McLaren Road Cars Will Never Stop Getting Faster, COO Says

McLaren’s chief operating officer says that as technology improves, the brand’s road vehicles will forever keep getting faster.

Responding to a question from us at the Geneva Motor Show as to how McLaren will continue to make its vehicles faster, Dr. Jens Ludmann said that past history tells us cars of the future will keep getting better.

“When I did my PhD in university, I had a professor who got exactly the same question from his students. They said, ‘look, for decades, cars have four wheels, steering wheel, an engine in the front, blah blah blah (sic), so how can we, from where we are now, develop something better in the future?’

“He did a seminar and he brought six Mercedes-Benz S-Classes, each was one generation back. He let the students test drive from derivative to derivative to derivative and the step change from car to car in every generation was stunning. If you see the trend of the past, you can anticipate the trend in the future,” Ludmann said.

The executive, with former experience at Ford and Qoros (among others), pinpointed active aerodynamics and new powertrain technologies that can push performance to new limits.

“You never know how. For example, active aero, we didn’t have that in the past and now with active aero we can reach new limits.

“Powertrain technology. Eventually, batteries will improve and there will be new powertrain solutions. There is so much focus now on powertrains that there will be different powertrains in the future and again, that will change the game. There will always be technology evolution which leads to better products.”

At the Geneva Motor Show, McLaren introduced the Senna with claims of it being the fastest road-legal car around a track to ever wear a McLaren badge. Compared to the 720S, power has risen by roughly 80 hp but it is the new aerodynamic parts which really distinguish the Senna from all other models before it.

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Images by Guido ten Brink/SB-Medien

  • Bash

    “If you see the trend in the past, you can anticipate the trend in the future”
    It’s no brainer matter. But I love this!

  • Alexandro Pietro

    Hey Coo have you give your cool?

  • LeStori

    So McLaren will get faster and speed limits will get lower as the human plague spreeds. Eventually you will drive around in your McLaren in first gear….Time to get in your autonomous house-on-wheels and enjoy the comfort.

  • eb110americana

    Active aero is still in its infancy. I am sure as cars outpace the adhesion of tires, active aero will continue to evolve to “push” and “pull” the car via the air stream. Electric cars are quickly superseding even purpose-built drag cars in a straight line already, so I have no doubt that one day soon, electric will be the only game in town if you want to be the fastest. However, batteries are still quite heavy, and time-consuming to charge–not to mention the lack of an existing network of standardized charging stations to rival gas stations on every corner. For track superiority (or anything really), battery chemistry will be one of the defining forefronts of automotive technology in the coming decades. Given the level of control with an electric motor at each wheel, the precise tune-ability of understeer/oversteer balance in electric cars will decimate even the most advanced AWD system once the development is sorted out for all different scenarios and the resultant feel behind the wheel. That’s our future automotive trajectory as I see it.

  • I genuinely thinking why this is news worthy…

  • Vassilis

    Cool professor.