McLaren, a racing company that only recently got into building road cars, knows the gospel according to St. Colin: “To go fast, add lightness.” The Lotus founder was fanatical about this, and anybody involved in racing becomes that way too. So it follows such an obsession will find its way into a company’s road cars.
In so many words, the latest news from Woking, Surrey, England is that McLaren is recommitting to weight reduction. And it’s no surprise carbon fiber remains the primary path to delivering superlight supercars, like the 765LT. In fact, the new version sheds nearly 180 lbs. of mass to provide performance advantages across the board. The 765LT, the latest limited-volume supercar from the wilds of Woking, tips the scales at only 2,709 lbs. of dry weight.
“Vehicle mass is the enemy of performance whether a car has a conventional internal combustion engine or a fully electrified powertrain,” explained Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive. “Winning the weight race is an absolute priority for us.”
Investing In Composite Technologies
The 765LT is the fourth car in McLaren’s line of Longtails. It continues the well-established traits known to Longtails, mainly increased performance and track-focused dynamics. With the carbon fiber Monocage II structure at the 765LT’s core, the follow on to the 720S was plenty light already. However, there are always improvements to be made, even if finding less weight was a big challenge for the 765LT’s development team.
The McLaren 765LT makes extensive use of carbon fiber throughout. The lightweight but durable material can be found in exterior body panels, aerodynamic components, and inside the car as well, from the seats to the center tunnel. For the first time, several of these components are fabricated at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre in Yorkshire. (They are usually busy making parts for the company’s Grand Prix cars).
“McLaren Automotive has invested heavily in the McLaren Composites Technology Centre, our own UK composite materials innovation and production facility,” Flewitt added.
It’s not just the use of exotic carbon fiber, either. Other weight-saving measures include lighter side windows and motorsport-style polycarbonate rear windows. The quad-exit exhaust is now made entirely from titanium, a 40 percent weight drop over the more normal stainless steel. It’s also been retuned for a more distinct McLaren sound.
How Fast Is The McLaren 765LT?
The twin-turbo V8 engine mounted amidships is good for 755 bhp and 590 lb-ft. of torque. With the engine and weight reduction measures, the McLaren 765LT can hit 124 mph in just 7.2 seconds.
The suspension is track-focused (obviously), designed from the outset with minimal weight in mind. For example, there are motorsport-derived “helper” springs that do away with the need for a heavier, more conventional, dual-rate sprint arrangement. If you’re a potential 765LT customer, you can be extra fanatical and leave the air conditioning and audio system off the car.
However, if you’re more sensible, you can keep these systems for no cost.
McLaren 765LT Availability
Speaking of being a McLaren 765LT buyer, you should hurry up and get in line now. Just 765 individually-numbered examples of the new Longtail will be built globally, and McLaren retailers are already taking deposits. Of course, the 765LT will be expensive, but it will also be worth every penny.
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.