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New McLaren open cockpit speedster in the works

24th Jul 2019 12:41 pm

The limited-run hypercar will sit alongside the Senna and Speedtail in McLaren’s Ultimate Series of cars; to focus on driving pleasure.


McLaren is developing a two-seat open cockpit speedster that will focus on providing exhilarating on-road driving, our sister publication Autocar UK exclusively reports. The model will be the sixth in McLaren’s Ultimate Series.

According to a source in the know, the new limited-run machine will sit alongside the track-focused Senna and the Speedtail hyper-GT at the top of McLaren’s range. While the Senna has been designed as the ultimate road-legal track car and the Speedtail developed around high-speed aerodynamic efficiency, the new speedster has reportedly been conceived for road-driving pleasure. It will apparently highlight the more emotional, fun side to McLaren – albeit while retaining the high-performance, high-tech traits that the company is known for.

The yet-to-be-named hypercar will be the first pure open road car McLaren has made, with styling that will reportedly evoke open-top sports prototype racers. It is expected to rival the likes of Ferrari’s recently revealed Monza SP1 and SP2 speedster models.

McLaren’s speedster is claimed to offer a more ‘fluid’ interpretation of the brand’s design language than other models, with prominent use of flowing, elegant lines. Our source has been told the interior design will closely match that of the exterior and is set to feature low-profile dihedral ‘butterfly’ doors.

The flowing styling will contrast with the aerodynamically-focused Senna and reflects the fact that the new car is being developed primarily for use on the road, with the intention to maximise the ‘pure pleasure of driving’. It is being honed to deliver extremely agile handling while giving high levels of driver response. Our source has been told that it will offer astonishing levels of feedback.

That driving experience, combined with the open cockpit, is understood to offer a greater connection between the driver and the environment around them.

Power is tipped to come from McLaren’s 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbocharged petrol engine and, unlike the 1050hp Speedtail, won’t include any electrification or other hybrid technology. The output for the car is not yet known, although the focus on road driving pleasure suggests it will be slightly reduced from the Senna’s 800hp. However, considering it is part of McLaren’s Ultimate Series line-up, outputs are still expected to be more than the other models in the company’s range.

As is usual with McLaren, the power will be sent to the rear wheels only, likely through a dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

The new speedster is tipped to weigh less than the 1198kg Senna, making it one of the lightest road cars McLaren has ever built. This is achieved by both the lack of a roof and, as is customary for McLaren, extensive use of carbonfibre.

The open-top machine will be a strictly limited-run model – fewer than the 500 examples are expected to be produced. A price tag of similar to the cost of the Monza SP1 and SP2 is likely.

A reveal or launch date for the new model has not been determined yet, although it is likely to be produced after the 106 examples of the Speedtail. Production of that machine is due to begin in late 2019, after the final examples of the Senna GTR, which would suggest cars will start to be built in late 2020 or early 2021.

McLaren models have traditionally been split into three series: Sport, Super and the range-topping Ultimate cars, although the upcoming new grand tourer will launch a fourth. The Ultimate Series has its roots in the firm’s seminal road car, the F1, and was launched with the P1 plug-in hybrid supercar in 2013.

When asked to confirm the project, a McLaren spokesperson declined to discuss the new car, saying: “Our usual position in respect of speculation about possible future models is not to comment and that’s the case here.”

Also see:

Gordon Murray’s McLaren F1 successor to be revealed in 2022

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