McLaren’s chief test driver Chris Goodwin probably has the best job in the world. He’s just flown in from overseas where he’s been carrying out development testing and is now about to take a stab at the Goodwood hill climb route in the firm’s 570S Coupe.
He’s also, seemingly, in the wrong car, because ahead of us in the supercar queue is the P1 GTR – the car on which Goodwin carried out 90% of the developmental testing. It’s even got his name on the side. Still, knowing that my ride up the hill will be in his hands, I keep schtum.
As it turns out, Goodwin has a point to make. The 570S might well be the entry-level option in McLaren’s range, sitting as it does with the new 540C in the firm’s Sports Series, but entry-level takes on an entirely different meaning in this class.
With a price tag of £143,250, the 570S is about as far from entry-level as it gets – and that’s before you factor in its 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, its 562bhp output, and its 0-62mph sprint time of 3.2 seconds.
Sitting at the start line, watching the P1 GTR roll away in a cloud of tyre smoke, I wonder whether the 570S will feel any less exciting to ride in than McLaren’s hero car. As I’m pulled back into the seat seconds later, with the car's V8 engine note filling the cabin, I get my answer.
Goodwin well and truly opens the 570S’s taps on the first straight, clipping the corner and powering up towards the bridge ahead. I remember driver’s briefings from years past – that if you reach the bridge before braking you’ve had it, as there’s a tight right-hander moments later. I continue to remember it as we sail past the bridge at full chat.
The 570S’s carbon-ceramic brakes do their job well, and we’re flying past Goodwood’s flint wall in seconds. Then we’re into the track’s later sections, where the course narrows and turns without warning. Goodwin drops a gear and we’re flying again, this time towards the finish.
We cross the line, and Goodwin smiles: “you don’t need any more [power] than that,” he says. Point made – to call the 570S entry-level would be wrong. It’s still a thoroughbred McLaren, and that’s never going to be a bad thing.