In the world of fast McLarens, the 720S and the P1 kind of reign supreme, don’t they? Now though, McLaren has decided to introduce a new model which slots between them, and it’s called the Senna. Yes, after THAT Senna. The one and only, legendary, three-time F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna. Naming your car after one of the greatest racing car drivers in history is brave, to say the least. You have to make sure it’s able to deliver and impress everyone, otherwise, the name gets wasted. Luckily, the Senna goes far beyond just meeting everyone’s expectations.
Visually, the car splits opinions down the middle. A lot of people seem to really dislike the way it looks, but we think it’s absolutely stunning. So it’s not as gorgeous as a 488 or the 720S it’s based on perhaps, but it’s a clear case of form following function. And for that reason alone, you can’t dislike its shape. Every single thing you see on the exterior is operational and functional. It’s there to serve a single purpose: make the Senna go faster than any other track-only McLaren before it. After looking at it for a while, it even grows on you. It’s got one of those designs.
The front end is mostly dominated by these large aero blades and the gigantic splitter. The rear houses a double diffuser, something that F1 banned a couple of years back due to the huge advantage it gave F1 cars. There’s also an active rear wing, so it adjusts its angle based on the speed and the steering input. It also doubles as an air brake, raising straight up when you slam on those massive brakes. The air brake itself houses 6500cm2 of surface area, so it’s pretty handy when it comes to stopping the Senna.
See the little-stepped louvres on the rear deck? Along with the gurney flaps just in front of them, they suck hot air out of the radiator using a low-pressure area, aiding cooling. The louvres themselves make sure the airflow doesn’t mess with the aerodynamic efficiency of the rear wing.
The middle of the car hides a real gem. The twin-turbo V8 with a 4-litre displacement delivers a whopping 789 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. That’s some 70 horsepower up on the standard 720S. The Senna is properly light too. It weighs in at just 1198 kilograms, or, in other words, as much as a small city hatchback.
No word on official performance figures, but expect a sub 3-second sprint to 62 mph and a top speed north of 210 mph. Outright speed is not what the Senna is all about though. Around a racetrack, we have no doubts it will annihilate most rivals, only being match by its bigger brother, the P1 GTR.