the GTR keeps an AC system.

McLaren wanted the performance to be accessible, with a goal “that 95 per cent of the performance of the car could be accessed by 95 per cent of drivers.” Which, in a car like this, is somewhat frightening. So the Senna’s adjustable ride height and variable suspension are gone. In place are simpler double wishbones and conventionally adjustable dampers. 19-inch center-lock wheels wear 285-wide Pirelli slicks in the front and 325 in the rear.

Aero changes include details that give it a peak of 1,000 kg of downforce. 200 kg more than the Senna. McLaren also says that the car offers its downforce at a 15 percent slower speed than the standard Senna, with less drag. And just look at that rear wing. As wide as the car, and with elements that reach almost to the ground, this aerofoil is nearly worthy of a World of Outlaws Sprint Car.

McLaren is planning to build 75 Senna GTRs, with the cost starting at around £1.1 million. Of course, McLaren Special Operations will be happy to help customize yours well north of that figure.

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