McLaren Speedtail is McLaren’s first Hyper-GT.
The hype has been building. McLaren teased us all with limited information and obscure images of the McLaren Speedtail but today, everything was dropped. Well almost everything. The McLaren Speedtail is the first Hyper-GT model by the brand. They say it is the ” ultimate McLaren road car with extreme performance”.
Just like the McLaren F1, the Speedtail features a central driving position with two seats either side. Encapsulating these seats is a teardrop styled cabin, built on a bespoke Monocage carbon fibre structure. Elegance has been created through reduction. Every body panel is carbon fibre and designed to reduce drag. It’s features like these that result in the Speedtail having the lowest drag coefficient of any road going McLaren vehicle. Interestingly, Speedtail is narrower than the P1 but over half a metre longer to more resemble the teardrop shape.
The Speedtail is beautiful in some senses and weird in others. From the front, sleek, sharp lines and narrow lights posses real beauty. The rear is also pretty astonishing, however, the side profile is quite unusual, and the wheel covers kind of throw me off. There is doubting though that this is one special vehicle.
Powertrain & Performance
The details on Speedtail’s powertrain have yet to be released. We do know that it has a dry weight of 1430kg and produces 1036bhp, that’s 772Kw. It may sound like a lot, but it’s still shy of Bugatti’s Cheron (1,479bhp) and the Koenigsegg’s Agera RS (1,341bhp).
0-300km/h time is reached in just 12.8 seconds. To put this into perspective, the McLaren p1 accomplished this feat in 16.5 seconds. There was talk that the Speedtail would reach 300mph (482 km/h). It doesn’t but still achieves a grand top speed of 250mph (403km/h). Still, this makes the Speedtail the fastest McLaren ever built, beating the Mclaren F1 by 7 mph. McLaren partnered with Pirelli to design and produce a bespoke P-ZERO tyre to make speeds like this possible.
Something that you will instantly notice is the carbon fibre front-wheel static aero covers. These are used to reduce drag and work by remaining in a fixed position as the wheels rotate. keeping the air ‘attached’ to the vehicle and allowing it to flow onwards the door blades and rear of the vehicle. McLaren explains in detail how the wheel covers work with other aerodynamic elements.
” The static wheel covers work in conjunction with multiple ducts and air paths to reduce turbulent air within the wheelarches. As air passes out of the LTRs, for instance, it is vented into the front wheelarches. From there – together with heat energy generated by the lightweight, carbon ceramic braking system – the air is channeled through the ducts in the fixed front wheel aero cover in a consistent flow pattern. Pressure within the wheelarches is also reduced via the lower door vents, which draw the turbulent air created by the rotating front wheels out of the arches and drive it smoothly along the sides of the McLaren Speedtail “
Similar to the Audi e-tron, the Speedtail doesn’t feature any wing mirrors. Instead, two discreet high-def cameras glide out of the side doors when the ignition is activated. Why? Simple, mirrors create plenty of air turbulence that isn’t wanted when you are trying to reach 400km/h.
Central Driving Position
The driving position of the Speedtail is in the centre of the cockpit. McLaren tell us this provides a perfectly balanced view of out of the windscreen. Access to the main central seat is made easy by directional leather which makes it easy to ‘slide in’ . Once seated, a state-of-the-art control system is at the drivers disposal. High def displays and touch screens remove nearly every button found in a traditional car. Above the drivers head are panels and dials which control windows, engine start/stop, the Active Dynamics Panel and also engage Velocity mode. This cabin blows me away and looks more like something you would find in a spaceship, not a car.
Velocity mode has been specifically developed for the Speedtail. To reach 403km/h, this mode needs to be engaged. It optimises the powertrain for high-speed running, whilst also adjusting the angles of rear ailerons. Further, the Speedtail is lowered by 35mm and electronic mirrors are retracted to improve aerodynamical performance.
Pricing and customisation
Due to the fact that only 106 models will be made, McLaren has been able to push vehicle personalisation into unchartered territory. McLaren’s vision was to create the ultimate in bespoke vehicle design. From using specially selected Scandinavian hides which undergoes a five-week tanning process in vegetable oils. To customers being able to select unique stitch patterns in whichever colour they wish and bespoke decorative forms can be created within the leather through digital quilting. We don’t need to go into too much detail here, but know that every Speedtail will be unique. This is expected though, especially for a price tag of at least £1.75 million. ( R27,261,000 at the time of writing)
Also published on Medium.