Photo: McLaren

We don’t really do road car news and reviews here – we’re strictly about the racing. But late last night, McLaren launched a car that is probably going to become big motorsport news very soon. The McLaren Senna.

Codenamed the McLaren P15, the McLaren Senna was unveiled at midnight last night. McLaren say it’s their most extreme car yet and replaces the P1. They also teased the potential of a GTR version of the car, which would of course replace the P1 GTR.

The McLaren Senna produces 789 horsepower, 590 pound-feet of torque, and weighs just 1,198kg. It may not be the prettiest McLaren ever made, but the specifications are impressive.

But the most extreme McLaren road car ever made? Not entirely sold on that one. Whilst 789 horsepower is impressively large, the McLaren P1 produced 903 hp, and the P1 GTR 986 hp. The P1 tipped the scales a couple of hundred kilograms heavier than the Senna, but it was certainly more powerful. It also came with a hybrid system to augment the power, giving it a 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds.


So what’s it for?

So far the McLaren Senna is lighter than the P1, but has less power, no hybrid system, and no published 0-60 time. In the hypercar world, specs and numbers are king. It seems that the Senna isn’t designed for numbers.

It’s also not going to be the next McLaren GT3 car. The new 720S GT3 starts a testing program in 2018, and will be available as a customer car in 2019. The 570S is already available to GT4 customers. Where does the Senna fit? It’s designed for GTE.

The McLaren P1 isn’t adaptable to Le Mans regulations in either standard or GTR format. The hybrid system counts it out, and it’s a bit heavy to strip weight from. The Senna arrives with no hybrid system, and an engine that is closer to the GTE power window. The weight is around the right number too – 1200 kg is less than the Ferrari 488 GTE 1500 kg.

The numbers produced fit as well. The Senna will be limited to 500 units, whilst GTE regulations require at least 100 units for a large manufacturer. Only 58 P1 GTR’s were produced, but it seems reasonable that if a Senna GTR comes along then it would meet the 100 required units.

Other things worth noting – it has a single wheel nut, unlike the P1 which had 5. The fuel filler position is conveniently positioned. And the fancy aero is all inboard, where it’s harder to regulate.

Is this the car that McLaren returns to Le Mans with? Will it be a full factory effort only? Or will customers be able to purchase the car? Will we see them in the IMSA GTLM class? We’ll find out soon enough.

Engineering student, lover of all things technical and lifelong motorsport fan. Employed in the Oil & Gas Industry, developing Major Emergency Management simulations. Owner of the best beard on the site.