Five years on from its P1 hyper-car, McLaren has now unveiled a second car to its range-topping Ultimate Series, an "ultimate road-legal track car" and given it the name of the Gran Prix champion, Ayrton Senna.
Revealed at an exclusive launch in London, the new £750,000, 789bhp McLaren Senna is the first model from Woking to have styling described by its creators as "brutal" and "unforgiving". The car's unique look result from the extreme active aerodynamics that evolve from its basic teardrop shape: a huge rear wing and front splitter (both having active elements) plus the straight flanks, exotically shaped wheel arches, the air-gulping scoops and inlets, and more subtle air dams.
According to Ultimate Series vehicle line boss, Andy Palmer, the Senna's engineering and design team have spent two years adapting McLaren's now familiar recipe of carbon fibre chassis and panels, compact, mid-mounted twin-turbo V8, race-bred interconnected suspension and electro-hydraulic power steering to create the most extreme McLaren. The result is an unprecedentedly low dry weight of 1198kg. Throw in a 9% power increase to the 4.0-litre engine and the Senna has an eye-watering power-to-weight ratio of 660bhp per tonne.
It is not surprising that the factory claims it will produce the quickest lap times of any production McLaren yet. McLaren won't be declaring the Senna's official performance figures until later in January but it is already clear that the car will have P1-level straight-line performance, with probable 0-60mph acceleration in 2.5sec and a top speed well beyond 200mph.