This week’s road test subject is nothing more or less than the most extreme road car McLaren Automotive has built.
You may not think that’s such a huge claim since McLaren Automotive has had only eight years in which to make road cars at all. But considering that the firm has already managed to squeeze the P1, 675LT and 720S into its fairly short but decidedly punchy back catalogue, and with the memory of the uncompromising F1 still fresh and relevant for a great many, it’s an introduction that’s certainly powerful enough to get our attention.
The McLaren Senna might be the car that its maker has been fated to create since its Antipodean founder first picked up a spanner. During so many decades of celebrated motorsport success, the famous British firm has acknowledged and adhered to ‘formula’ rules defining construction principles, materials, engine placement, suspension configuration, tyre footprint, maximum downforce, allowable weight and more; occasionally bending one or two in the name of innovation.
With its current road cars, meanwhile, it works to make different but balanced compromises of habitability, usability, drivability, practicality, comfort – and, of course, outstanding performance and handling dynamism.
But what if there were no rules? What if the budget was unlimited, and if every relevant racing technology in the toolkit was up for grabs? What if the usual need to compromise outright performance was thrust so far into the background that it hardly figured? What kind of McLaren could they make then?