10 key facts and figures about the McLaren Senna

by | Feb 7, 2018 | Motoring

Reading time: 4 minutes
  • Just to get you up to speed, McLaren’s newboy is named in honour of three-time Formula 1 World Champion Ayrton Senna, who raced for the British team between 1988 and 1993, took the drivers’ crown in ’88, ’90 and ’91, and scored 35 victories during that time (41 total).

“This 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.” No pressure then…

  • Let’s also get the “bugger me sideways, are they serious?!” portion of this list out of the way regarding price. Those of you checking your bank balances with teary eyes or ferreting down the back of the sofa for spare change might want to save the effort: only 500 examples will be produced, and all bar one (we’ll come back to that) have been sold for a shade over $1 million, plus tax. If you want some context, that would also buy you 54 base-spec Volkswagen Polos.

“You commit yourself to such a level where there is no compromise. You give everything you have; everything, absolutely everything.” Ayrton senna

  • Fun additional fact, all bar one of those 500 models was pre-assigned ahead of the car’s launch. The sole survivor was auctioned off in December last year for a mighty $2.7 million. The proceeds of which have gone to the Instituto Ayrton Senna (IAS), a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing education for nearly two million unprivileged Brazilian children.

Right, let’s move away from an ever-increasing sense of poverty and check out some performance specs. For example…

The, ahem, bold design is ‘the strongest expression yet of McLaren’s ‘form follows function’ philosophy.’

  • Under that carbon fibre bodywork lies a 4-litre twin-turbo V8, which punches out 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm (590b ft) of torque. Combine that with a 1,198kg kerb weight – less than 1.2 tonnes – and we’re looking at a power-to-weight ratio of 668PS (659bhp)-per-tonne, allowing the hypercar to hit 0-100kph in just 8 seconds, 0-200kph in 6.8 seconds, and 0-300kph in 17.5 seconds.

 “if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you’re no longer a racing driver.” Ayrton Senna

  • To add a little more perspective to those engine stats, the 4-litre twin-turbo V8 is the most powerful internal combustion production engine yet from McLaren, and is capable of 340kph at full chat.

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  • That sub-2000kg kerb weight deserves another look too. The Monocage III chassis structure at the base is the stiffest example yet but has also dropped a few extra grams. Combined, the carbon fibre body panels that make up the exterior design weigh just 60kg, and the carbon fibre bucket seats weigh just 35kg apiece. That makes the 1,198kg Senna the lightest production road-going McLaren yet.

“You think you have a limit. As soon as you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further.” Ayrton Senna

  • If, somehow, that doesn’t emphasise the colossal pace of McLaren’s new hypercar, bear in mind it will cover the quarter-mile in 9.9 seconds, faster even than the marque’s legendary F1 supercar.

Okay, pant-filling levels of power and speed, check, check. What about the aerodynamics?

The attention to details goes beyond ‘simple’ performance: even the gas struts for the dihedral doors can be colour-matched to the brake calipers and front active aero blades.

  • Ah yes, that bodywork. It may appear to be the fevered dream of a six-year old Bruce Wayne, but the all-carbon fibre construct has been designed with both super-slick aerodynamics and track-like performance in-mind. How? Well that comes down to those ankle-height front splitter and air intakes, inside which are active flaps and winglets that direct airflow either under or over the bodywork for aero purposes, or into the radiators to channel cooling air to the engine and dual-clutch, seven-speed automatic gearbox. Airflow that’s sent over the roof-mounted air intake and louvred engine cover is sent to the hydraulically-controlled carbon fibre rear wing, which weighs just 4.87kg and helps generate a whopping 800kg of downforce at 250kph, akin to a 728kg Formula 1 car.

“With your mind power, your determination, your instinct and experience, you can fly very high.” Ayrton Senna

  • Speaking of the rear wing, even braking is mind-melting, McLaren’s latest addition to its Ultimate Series – alongside the established P1 – able to pull to a standstill from 200kph in just 100 metres (328ft). Kudos to that goes to both the CCM-R carbon ceramic brake discs, as well as the rear wing itself, which can rotate up to 90-degrees to act as an airbrake.

The Active Dynamics Panel (okay, driver information screen) can slide into Slim Display Mode to show only crucial information such as speed, engine rpm and selected gear.

  • It’s not just the bodywork that’s all-new and bespoke either, the Senna runs atop nine-spoke, centre-lock alloys that are clad with specially developed Pirelli P ZERO Trofeo R rubber (245/35 ZR19 at the front, 315/30 ZR20 at the rear), the asymmetrical pattern designed for grip, grip, and, yep, a tad more grip.

And, as an honourable mention, all of the above take 300 hours to put together by-hand at McLaren’s production centre in Woking, UK. Makes the hypercar’s debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show all the more enticing, doesn’t it?

If you enjoyed this McLaren Senna article, you can check out more Motoring stories HERE