New McLaren Senna Is A 798HP Street-Legal Hypercar For The Track

McLaren has finally introduced its long-anticipated hypercar, which we came to know under its P15 internal codename over the past year, as the Senna. It’s not exactly a direct replacement for the P1 as it will sit next to the brand’s upcoming three-seater BP23.

The latest and newest member of McLaren’s Ultimate Series carries the name of legendary Formula 1 driver, Ayrton Senna, who won all three of his F1 driver titles with the team in 1988, 1990 and 1991.

Why would I want one?

If its name or visceral racecar looks aren’t a good enough reason, then perhaps the fact that McLaren itself describes the Senna as the brand’s most extreme road car ever – and yes, despite being developed primarily for the track, it’s completely street-legal, could tip the scales to its favor.

“The McLaren Senna is a car like no other: the personification of McLaren’s motorsport DNA, legalized for road use but designed and developed from the outset to excel on a circuit,” says McLaren boss, Mike Flewitt. “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.”

The Senna’s ultra-lightweight construction, with a carbon fiber chassis that’s a further development of the 720S platform and body panels, help it achieve an incredibly low dry weight at just 1,198kg (2,641lbs), making it the brand’s lightest road car since the iconic McLaren F1. For those of you keeping track, that’s around 220kg or 485 pounds less than the already lightweight McLaren 720S.

Beyond the aero-honed teardrop shape, the Senna gets a slew of extreme, latest generation front and rear active aerodynamics, which McLaren says, raise downforce and aero control to an “unprecedented level”. We could talk about the aero blades that will be available in various colors, the movable flaps hidden in the air intakes, but the most visual drama comes from the massive rear wing.

What makes it tick?

Powering the Senna is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 placed behind the driver mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that turns the rear wheels. It produces 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm (590 lb ft) of peak torque, resulting in a power-to-weight ratio of 668PS/650HP-per-tonne.

The Woking company won’t say how fast it is yet, simply stating that it will have “savage performance”. Still, a 0-60mph (96km/h) in 2.5 seconds or less and a top speed of over 200mph (320km/h) should be expected from the most powerful road-legal McLaren ever.

Putting all those horses on the tarmac is a revised version of the P1’s independent double-wishbone suspension with hydraulic adaptive dampers and anti-roll bars that McLaren names RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II).

The adaptive dampers are interconnected hydraulically, both left to right and front to back, with two valves per damper to independently adjust for compression and rebound. The stiffness of the Senna is separately controlled using a kinetic roll system, or K-damper. In addition to the Comfort, Sport and Track settings we’ve seen on the P1 and 720S, the Senna also gets a newly developed Race mode. The latter introduces a lower ride height, lower centre of gravity and significantly stiffer suspension.

McLaren says the braking system of the Senna is the most advanced it has ever made for a road car (you’ve probably noticed a pattern here), using carbon ceramic discs and motorsport technologies. The Senna rides on bespoke Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires that were designed for race tracks but approved for road use.

“The McLaren Senna delivers true performance, all the way to the limit of a driver’s ability,” says McLaren Ultimate Series boss, Andy Palmer. “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.”

Tell me about the cabin

Before you enter the car, you have to operate the top-hinged doors that are constructed from carbon fiber and feature two-piece glass side windows with a fixed top part and a smaller opening section below. McLaren says the glass layout enhances the sense of space inside the cockpit, but if you want to go to extremes, you can switch the lower portions for carbon fiber panels, in which case, the interior will be a darker place.

The cabin itself is an ode to minimalism offering the bare essentials. That means super lightweight seats with hardly any padding, while many items such as the door handles, engine start button and window switches have been positioned on the roof. The three-spoke steering wheel is free of buttons and switches, while a very simple and narrow screen in front of the driver informs about engine revs, the gear selected and speed. All other information and settings comes from the high-definition McLaren Folding Driver Display and central infotainment screen.

Good luck trying to carry anything other than a couple of helmets and racing suits as storage space is restricted to a chamber behind the seats.

Can I afford it?

Probably not, but even if you did have the £750,000 it costs in the UK with taxes at your disposal, and which comes to around $1 million at today’s rates, all 500 hand-built cars have been spoken for. The last example was sold in an auction for £2 million or $2.7 million with the proceeds to benefit the Senna Foundation.

We’ll have the opportunity to see the new Senna in the flesh at next year’s Geneva Motor Show in March. Production of the car will begin in the third quarter of 2018.

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  • YUDHA BAGASKARA

    Wonder if Mclaren make a car using 2017 Honda NSX platform

    • Never gonna happen. They just got divorced in F1

      • YUDHA BAGASKARA

        i know it’s already too late to develop it

        • I don’t think they ever thought of building with Honda. In fact recent rumors suggest at first BMW and Mclaren want to develop Monocell II together since BMW is thinking to create Halo car for their centenary. But BMW withdraw and decide to celebrate their centenary with BMW i8S.

    • Bugatti Andrea Ettore

      Wait for the next limited Mclaren (BP23), Spiritual Successor of the Gordon Murray Hypercar – F1, it is expected that only 106 units will be manufactured, of course with the option that the Gentleman and My Lord, Carlos Andres Ariza Garaviotti, would be the last to receive the Unit +107, since it will be donated by the Woking Company and by the Mother Queen of Great Britain. Charles Andrew Ariza Garaviotti.

  • EDDIMUNDO

    Am I the only who thinks this car looks hideous.

    • AxlRock

      You are not alone

    • LWOAP

      Definitely not McLaren’s best work. Looks like it was ripped from GTA.

    • AnklaX

      Nope.

    • Some ol’ bloke

      Yes

    • Ray Filetti

      McLaren have only built one great looking car – their first. This doesn’t live up to the Senna name.

      • EDDIMUNDO

        Personally, I like the 720s, 675LT and P1

    • Mikestroh

      Nope….its an abomination. They overtly focused on function totally disregarding appealing aesthetics.

    • Auf Wiedersehen

      No, that’s obvious by the upvote count, but you can bet it will be the car that the famous for being famous YouTubers will buy or drive and say, “it’s not very comfortable” or “it’s got very little storage space”

  • AxlRock

    It doesn’t look good, an ugly mix of Gumpert Apollo in the front and Terzo Millenio in the back.

    • willhaven

      At least the Gumpert has good proportions. This McLaren on the other hand…

      • Michelin

        100% agree. Ugly mixed style!!
        720 is far more elegant ….

  • This car wasn’t designed to be a looker, it was designed to produce a ridiculous amount of downforce and be as quick as possible. From that standpoint, the car is absolutely gorgeous.

    • Bo Hanan

      Well said. And less than 2700lbs with 800HP is just crazy.

    • OG

      Dem excuses…

    • Walter Bova

      Not true. Some design choices are all about the style, and those choices here make the car look ugly. It looks like one of those car children draw at the age of 5. Very bad.

    • Ray Filetti

      Who says you can’t have downforce and art? Good design costs the same as bad design.

  • gor134

    2013/4 was LaFerrari, 918, and P1.
    2016/17 was the Vulcan, Regera, Huayra BC
    2018 is track-focused hypercars like the Senna, Project One, Valkyries, Venom F5

    • I don’t think Senna is the same league as Valkyrie and Project One.

      Venom F5 is more all around hypercar like Chiron

      • Gen Flauta

        Well, since Senna doesn’t use hybrid tech then it would be in the same territory as the Apollo IE.

        • Apollo IE is not even road legal.

          Senna were originally non limited edition car to sit in the middle between 650S and P1. But then we got 720S and the price point is too tight. Beside McLaren needs new Super Series.

  • Six_Tymes

    A lambo Centanario mated with a 720S? weird.

  • Six Thousand Times

    I dig the see-thru doors. And I’m glad it doesn’t have that pointless center seat.

    • Matt

      What’s pointless about a central driving position?

      • Six Thousand Times

        Ever seen an owner of an F1 try to climb out of it? It’s funny. And the central driving position is supposed to balance the weight. Wait till you have a passenger – ruined. “No, wait, honey go get one of the neighbours to go with us. No, just one of them!”

    • LWOAP

      The BP23 will have the three seat position though.

      • Six Thousand Times

        Right, so it said and that will be pointless.

        • LWOAP

          You can say the same about the traditional seating position as well. It doesn’t matter whether the driver is on the left, right, or center. Neither have an advantage over the other in terms of driving experience.

          • Six Thousand Times

            Until you’ve seen the driver of an F1 try to exit his car. It’s not pretty and the addition of a passenger negates the whole balance thing.

          • Have you seen the BP23 mule? They specifically looking for different design so that the driver can get out easily.

          • Six Thousand Times

            I haven’t and if you’re correct and they’ve got it right, I may take it back. Murray’s city car had that layout but the thing was sort of “triangular” which made entry and exit for the driver easier.

          • https://www.topgear.com/car-news/supercars/driving-very-first-mclaren-bp23-hypercar-prototype

            They are working on it. I hope they will get it right. (Design too)

          • You can check TG site. They drive the BP23 mule and they talk with the chief engineering about the getting in issue.

  • BlackDiamond

    Success has gotten to the designers head… this is not attractive.

    • Tumbi Mtika

      This is functional.

      You want attractive? The 720S configurator is waiting for you.

      • BlackDiamond

        720S is not attractive too… maybe i’ll try the Lamborghini configurator.

        • Tumbi Mtika

          Good luck, but that’s just me.

  • Denzel

    I retract my statement from the last article about the senna leak. This is still a stunning car to look at. Once the official images came out I can say it looks like the veilside Rx-7 from fast and furious. Which was a good looking kit for the RX-7. For McLaren it makes me wonder what is going to be in between this and 720..? The performance will be out of this world. But it’s so close to the 720 so 10 to 30 more hp we will see from a LT or whatever they call the high performance version. I hope they take this to the ring of course they don’t need to just look at the past cars they keep up with the best of them. It would just be nice to know. The p1 gtr was kinda forced to the ring.

  • Heidegger
  • An Existing Person
  • Shane

    I know they’re trying to make the absolute best but the body is too busy for McLaren IMO. Still dig it though. Hopefully the dealer a mile or two down the road gets one.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    Airlift this to the Nordschleife IMMEADIATLELY. This has a record to break.

  • Tumbi Mtika

    Hmm.

    Seems a lot of people here are missing the point here…

    • Honda NSX-R

      Function > Form

      • nastinupe

        What are you, the Borg?

        • Honda NSX-R

          Yes I happen to be the Borg when I’m not on Disqus

    • jsz00

      Only kids who don’t know anything about cars. They can’t even appreciate the GT-R.

  • Mark S

    A true successor to the mighty F1. She’s not supposed to be road pretty fools. And No she does not look like anything but a modern race going McLaren.

    • LWOAP

      Naaah, the BP23 is going to be closer to that than the Senna.

    • I don’t think Senna is successor to F1. Even McLaren said F1 is F1. They never intent to replace it and I viewed it like that.

      I’m more curious that BP23 is supposed to be Grand Tourer. I wonder if they can make a proper grand tourer now.

  • Walter Bova

    Everything is ugly here. The main vent is placed too far forward and this makes the rear look heavy, no fantasy in the lights design, the big spoiler makes it look old, the interior is sad, the glass in the doors has no sense. Hideous.

  • Dennis Scipio

    It’s not that hideous looking.

  • Grumpy

    Honestly looks like a kit car

  • LWOAP

    So this or the upcoming three seater hypercar?

    Which one will be faster? Which one will be cheaper?

    Personally, IMO, this would have been better off as a track only edition of the 720S or something and didn’t have the triple exhaust mounted in that position. The test mule looked better.

    Also, yes, I know it’s not meant to be pretty. But compared to their previous work, it’s a little out there. It will probably grow on me.

    • You can’t compare them. BP23 is a GT and not a track focus like Senna.

      And BP23 were originally a one off like X-1 but then a lot of people took interest and they put it into limited production.

      Senna would start at $1 million while BP23 is expected at $2-3 million.

      • LWOAP

        I don’t know man. What if the BP23 gets a GTR or LM version like the P1 or F1 did?

        • Would be interesting. I heard McLaren is considering Le Mans again. And there are already rumors that Senna is merely Homologation special in line of Ford GT for GTE class.

  • Brian Brown

    Performance yes….can’t deny. Style? No….looks like a Honda was dragged through pep boys

  • Bugatti Andrea Ettore

    WOW!! is Race and not Street.

  • StrangerGP

    It’s a Matchbox car, right?

  • Ariza Ariza Mclaren 720S

    Wait for the next limited Mclaren (BP23), Spiritual Successor of the Gordon Murray Hypercar – F1, it is expected that only 106 units will be manufactured, of course with the option that the Gentleman and My Lord, Carlos Andres Ariza Garaviotti, would be the last to receive the Unit +107, since it will be donated by the Woking :Company and by the Mother Queen of Great Britain. Cool Cars Bitish luxury and confort Hyper Grand Touriong
    https://pictures.topspeed.com/IMG/crop/201703/geneva-mclaren-720s-_1600x0w.jpg
    https://www.autocar.co.uk/sites/autocar.co.uk/files/styles/gallery_slide/public/images/car-reviews/first-drives/legacy/mclaren-f1-2016-bsy-autocar-760.jpg?itok=ODj2lkUa
    http://st.automobilemag.com/uploads/sites/11/2017/09/2020-McLaren-BP23-1.jpg?interpolation=lanczos-none&fit=around|660440

  • R55

    “You know when a good time to announce a car is for a UK manufacturer?.. midnight GMT.”

    Said no one ever!

  • Oh no. They shouldve given the Senna name to the coming new MCL F1, not another road car variant.

  • AnklaX

    I’m sure it will be fast, even a contender for Nordschleife record but it doesn’t look good.

  • MarketAndChurch

    I love how un-aggressive it looks, which is what originally drew me so strongly to the pagani huayra. It also looks very japanese, which I absolutely love. I just wish it had more circular, retro-ish headlamps.

  • sidewaysspin

    Perfect car for the likes of Mr. Shmee150.

    • LWOAP

      He better find room for it. Because of all the cars he has now, still has to find room for the Ford GT and Porsche GT3 he has on order. I think he also ordered the TVR Griffith but I’m not sure.

      • Honda NSX-R

        Yes he ordered the TVR too. He basically orders half of every new sports car that releases.

  • fabri99

    Odd-looking is an understatement.

  • Hi I am Zako

    Am I the only who thinks this car looks a lego model…

  • salamOOn

    i cant decide which one is uglier…. this or mercedes-amg one.

  • alexxx

    I like what McLaren is doing lately….a breeze of fresh air…

  • Vassilis

    No doubt it’ll be an awesome car, I respect their commitment to form following function but it looks beyond horrible.

  • Belthronding Tinuviel

    That’s a sexy beast!

  • Eric

    It’ll go like absolute stink, and be ugly doing it.
    I don’t get the point of the roof-mounted console – would that not mean extra wiring? If we’re going for absolutes, why add this extra weight – up high, no less – for such a dodgy configuraiton?

  • PB

    I wonder how many of these will finish up wrapped around a tree in China or derelict and dust-covered in the Middle East?

  • exeptor

    I’m glad that McLaren choose such a bold design. Yes, it is not prety at all, but it has its own charm. I understand what it’s made for, why looks this way, etc. I can’t understand why I should’ve consider it (if I have the money and I’m a loyal McLaren customer) over GT2RS. Maybe it will be faster, but at this level of performance I personally can’t find difference simple because I’m not a racing driver. If we only go for track performance then why not just buy some F1 car for the same amount of money (guess some of the smaler team can sold you one after the season finale for ~1M $) … it will always be years ahead of anything not F1.

  • jsz00

    Nice garage queen…

  • S3XY

    Wouldn’t want it to begin with.

  • Rzrlf

    i like it

    • El-diablo

      burn it with fire

  • SteersUright

    McLaren is the master of making something so capable and also so ugly at the same time. Good lord they need to drop their design language already and make at least 1 good looking sports car. On a separate note, would love to see them put out a competitor to the new Lambo SUV and the Porsche Panamera as well.