You know when you’re in a bar on the wrong side of town, then all of a sudden there’s the sound of breaking glass and roaring silence and a deep, harsh voice says, “Okay then. Let’s take it outside.” Well that is, in essence, what McLaren just said to every other car maker on the planet, but they were looking right at Bugatti when they said it.
McLaren just fired this huge warning shot at the Geneva International Motor Show. They call it the ‘Hyper-GT,’ which is a stupid, stupid name, but it’s only a place holder, so don’t worry. The main thing they said was the ‘Hyper-GT’ will be capable of exceeding 243 mph. Yes, for those of you keeping track at home, that’s the max velocity of the iconic McLaren F1. Yes, in a way, this will be the “replacement” for the F1. In a way. And also “exceeding 243 mph” means it is going to be pretty close to what Bugattis and Koenigseggs are capable of doing. In other words, the top speed wars are on.
The ‘Hyper-GT’ is the next model in the Ultimate Series and follows the aerodynamically pure, yet aesthetically revolting McLaren Senna. The ‘Hyper-GT’ will feature a three-seat cockpit design and centrally-mounted driving position just like in the F1 (or the Ferrari Guida Centrale, if you want to go way back).
All In One
Baring the internal code name BP23, the ‘Hyper-GT’ aims to be both the fastest-ever and the most luxurious McLaren yet. The idea is that the McLaren BP23 would deliver an unparalleled blend of extreme performance with its petrol-electric hybrid powertrain and sporting luxury, and, at the end of the day, still be the ultimate road-going McLaren. And no, this is not just a rumor, this is straight from the lips of McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt during the Geneva Motor Show press conference. So consider it as official as it can get.
McLaren will only make 106 examples of the BP23. Astute readers will note that 106 is the same number of F1s made by McLaren, so they are really leveraging their past history with this upcoming car of theirs. McLaren also notes that all the ‘Hyper-GTs’ are already sold and will run £1.6 million plus taxes to buy. Kind of cryptic, that. Basically means they cost a lot but they’ve already sold anyway.
Production & In Person
Production is due to begin at the end of 2019, with every BP23 out of the factory personalized to each owner’s taste by McLaren Special Operations, or MSO, the in-house skunk works division responsible for bespoke customer commissions. The real name of the McLaren ‘Hyper-GT’, together with the maximum speed attainable, will be disclosed nearer to the car’s reveal. The ‘Hyper-GT’ will be shown to the public before the end of the year, with a private preview for its depositors ahead of that. That’s a nice way of saying the filthy rich will get a look at it before us yobs do.
There’s a reading of the tea leaves that can be done here, but to me, it seems rather simple: McLaren, former holder of the world’s fastest and coolest car crown, just got tired of hearing about Bugatti all the time.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.