10 Dec, 2017
McLaren Senna

McLaren Senna, what a name! Sounds more exciting than Ferrari Enzo? Yes, maybe, but this Senna is more likely to be Bruno Senna, the nephew of Ayrton. The latest McLaren Ultimate series car, codenamed P15, gets the Senna moniker thanks to the business partnership with Bruno Senna and his family's Senna Foundation. McLaren will donate money as well as the last of the 500 cars slated for production to the foundation for charity. All 500 cars will be delivered in 2018.

The Senna is not exactly the successor of P1, as it is powered by a conventional engine. That is why it is also priced slightly lower, at £750,000 including tax in its home market. The next P1, I think, could be double that price.

That said, the Senna actually has a power-to-weight ratio slightly higher than the P1, because it is a lot lighter at 1198 kg dry (vs 1395 kg). Meanwhile, the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 (codenamed M840TR) produces 800 horsepower and 590 pound-foot (800Nm) of torque, some 80 hp and 22 lbft more than 720S. The car is also 85 kg lighter than 720S.

Undoubtedly, this car is oriented to track. Its shape is more teardrop, with a slimmer rear end and massive diffusers. Its high-mounted rear wing consists of two planes and its angle is hydraulically adjustable. The wing is suspended by carbon-fiber brackets, like Koenigsegg One:1, so to enable a smooth underside for the best effect of aerodynamics. Up front, there is a pair of active aero blades located just above the front splitter, which is made possible by relocating the radiators from the nose to the rear of the car (at the expense of luggage compartment). The car ditches the double-wall side panels of the 720S to save weight, and this also enables the optional glass door panels. Another weight saving feature is the use of a fixed side window in combination with a small opening section, just like the iconic F1.

The carbon-fiber central chassis is now MonoCage III, claimed to be stronger than ever. It is now integrated with the bulkhead, saving 18kg. Up front is still an aluminum subframe. The PCC hydraulically interconnected adaptive suspension system gets a new name, RaceActive Chassis Control, but I don't see any differences except tuning. In short, the McLaren Senna is a 720S with its powertrain and chassis optimized and wrapped in a new, track-oriented body. Oh yes, it is fitted with track-biased Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R rubbers as standard.


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