2015 McLaren 650S Le Mans is a Sweet Anniversary Present
When legendary designer Gordon Murray and his team were developing the car that would become the McLaren F1, their focus was strictly on creating the ultimate supercar for the street; racing the F1 wasn’t really on the company’s radar. However, when inquiries about a competition model started pouring in from race teams, McLaren began developing the F1 GTR. Not only did this afterthought of a project sell like gangbusters (for a megabuck GT racecar, anyway), but it was also quite successful on track. In fact, it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall on its first attempt in 1995. That’s an astounding feat, and one we very much doubt will ever be matched.
And, if you’ve got at least a basic grasp of math, you know that this year marks the 20th anniversary of McLaren’s first – and, to date, only – Le Mans win. And McLaren is well aware of this milestone, as well, for it has announced a special edition 650S. The McLaren 650S Le Mans features some minor styling tweaks – like vents atop the front fenders and a rooftop air intake scoop – drawn up by the very same guy that styled the F1’s exterior, Peter Stevens. Throw in 5-spoke wheels and a paint color called Sarthe Gray and you have a supercar whose looks strongly echo those of the #59 Ueno Clinic F1 GTR that Yannick Dalmas, JJ Lehto and Masanori Sekiya drove to victory two decades ago.
As you might have guessed, the 650S Le Mans has all the same drivetrain hardware as the regular 650S, namely the 641 horsepower 3.8L twin-turbo V8 and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. This will be one fast car (McLaren claims 0-62 mph blitzes will take less than three seconds and the top speed will be 207 mph), and one-fast-selling car: Just 50 of these commemorative road-scorchers will be made, with deliveries slated to begin this summer, around the same time the company will host a party for 650S Le Mans buyers to mark the 20th anniversary of the famous victory.