Mclaren honors F1 legend aryton senna with its $1 million, road legal supercar


don’t get excited looking for performance figures just yet; aside from its million dollar price tag, there aren’t any, but based on the name, the aerodynamic intakes, power-to-weight ratio and branding, it would be unfortunate for the ultimate series, if the mclaren senna didn’t set some street legal records. design choices such as its highly-highly-highly-placed exhaust, its orangey orange color, and its minimally minimal interior are (like all strange design choices) receiving mixed reviews, but people hung up on these elements are missing the aryton senna point here: if mclaren delivers what its promised, a form-follows-function, aggressively road legal track car, then its owners—all whopping 500 of them—won’t mind at all.

production is limited to 500 units, all hand-assembled at the mclaren production centre
all images courtesy of mclaren

the double diffuser at the rear of the car is a single piece of carbon fibre; it starts under the rear axle, increases in height and accelerates air out from under the vehicle accordingly, creating a low-pressure zone and sucking the senna to the ground. its enormous carbon fibre wing sits 1,219mm from the road when the car is idle. once again, function-over-form: it adjusts itself, optimizes downforce, and doubles as an airbrake.

appearance epitomizes ‘form-follows-function’ mclaren design philosophy

the senna-inspired machine has a dual-clutch seven-speed gearbox, so the shifting should be seamless. automatic mode is default, but one of the 500 drivers will be able to take full manual control of gear shifts via mounted paddles behind the steering wheel. use them with or without racing gloves. with a carbon fibre chassis, carbon fibre body panels, rear wheel drive, and racecar-level suspension, it’s a classic supercar that’s bound to deliver unparalleled control and balance. its electro-hydraulic steering should give pure feedback for the dreamer driver in the cockpit.

bears the name of legendary formula 1 driver, ayrton Senna

if this vehicle performs as expected, owners will experience downforce like no other on the track. they’ll feel the lightest mclaren road car since the F1. they’ll feel the most powerful mclaren road car internal combustion engine, the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8, with every turn. they’ll get a small, small, taste (but a taste none-the-less) of what senna must have felt behind the wheel of his mclaren.

it introduces a new generation of ground-breaking front and rear active aerodynamics

for now, these are all ifs, but its weight (1,198kg/2,641lbs) is not an if. its power-to-weight ratio of 668PS-per-tonne is not an if. to name the car after arguably the greatest formula one driver of all time, this road car’s performance better not be an if.

the minimalism saves weight and reveals the construction of the doors

the exhaust is placed high, above the tail lights

the stiffness of the senna is separately controlled using a kinetic roll system

race mode introduces a lower ride height, lower centre of gravity and stiffer suspension

dynamic parameters are adjusted by the driver through an active dynamics panel

driver controls are kept to a minimum to reduce clutter

the cockpit environment is stripped for function

three-spoke steering wheel is free of buttons and switches

Only one style of wheel is available: ultra-lightweight alloy with a centre lock system.

the braking system is mclaren’s most efficient ever designed for a road car

will the performance of this machine live up to its name?