The car’s name demonstrates the confidence of the McLaren company in only its eighth year of existence – named after the greatest driver to sit in a McLaren Formula One car, and to many motorsport enthusiasts the greatest F1 driver of all time (apart from Alain Prost, of course, who was better on both counts… – ed).
Statistics for the McLaren Senna suggest it will live up to the billing. The car will be powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 – putting out 800hp, along with 800Nm of torque, this is the most powerful internal combustion engine McLaren has ever installed in a road car.
The car employs McLaren’s Monocage III carbon fibre chassis and body panels of the same composite material. As a result at 1.2 tonnes, it is the lightest road car to carry a McLaren badge since the iconic F1 of 1993. Power to weight ratio of the Senna is 668hp per tonne, while the body, rear wing and active aerodynamics generate some 800kg of downforce at 155mph.
All of this produces remarkable performance figures. The Senna’s 0-62mph speed is 2.8 seconds. By 6.8 seconds it will pass 124mph and go on to a terminal speed of 211mph. A quarter mile will be dispatched in 9.9 seconds.
Just 500 examples of the Senna will be built, at McLaren’s production centre near Woking in Surrey, and all have already been reserved by buyers. One was held back to be auctioned at a private event for McLaren customers in December 2017. The winning bid was £2 million, and the proceeds will go to the Ayrton Senna Institute, set up in memory of the twice F1 world champion to provide education for underprivileged children in his home country of Brazil.
McLaren admits that the Senna is effectively a racing car masquerading as a road car. “The McLaren Senna is a car like no other: the personification of McLaren’s motorsport DNA, legalised for road use but designed and developed from the outset to excel on a circuit,” says CEO Mike Flewitt.
More details of the McLaren Senna will be revealed when it debuts at the Geneva Show on 6th March – The Car Expert will be at the show to report on all the important new models unveiled at the show.