McLaren is one of the biggest names in the racing industry for a reason. One of the most accomplished teams on the circuit, they also create gorgeous high caliber cars that are road-legal.
Their new Senna GTR model is based around track specifications, to give a top performance car for private owners to enjoy. The GTR is special because it is free from both road and race regulations, leaving the designers able to experiment, and create a truly unique vehicle that is faster than their GT3 racecar.
Only 75 are being made, starting from £1.1 million plus taxes. And they’ve all already all been sold. But while the Senna GTR is exciting for collectors, it also has the potential to change Formula One.
This new model is more powerful than what is currently allowed by standard F1 regulations, and while those are unlikely to change any time soon, the possibilities opened up by the Senna GTR can’t be ignored. The new car is faster, lighter and more powerful Senna GTR, fitted with a four-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine capable of generating 825 horsepower.
The active aero blades at the front of the car will also improve aerodynamic performance. A succession of stepped louvres, direct air away from the rear deck, and the resulting area of low pressure draws hot air out from the high-temperature radiators and engine bay. The louvres ensure the airflow does not impact on the efficiency of the rear wing.
The aero downforce peaks at 1,000 kg, however the car should be easier to control than a standard racer thanks to the ability to stall the wing through an automatic drag reduction system, which also helps to increase the overall top speed. The team wanted to make the car as drivable as possible for the vast majority of drivers.
The GTR is lower and wider than the traditional Senna, and has larger wheels than the racer model, coming in at 19 inches. Despite this, the car is actually 10kg lighter than the Senna thanks to a race-inspired cabin with a very minimalist design.
The exhaust has also been shifted to the rear deck beneath the wing, and the secondary catalyst has been removed, which results in a more powerful sound. The sound of F1 has come under scrutiny from fans, and any moves towards re-instating the signature roar of the cars would be welcomed.
The GTR has a power-weight ratio of 694PS per tonne, the highest of any McLaren in current production, and ahead of what is allowed in GT3 racing.
Formula One’s regulations ensure almost complete uniformity across all the cars that race. Limitations are built in to ensure a level playing field, but innovations could prove to inject some unpredictability into what are becoming steadily more predictable races. Taking the new designs and applying them to Formula One could allow the drivers to create some unforgettable races, with faster cars, closer calls, and more dramatic finishes.
The Senna GTR now represents the pinnacle of automotive engineering, and will be the benchmark against which all new supercars are measured.