McLaren knows a thing or two about saving weight. It was the first team to use a carbon-fiber monocoque in Formula One, with the MP4/1, and the first to build a road car using the same material, with the legendary McLaren F1).
And it still does, with all its cars having a carbon fiber tub, while it has just opened its own composites manufacturing facility.
Now it’s extended its obsession with trimming weight to racing suits as well. Similar to the one its F1 drivers wear, the Sparco McLaren SP16+ coveralls are the lightest ever to have been certified for use by the FIA. In size 52 (like the one worn by Bruno Senna in the pictures), it weighs all of 590 grams (1.3 pounds). That’s about the weight of a pair of men’s jeans, but this is a whole suit – and it’s flame-retardant.
To get the weight down so low, McLaren and Sparco used ultra-slim zippers, ultra-thin stitching, seamless Nomex wrists and ankles, reduced neck and shoulder padding, and a special two-layer fireproof material.
Each suit is made to order and by hand, allowing for a full range of customization. So drivers could, for example, have theirs made to match their McLaren for taking to the track.
That kind of technology and personalization doesn’t come cheap, though. The SP16+ race suit costs £2,344 (or about $3,000) before “bespoke options” are taken into account. Add in the McLaren Bell HP7 helmet, balaclava, long-sleeve undershirt, and gloves, and you’re looking at over £5,300 (~$6,800). But we doubt that’d dissuade a customer who’s already shelled out a good six or even seven figures on one (or more) of McLaren’s road-going or track-focused supercars.