So what exactly is the McLaren 720S GT3X? One of the fastest track-day weapons ever made? A race car that can’t be raced? A rich person’s plaything? The truth is that it’s all of these things. And it’s also one of the most sensational four-wheeled experiences that (quite a lot) of money can buy.
You’ve probably already seen and read quite a bit about this mighty McLaren, but it’s probably worth a quick recap. Essentially, it’s a GT3 racer uncorked; one that dispenses with the closely fought slicks-and-wings-sports-car category’s ‘balance of performance’ power cap of around 500bhp and turns up the wick to 710bhp – or 740bhp if you’re brave enough for the brief squirts of push-to-pass power injection.
To achieve this, the GT3 engine is ditched and replaced by McLaren’s familiar M840T twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8, but a version that’s handbuilt with stronger pistons, revised heads, a titanium exhaust and electronic mapping that’s massaged to favour top-end frenzy at the expense of low-rev muscle.
It’s mated to a six-speed Xtrac paddle-shift gearbox that drives the rear wheels through a 12-stage electronic traction-control system. The rest of the car is almost pure GT3, with the same carbonfibre tub and exterior panels, impressive-looking aerodynamic package and suspension set-up. To all intents and purposes, it’s a bona fide race car, albeit one that, due to its outrageous power boost, is ineligible to race.
Only inside are there changes, necessary to accommodate the revised roll cage that’s required for the addition of a passenger seat, which for most wealthy owners will be occupied by an instructor. Today, however, it’s full of factory ace Euan Hankey, who has already taken us for some wild-eyed laps around the spectacularly serpentine Navarra circuit in Spain as he gets heat into the Pirelli tyres and carbon-ceramic brakes. Now, however, it’s our turn.