Ferrari has its Challenge Series, Lamborghini the Super Trofeo, and McLaren has the Super Series. These are all one-make racing series for the well-healed, beautiful people racers out there. You go and plunk down a lot of money, “The Boys From Woking” give you a shiny, new, race-prepped 675LT, and you get to play Fernando Alonso for several weekends a year.
The factory takes care of the support.
Racing & Reminiscing
Look, I like McLaren, I really do. When I was a kid, Bruce McLaren was one of the racers at the top of the pyramid. Him and fellow Kiwi Denny Hulme we so dominant in the Can-Am, people took to calling it “The Bruce & Denny Show.” Then Bruce died in a testing accident. His company carried on, fielding winning cars at Indy, and garnering world titles for the likes of Emerson Fittipaldi and James Hunt.
Then they sort of started to wallow, and along came Ron Dennis and his Project Four racing organization to the rescue. I really appreciate what Ron did as team principle. McLaren, under his leadership, could take on the form of an unstoppable juggernaut. And he was bright enough to hire guys like Gordon Murray and Ayrton Senna.
But great googlie mooglie, he’s an uptight guy. I mean even by British standards he was wound tighter than a window shade spring. He made Roger Penske look like Bootsie Collins and Frank Williams seem like Flavor Flav. His drivers would win from far back in the pack, his cars would utterly dominate, and he’d barely crack a smile. He sucked all the joy out of his team’s accomplishments and, consequently, extracted all the pleasure for the fans too.
But Ron’s gone now. Shuffled out of the corporation he helped shape and build in some sort of ugly internecine palace coup d’état. So in my book, it’s okay to like McLaren again! Which of course makes their Super Series all the more interesting.
Power & Performance
First off, we have got to come up with a better name. Super Series? Really?
Although, the cars are pretty durn interesting. They run race-prepped 675LTs, track versions of the company’s supercar, and although McLaren curiously withholds complete engine specifications, they do provide some performance numbers, and yow!, these things can scoot.
Zero to 200km (124mph) takes a measly 7.8 seconds and the standing quarter mile comes up in a shockingly short 10.3 seconds. I’ve seen racing motorcycles go slower than that. The engine is a new 4.0-liter plant with a new exhaust system, tuned to provide a soundtrack to match the performance. If, for some reason, that’s not enough noise for you, there’s an available sports exhaust option for “more aural excitement.”
“Power, torque, and throttle response are all significantly enhanced compared to the first-generation Super Series, yet with fuel efficiency and emissions also notably improved,” commented Haydn Baker, McLaren Super Series Vehicle Line Director.
The new M840T engine is fitted with ultra-low inertia, twin-scroll turbochargers. Spooling up more rapidly than previous designs, they deliver reduced turbo lag and quicker throttle response, meaning the days of “mash it, count to 3, and you better be pointing in the right direction” are far in the past.
If you’re the kind of track rat that likes to brag about your car – and at this level, a lot of these people do – there’s all these extra-trick bits that McLaren has thrown into the mix. There’s “automatic engine bay illumination as part of the welcome sequence on vehicle unlocking,” which means when you unlock the doors, lights on the engine bay turn on. Why? Well besides being an insufferable hole that likes stuff like that, it also shows off the cast-aluminum air intake plenum with the McLaren Speedmark logo.
So there’s that.
The second-generation McLaren Super Series will make its public debut on March 7th at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show. More details and the complete performance specifications will be released at that time.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.
Photos & Source: McLaren Automotive