McLaren is developing a two-seat open-cockpit speedster that will focus on providing exhilarating on-road driving and become the sixth model in its Ultimate Series, Autocar can exclusively reveal.
According to a source aware of the car, the new limited-run machine will sit alongside the track-focused Senna and the 250mph Speedtail hyper-GT at the top of McLaren’s range. Whereas 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 for which the Woking firm is known.
The as-yet-unnamed machine will be the first pure open road car McLaren has made, with styling that will reportedly evoke open-top sports prototype racers. That will pitch it into competition with Ferrari’s recently revealed Monza SP1 and SP2 speedster models.
The speedster is claimed to offer a more ‘fluid’ interpretation of McLaren’s design language than the firm’s 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 1036bhp 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 789bhp of the Senna. However, as part of McLaren’s Ultimate Series line-up, it is still likely to be elevated from other models in the firm’s range.
As is usual with McLaren, the power will be driven through 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 the firm 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, with volume thought to be restricted to fewer than the 500 examples of the Senna that the company has produced. A price of around £1.5 million has been suggested, similar to the cost of the Monza SP1 and SP2.