2018 McLaren Senna is a Track-Ready Retina Fryer [w/ Video]
In olden times, it was widely believed that the more smooth and streamlined a car was, the faster it was. This was particularly true of racecars and high performance road cars. But since the mid-1960s, aerodynamics has evolved from a guesswork-centric black art to a multibillion dollar hard science, and that science has resulted in track-ready cars that are…well…let’s just say they put more emphasis on function than they do form. Now it’s time to welcome the newest member of the “speed before sex appeal” club, the limited edition McLaren Senna.
So named both for Ayrton’s successful 1988-’93 tenure with the team and the fact that his nephew Bruno did much of the development driving, the Senna belongs to the brand’s same Ultimate Series family that the P1 does. However, instead of that car’s 3.8L twin-turbo V8 and a plug-in hybrid system, the Senna relies exclusively on a hopped-up (to 789 horsepower) version of the 720S’s 4.0L twin-turbo V8 for propulsion. It also has a dry weight of 2,641 lbs., making it one of the lightest (if not the lightest) McLaren road cars since the F1.
But really, there’s no getting around the elephant (man) in the room: The looks. Rather than evoking the spirit of, say, the mighty, clean-and-concise MP4/4 that Ayrton Senna piloted to the first of his three world championships, Senna the car instead makes us think of the Homer. Don’t get us wrong; we’re sure the huge front overhang, myriad scoops and vents and enormous gooseneck-pylon rear wing provide beaucoup downforce at track day pace. We just wish the optional in-the-door windows were applied to a car whose appearance appealed to entities other than air molecules. Then again, considering all 500 copies of the McLaren Senna have already been sold (at roughly $1,000,000 each), it’s not really our problem, is it?