Video: On Track With The McLaren Senna

Though footage of McLaren’s latest flagship is sparse, and the car is still something of a mystery, these two pieces of promotional film showcase some of the car’s on-track behavior, as well as the fervor which possesses the men who made it and the racer who inspired it.

Ayrton Senna has been idolized and made into a flawless racing hero, though in truth he was a far more complicated character than the general public tends to think. What isn’t debatable is his level of commitment, which bordered on zealous obsession. Willing to forego everything in life in the name of racing success, the mercurial Brazilian completely dedicated himself to his craft, and became known for his obsession with detail.

Senna’s pursuit of incremental improvements made him a world-class driver. The crew responsible for this new car also share that trait, which manifests in the focused nature of the car. While the cynics might dismiss this merely as sportier version of the mid-range 720S and not a top-of-the-range hypercar, the emphasis on performance in all departments is simply unmatched — even among McLaren’s uniquely-focused array of sports cars. This truly puts the Senna on par with the P1 or any of the small-batch cars with a special sort of cachet, but this one is even sharper-edged and more versatile than its last hybrid hypercar made for the track.

For instance, the ride height control has moved on somewhat since the P1 GTR; the Senna’s softest setting is more supple and compliant than that of the P1 GTR for bumpier, slower tracks. At speed, the active aerodynamics will shift depending on the behavior of the car. When the nose is pitched down under braking, the front winglets can alter their angle of attack to ensure a nice aero balance front to rear. It’s a multifaceted car that will excel on both the high-speed circuits as well as the technical proving grounds, and as the product of a relentless pursuit of improvement, it will certainly live up to its name.

Photo credit: McLaren

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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