The Senna broke with McLaren convention – not just with its superlative performance capabilities, but with its name, too. Where McLaren’s other models to date have used alphanumeric designators, the Senna has a name. And an evocative one, at that.
Now the latest word has it that the Senna’s nameplate won’t be an isolated occurrence. Instead, Autocar reports, its successors in the manufacturer’s top Ultimate Series will have proper names as well, instead of numbers.
The Senna, of course, takes its name from one of McLaren’s most famous racing drivers. The legendary Ayrton Senna won all three of his world championships with McLaren, after switching from Lotus and before his ill-fated switch to Williams.
The Brazilian driver wasn’t the only multiple world champion in McLaren’s history. Alain Prost also won three titles with the team, and Mika Hakkinen won two. Of the four championships that Lewis Hamilton has won to date, though, only the first was with McLaren. The latter three were with Mercedes. So we wouldn’t count on Hamilton’s name adorning a future hypercar from Woking. Prost, meanwhile, is closely allied with Renault these days, so we don’t expect to see his name on one, either. But Hakkinen still serves as a brand ambassador for the constructor.
Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, and Niki Lauda also won championships for the team. But with Fittipaldi having started his own supercar manufacturer, and Lauda chairing the Mercedes team, neither would seem a likely choice.
Our money’s on Hakkinen (and maybe Hunt), then. Maybe Hulme, if the company delves into its Can-Am heritage. But a McLaren Bruce has a nice ring to it, especially if the example of the Ferrari Enzo is something to go on. What do you think McLaren should name its next hypercar?