After almost a year of teaser images and bitesize pieces of information, McLaren’s spiritual successor to the legendary McLaren F1 has finally arrived. Featuring the same three-seat configuration as the F1, McLaren’s new Hyper-GT features over 1,000bhp and is capable of 250mph, making it officially the fastest McLaren in history.
The complete opposite to the outrageous McLaren Senna – which features harsh lines and dramatic aerodynamic elements – Speedtail as all about smooth lines, elegance and aerodynamics. It’s the latter that really formed the shape and design of Speedtail; every detail of this beautiful car is there to help the journey of the air that flows across the body.
It’s the sole reason that Speedtail is so significant in length (about half-a-meter longer than a P1). That long tail is something that we’ve seen on many McLarens over the years – from McLaren F1 Longtail to the recent 600LT - and it helps to keep the air attached to the body, before slowly tapering the journey and minimising turbulence at the rear of the car.
Reduced turbulence is also the reason that the front wheels feature rather vintage looking carbon fibre covers and that the wing mirrors – well, cameras – have the ability to retract into the doors when the car is put into ‘Velocity Mode’. Literally everything on the McLaren Speedtail is there to lower drag.
One of the great side effects of this severe aim to reduce drag is a clean and flowing design that features undisturbed lines from nose to tail. With the various technologies that exist these days to help create downforce, it’s rare to see something that doesn’t feature various distractions designed to disrupt and channel airflow.
That’s not to say that there are no downforce features on this car – the rear features two active flaps that can act as an air brake. However, this is an airbrake with a difference as, unlike most active aerodynamic elements that feature a join, these are simply part of the rear clam shell made from flexible carbon fibre that bend to create drag; apparently having a crease or join would mean interrupting air flow. That’s how serious this car is.
Of course, aerodynamics and airflow are nothing without a way to actually propel the car through the air in the first place. Taking the McLaren Speedtail to that holy grail of 250mph is a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 that has been twinned with a new hybrid system.
Producing a total of 1,050PS (McLaren haven’t unveiled the power ratio of combustion to electric) the Speedtail is capable of reaching 182mph from a standstill in just 12.8 seconds – that’s faster than the Bugatti Chiron that covers the same acceleration in 13.1 seconds.
Besides the flowing design and power, this incredible performance statistic comes due to the Speedtail weighing just 1,430kg. That’s just 35kg more than the McLaren P1, an impressive feat when you consider the length of Speedtail and the fact that this is a Hyper-GT car with additional hybrid and comfort features.