You could equally use the word for a gathering of people around said collection of McLarens, these cars attracting small and intrigued crowds inside the Eurotunnel train, at autoroute services and just about anywhere else we stopped. An awful lot of pixels were committed to smartphone memories.
The cars in question were two 650Ss, and four 570Ss, your blogger driving a blade silver 570S over two days, with an overnight in Reims. Trips like these are great for getting under the skin of cars, time and mileage allowing you discover everything, from whether there’s somewhere to put you mobile (there is) to what it’s like for long hours on a motorway (surprisingly civilised) to the essential dynamic and performance reasons for having a car like this.
And what you discover is that the instant-action steering that requires you to concentrate a little more to keep it in lane yields the kind of precision and feel that soon has you swooping confidently through the tight, never-ending esses of Alpine hills with an exhilarating flourish. That this McLaren instantly feels like a stable, grippy and reliable bend-mate soon has you charging curves ever harder, aided by firmly progressive – and potent – brakes and enough power to compress straights with thrilling despatch. Although you need more than 2500rpm on the dial to go really hard, the compensation for this a lull in crescendo of power, noise and scenery-streaming thrust to 9000rpm. The 570S is a rompingly fast car, and few will want for more power.
The urge to use all its horses along the gloriously long straight that bisects the abandoned pits and grandstands of the old Reims road circuit is thwarted (probably just as well) by the photographer’s needs, the place clearly a pilgrimmage for local motorsport enthusiasts, the local Mini club combining with the McLarens to produce an impressive array of British machinery in front of the pits.
Other 570S observations? It rides with firm, well-damped pliancy, the seats and cabin are comfortable for many hours even if your lower back may ache a little in the end, there’s enough on-board storage for it to be practical and the combined infotainment and air conditioning cluster is reasonably intuitive. Pleasing little details include the railway truck graphic that appears in the instrument cluster when you reach the Eurotunnel, the hidden cubbies in the door trims, the array of connectors in the storage box beneath the armrest and transmission buttons that are shaped to make them easy to select by touch.