For an organisation that breathes genuine motorsport credibility into every product it makes, something like the 620R ought to be an automatic home run.
McLaren the racing team existed some 22 years before McLaren Cars was formed to deliver the F1 road car and some 47 years before McLaren Automotive, as we now know it, arrived. So not only is the new 620R a supercar built in the typically racy modern McLaren mould, being mid-engined, carbonfibre-tubbed and equipped with a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and dual-clutch automatic gearbox, but it’s also one actually intended to function as an entry-level trackday product for very serious and deep-pocketed enthusiasts.
This small and very specialised corner of the market is one in which the British marque should excel, with its current customer and works racing programmes in the GT4 and GT3 classes and, of course, the lifelong preoccupation with Formula 1.
But what exactly is the 620R, besides being the all-guns-blazing finale of the current McLaren Sports Series range, before these excellent ‘junior’ supercars are replaced by the new generation of V6 plug-in hybrids that are expected to be announced early next year?
The inference could be that the 620R is simply a straight road-legal version of the 570S GT4 racing car, which costs £180,000 for the car itself plus another £160,000 or so for six rounds competing on some of Europe’s most famous circuits. Does, then, the 620R homologate the GT4? (Not likely, as it has been released well after the racer.) Or is it merely an exhilarating, track-honed car that’s also happy on the road? McLaren’s answer to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Ferrari 488 Pista, if you will.
Is it, in fact, really a road car? The official answer is that the 620R is, in fact, a street-legal 570S GT4, built for no other reason (beyond the obvious commercial one) than the thrill of it. What we’ll now discover is what exactly that means, and whether this car does enough to distance itself as a driver’s car from the already sensational 600LT.