“You commit yourself to such a level where there is no compromise. You give everything you have; everything, absolutely everything.” — Ayrton Senna
Ayrton Senna is regarded as one of the most talented and greatest Formula One drivers to ever step foot inside a race car. His focus and skill set him apart and helped him to achieve incredible success. From 1988 to 1993, Senna raced with McLaren, winning three World Championships. When creating their most extreme McLaren road car ever made, only one name seemed appropriate – Senna.
The new McLaren Senna was built to be the ultimate track-focused car that’s capable of driving on the road legally. Instead of sticking with the brand’s ethos of everyday usability, the Senna is about uncompromising road-legal on-track performance and connects drivers with the car for a pure driving experience. The limited-production super car is also the newest addition to the McLaren Ultimate Series line that’s reserved for only the most extreme vehicles from the British automaker.
“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,” said Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive. “Every element of this new Ultimate Series McLaren has an uncompromised performance focus, honed to ensure the purest possible connection between driver and machine and deliver the ultimate track driving experience in the way that only a McLaren can.”
Ayrton Senna was known for his focus and concentration behind the wheel, and that same direct, pure, and emotional experience can be felt by drivers behind the wheel of the McLaren Senna. Everything is designed to connect the driver to the car making driving a pure and exhilarating ordeal on or off the track.
“Our family is extremely proud of the naming of the new Ultimate Series McLaren Senna. This is the first project that really connects with Ayrton’s racing spirit and performance,” said Bruno Senna, racing driver and McLaren Ambassador. “The McLaren Senna honours my uncle because it is so utterly dedicated to delivering a circuit experience that allows a driver to be the best they can possibly be. There is an absolute, seamless connection between car and driver and this pure engagement, these sensory cues that a driver responds to and relies upon, ensure an experience so focused and immersive that you are left in awe of the depths of excellence the McLaren Senna possesses.”
The McLaren Senna is uncompromising and focused on driving performance. The core of the car is built around the carbon fiber Monocage III chassis that’s been further developed to be the strongest monocoque ever built by the brand for a road-legal vehicle. Every body panel is made from lightweight carbon fiber and was designed with the ‘form follows function’ philosophy in mind. The McLaren Senna is also the lightest road-going model from the automaker since the F1 with its 2,641-lb. dry weight.
The McLaren Senna takes aerodynamics to the extreme with active aerodynamics integrated into the front and rear while air intakes and vents optimize cooling. There are no lines that run the length of the car that are not interruped by an air vent or intake. Up front, the aero blades wear one of five ‘By McLaren’ color themes that include Azura Blue and McLaren Orange. The customer-specified color is also worn by the brake calipers, seat trim, and exposed door gas struts.
The race-inspired aerodynamic design is taken a step further with state-of-the-art active aerodynamics situated at the front and rear. A large double-element carbon fiber rear wing sits at 1,219 mm at its highest point when the McLaren Senna is stationary. The hydraulically-actuated wing has a surface area of more than 6,500 square-cm., and is constantly adjusting to optimize aerodynamic balance and downforce, or functioning as an airbrake. A double-diffuser made from a single piece of carbon fiber sits beneath. The piece starts at the rear axle and expands outwards with its fins to create a low-pressure zone that sucks the car to the pavement.
The active aerodynamics on the McLaren Senna work in conjunction with the active suspension and driving systems to provide maximum handling performance and dynamics for drivers on the track. A RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC III) hydraulic suspension adjusts instantly and utilizes a double-wishbone suspension system with hydraulically-interconnected dampers and a hydraulic replacement for mechanical anti-roll bars. A K-damper kenetic roll system separately adjusts the compression and rebound for each one of the adaptive dampers and is controlled by the Comfort, Sport, Track, or Race modes inside the super car.
The track-focused but road-legal McLaren Senna features the most advanced set of carbon ceramic brake discs ever used on a road-going McLaren. Street-legal, custom-designed Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires that are designed for racing are used and fitted on the only wheel choice available – a one-piece ultra-lightweight alloy with center-locking system.
“The McLaren Senna delivers true performance, all the way to the limit of a driver’s ability,” said Andy Palmer, Vehicle Line Director, McLaren Ultimate Series. “With a truly astonishing power-to-weight ratio, this car is about performance that is accessible and attainable, yet at the same time exciting and challenging for the very best drivers in the world – and with an intense, sensory experience to match.”
Powering the McLaren Senna is the M840TR 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that is the most powerful internal combustion engine ever created by the brand for a road-going car. Motorsports tech is featured throughout the motor with components such as dry sump lubrication, a flat-plane crankshaft, lightweight internal components, and ultra-low inertia twin-scroll turbochargers with electronically-controlled wastegates. This allows for an instantaneous throttle response, despite its forced-induction nature. In total, the 4.0-liter V-8 generates 789 bhp (800 PS) and 590 lb-ft. of torque, giving it a 668 PS-per-tonne power-to-weight ratio.
Power from the mid-mounted V-8 engine is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. In default mode, the gearbox functions as an automatic, however drivers can switch to a fully-manual mode and change gears via paddle shifters mounted on a rocker behind the steering wheel.
Drivers can enter the McLaren Senna by using the F1-inspired dihedral doors. These carbon fiber doors have two-piece glass windows with a fixed top and open lower portion as an option as opposed to the standard carbon fiber pieces.
Inside, designers and engineers kept the cockpit clean and minimalistic to ensure maximum focus on the driving experience. Carbon fiber is used everywhere with the customer’s choice of leather or Alcantara for the seats, side airbags, and fascia. The three-spoke steering wheel has no buttons or switches, only the paddle shifters behind. A high-def McLaren Folding Driver Display and central infotainment screen display all relevant information while basic controls are kept to a minimum in the center layout. Above the driver’s head is the HVAC control, ‘Race’ mode, engine start/stop button, and door release. Storage is limited to a small space behind the seats with room for two helmets and racing suits.
From inside the McLaren Senna, drivers are exposed to a variety of heart-pounding sounds. Air can be heard being channeled into the roof-mounted ‘snorkel’ intake. Special engine mounts transmit the vibration and sound of the V-8 engine into the cabin to give the impression that the motor is sitting next to the driver. Even the new ‘slash cut’ three-pipe outlet of Inconel and titanium exhaust produces a thrilling note while sending heat away from the rear wing above for better aerodynamics.
The McLaren Senna will be limited to just 500 units with construction starting in Q3 of 2018 at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, England. Each vehicle will be priced starting at £750,000 including taxes (UK price). The McLaren Senna will also make its public debut at the 88th Geneva International Motor Show.
McLaren Senna Specifications
Displacement: 4.0 liters
Number of Cylinders: V-8
Maximum Horsepower: 800 PS / 789 bhp
Maximum Torque: 590 lb-ft. / 800 Nm
Type: Seven-speed dual-clutch
Dry Weight: 2,641 lbs. / 1,198 kg
Power-to-Weight Ratio: 668 PS per tonne
McLaren Senna Gallery