McLaren Speedtail, McLaren Ultimate Series

McLaren Speedtail will hit 250 mph without breaking a sweat, again and again

The McLaren Speedtail will arrive early next year as the brand’s successor to the legendary F1, and the hypercar’s spec sheet makes it worthy of that title.

Among the confirmed specs is a top speed of 250 mph, which the car will have no problem hitting…repeatedly.

To demonstrate this, McLaren took a Speedtail prototype to the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds located at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center and ran it to 250 mph no less than 30 times.

Such a speed makes the Speedtail the first McLaren road car to exceed the F1’s 240.1 mph recorded top speed, though to reach it, Speedtail owners will have to engage a Velocity mode which lowers the ride height by 1.4 inches and retracts the side mirror-replacing cameras to make things as streamlined as possible.

McLaren Speedtail

We also know the car packs a hybrid powertrain that likely features a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 as its internal-combustion component. McLaren on Monday confirmed a new peak output for the setup of 1,055 horsepower and 848 pound-feet of torque. That’s 20 hp more than previously.

The Speedtail isn’t a plug-in hybrid. Instead, the battery is kept charged by the engine. There will also be a method for wireless charging when the car is parked in a garage for long periods, McLaren said. The automaker didn’t state whether an electric range will be possible.

What we do know is that the battery will have a power density of 5.2 kilowatt-hours per kilogram, which according to McLaren is the highest power-to-weight ratio of any automotive high voltage battery.

The first customer example of the Speedtail is now in production at McLaren’s headquarters in Woking, United Kingdom. Deliveries commence in February 2020 and just 106 will be built, the number matching the run of McLaren F1s. Note, buyers in the U.S. will need to import the car via “Show and Display” rules since the car isn’t street legal here, due to its F1-style three-seat layout and cameras serving as side mirrors.

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Formula One, McLaren Senna, McLaren Ultimate Series

McLaren Senna XP specials celebrate their eponymous F1 legend

With its brutalist styling, punishing performance, and severe lack of creature comforts, McLaren’s Senna is certainly an acquired taste. However, there’s no denying the desirability of the latest Senna XP developed by McLaren Special Operations on a commission from McLaren Beverly Hills.

Just three of the Senna XPs have been built, each of them carrying a price tag of $1,435,328. Considering the Senna is sold out, the price could be considered a bit of a bargain by some.

While McLaren has built and sold 500 Sennas to customers, there are additional prototype versions. Denoted an XP by the automaker, short for “Experimental Prototype,” these are the cars that were used for development of the Senna. McLaren Beverly Hills managed to secure three of these prototypes and has since commissioned the MSO personalization department to rebuild the cars for public sale.

Each of the rebuilt XPs are unique thanks to liveries that highlight the national flags of countries were Ayrton Senna, the Formula One legend from which the cars draw their name, made astonishing achievements.

McLaren Senna XP – Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

The Home Victory car features the flag of Senna’s native Brazil and celebrates his win in the 1991 Brazilian Grand Prix. Against all odds, he managed to cross the finish line first despite a malfunction in the closing laps that left him with only sixth gear to rely on. After the race, Senna said, “It wasn’t the greatest victory of my life, but one where I gave everything I had.”

McLaren Senna XP - Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

McLaren Senna XP – Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

The Master of Monaco car celebrates Senna’s six wins, five of which were consecutive victories, at the iconic Monaco street circuit between 1989 and 1993. Although speed isn’t a major factor here, the drivers get closer to the barriers than at any other Grand Prix, making it quite the challenge as drivers can never relent on their focus throughout the race.

McLaren Senna XP - Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

McLaren Senna XP – Photo credit: Robert Grubbs

The Lap of the Gods car pays respect to one of Senna’s greatest victories, when at the 1993 European Grand Prix held at the United Kingdom’s Donington Park, he managed to move from fifth to first place in wet conditions by the end of the first lap. To this day, it’s still regarded as one of the best opening laps of an F1 race.

The special liveries have been applied by hand over exposed gloss carbon fiber body panels. The cars also feature custom cabins to match their exteriors, with special touches like etched accelerator pedals, custom embroidery, and a plaque signifying each of the cars as one of one. More than 780 hours of work has gone into creating each of them.

No change was made to the mechicals, meaning peak output registers at 789 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque courtesy of a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. McLaren says 0-62 mph comes in 2.8 seconds, while 0 to 124 mph happens in just 6.8 seconds. Should an owner ever line a Senna up at the dragstrip, the supercar will dispatch the quarter mile in 9.9 seconds. Top speed? A brisk 211 mph.

Anyone keen to get a close-up look at the Senna XPs will find them on display at the Sunset GT car meet organized by the O’Gara Coach dealer group taking place in Los Angeles on December 8.

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McLaren Ultimate Series

McLaren’s next Ultimate Series member is the Elva speedster

McLaren on Wednesday revealed a dramatic speedster as the next addition to its range-topping Ultimate Series, to sit alongside past greats like the P1 hypercar, track-focused Senna, and upcoming Speedtail.

The speedster, labeled the Elva, a name from the past, is a 2-seater designed with a focus on road use, although like any McLaren, it should still be more than capable of putting in multiple hard laps at the track.

The Elva name, derived from the French elle va, or “she goes” in English, will be familiar to fans of racing history. During the early 1960s, McLaren found a number of successes with its M1A race car, especially at the Canadian Sports Car Grand Prix, the forerunner to the Canadian-American (Can-Am) Challenge Cup.

McLaren Elva and the 1964 McLaren-Elva M1A (Mk I)

Demand from customer teams started flooding in but McLaren was only a 7-man outfit at the time. In 1964, McLaren turned to British sports car manufacturer Elva and the two forged a deal that would see Elva build M1A race cars to be sold under the McLaren-Elva name. There were three versions all up: M1A (Mk1), M1B (Mk2) and M1C (Mk3).

The Elva speedster draws its inspiration from the M1A (Mk1), with some of the classic race car’s design elements directly referenced, such as the curve of the front fascia’s leading edge, the arches of the fenders, and the placement of the engine air intakes at the top of the shoulder line.

That’s where most of the similarities end, though, as the speedster is a thoroughly modern supercar built around a carbon fiber central tub and powered by an 804-horsepower version of the 4.0-liter turbocharged V-8 found in the 720S and Senna supercars. Other modern McLaren design traits include slim LED head and taillights, and the brand’s signature butterfly doors.

McLaren Elva

McLaren Elva

Performance estimates include a 0-60 mph time in under 3.0 second and a 0-124 mph time of 6.7 seconds. A top speed hasn’t been mentioned.

One of the interesting elements is the air channel that starts at the nose of the car and exits via vents in the hood just in front of the passenger cell. When driving at speed, air is directed around the passenger cell, creating what McLaren described as a “bubble of calm” for occupants. The air is directed through a 130-degree radius, using a network of transverse and longitudinally mounted carbon fiber vanes across the hood vents. Ferrari introduced a similar, albeit smaller, system in its rival Monza SP speedster. Depending on the market, the Elva can also be fitted with a fixed windscreen, however.

Just 399 Elvas are planned and the first deliveries are due to happen toward the end of 2020. If you’re interested, pricing starts at $1.69 million, positioning the car between the $1M Senna and $2.25M Speedtail. The list of personalization options are endless, though, and can quickly inflate the price. Examples include bespoke colors and trim elements, as well as a McLaren F1-style 24-carat gold engine bay heat shield.

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