To meet them – and to exceed them – the design and engineering team has pushed the McLaren Senna to an entirely different level from the McLaren 675LT – and even the McLaren P1™.
Total downforce and the ability to shift the aerodynamic balance front or rear are the guiding principles. Those elements create the optimal dynamic attributes to produce the ultimate lap. One that inspires confidence in the driver to push towards faster and faster lap times.
The extremely aggressive appearance of the McLaren Senna epitomises McLaren’s ‘form-follows-function’ design philosophy. Downforce and aerodynamic balance are the guiding principles and McLaren’s designers have gone to extremes, cutting open the shrink-wrapped body to reduce weight. Proportionally it is recognisably a McLaren, but you cannot follow a single line from the front to the rear without it passing through a functional intake or vent. In pursuit of absolute performance, the McLaren Senna is purposely fragmented in its appearance. For McLaren’s design team, it honours the engineering of the vehicle in the most honest way.
The rear clamshell of the McLaren Senna is born entirely from aerodynamic and cooling requirements. A prominent ‘gurney’ flap ahead of the stepped louvres repels air, directing it around the sides of the vehicle and driving it up towards the rear wing. The resulting area of low pressure draws hot air out from the high-temperature radiators and engine bay, with the succession of stepped louvres progressively linking airflow to the trailing edge of the vehicle and the towering carbon fibre rear wing. The carbon fibre intake plenum and 800PS (789bhp) powertrain are visible through a lightweight polycarbonate engine cover.
The exhaust system on the McLaren Senna is beautifully crafted in lightweight Inconel and titanium, and the ‘slash cut’ pipes exit through the rear deck. Tightly packaged and painstakingly engineered to reduce weight, they are not the simplest engineering solution but they are the most efficient and most effective. Exhaust upthrust from their specific angle contributes to the aerodynamic efficiency of the McLaren Senna and their unique position improves engine cooling. The intense crescendo encourages the driver to use high rpms, the volume increasing with 10dB for every 2,000rpm, climbing right through to the engine’s rev limit.
The immensely strong, stiff and lightweight carbon fibre MonoCage III features an innovative double-walled carbon fibre rear upper structure. It is engineered to provide stowage space for two race helmets and their accompanying race suits, perfectly marrying form and function, as the focused driving environment does not allow for additional luggage space. Reflecting the track-focused nature of the McLaren Senna, the customer can specify six-point racing harnesses for both the driver and passenger, and an MSO Defined powered drink system to ensure optimal hydration during extended circuit running.
The McLaren F1-inspired dihedral doors create an intimate connection between the driver and the environment with unique glazed door panels made from lightweight, toughened Gorilla Glass. Inspired by the 360-degree vision experienced by helicopter pilots, the incredible glazed doors offer fantastic visibility and an unmatched sense of drama as light floods into the cabin through canopy-style glazed upper door sections. The astonishing strength of the MonoCage III further allows for incredibly slim roof pillars that deliver excellent views through the deep, wide windscreen and across the front fenders to perfectly place the McLaren Senna through corners.
From within the cockpit of the McLaren Senna, the extreme engineering is clear to see. The three-spoke steering wheel is free of buttons and switches, creating a pure focus on the sensory feedback. The door-release mechanisms and window switches have been moved to the centre of the vehicle, to a roof-mounted console. Alcantara covers the side airbags but the removal of further interior trim saves weight. Even the gas door struts are exposed to save vital grams. Stopping short of removing the second seat altogether, the interior of the McLaren Senna is unashamedly ‘anti-social’ and utterly focused upon the driver.
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