McLaren reveals its 1035 hp Speedtail ‘ Hyper-GT’
McLaren Automotive today reveals the stunning, streamlined form and sensational specification of the McLaren Speedtail. The next chapter in McLaren’s Ultimate Series, the Speedtail is the first ‘Hyper-GT’ from the British company recognised for producing luxury sportscars and supercars that deliver extraordinary driving experiences. The Speedtail can achieve the highest maximum speed of any McLaren to date, reaching 403 km/h. Just 106 will be created and all are already reserved, at a price from £1.75million plus taxes.
The teardrop-shaped cockpit and aerodynamically optimised body are the foundation for the exceptional aerodynamic drag efficiency, with innovative features such as carbon fibre front-wheel static aero covers, retractable digital rear-view cameras (in lieu of mirrors) and patented active rear ailerons further contributing to the ultra-low drag achieved.
The Speedtail model is built around a bespoke McLaren Monocage carbon fibre structure and benefits from lightweight engineering throughout, including an all-carbon fibre body, aluminium active suspension and carbon ceramic brakes. The powertrain is a pioneering petrol-electric hybrid developing a combined 1,050PS.
A speed of 403km/h is achieved in a unique Velocity mode, which has been developed specifically for the Speedtail. Velocity mode optimises the hybrid powertrain for high-speed running, while also tailoring the angle of the active rear ailerons. Additionally, the digital rear-view cameras can be retracted to further improve drag. Furthermore, the Velocity Active Chassis Control can lower the Speedtail by 35mm.
The hybrid powertrain enables a relentless increase in vehicle speed regardless of engine rpm and the low weight of the Speedtail – only 1,430kg dry – hastens this ability. The straight-line acceleration of the Speedtail sets a new benchmark for a McLaren, with 0-300km/h achieved in just 12.8 seconds; McLaren Automotive’s previous Ultimate Series hybrid, the McLaren P1™, could reach this speed in 16.5 seconds. A bespoke P-ZERO™ tyre designed for the Speedtail’s extreme speed has been developed with McLaren technology partner, Pirelli.
Being at the wheel of a Speedtail promises to be a truly sensational experience and unlike that enjoyed in any other car. The driver is positioned centrally in the luxurious cockpit, with seating for two additional passengers set slightly rearwards. There is luggage space within both the nose and tail of the vehicle and a bespoke luggage set is available to every owner, the carbon fibre, leather and metalwork on the cases being matched to the interior specification of their Speedtail.
One of the innovations immediately obvious on the McLaren Speedtail is the introduction of lightweight, carbon fibre front-wheel static aero covers. Incorporated into the 20-inch, 10-spoke forged alloy front wheel design to minimise aerodynamic drag, they remain fixed in position as the wheels rotate, the flat surface smoothing airflow around what would otherwise be a turbulent aerodynamic area. Typically, the revolution of a wheel drives air away from the vehicle, but the carbon fibre front-wheel static aero covers keep the air ‘attached’ to the car and guide it onwards to the door blades on the leading edge of the dihedral doors.
The static wheel covers work in conjunction with multiple ducts and air paths to reduce turbulent air within the wheelarches. As air passes out of the LTRs, for instance, it is vented into the front wheelarches. From there – together with heat energy generated by the lightweight, carbon ceramic braking system – the air is channeled through the ducts in the fixed front wheel aero cover in a consistent flow pattern. Pressure within the wheelarches is also reduced via the lower door vents, which draw the turbulent air created by the rotating front wheels out of the arches and drive it smoothly along the sides of the McLaren Speedtail. The wheels themselves are finished in an elegant gloss black, with diamond-cut finishing.
The trailing edge of the Speedtail showcases a particular highlight, namely a pair of active rear ailerons. These dynamic elements are hydraulically actuated and an integral part of the rear clamshell, formed in flexible carbon fibre; the body of the Speedtail can quite literally bend. With a tolerance of only 1mm between the surfaces, this dramatic new technology all but removes any gaps or shutlines between the vehicle and the leading edge of the spoilers, meaning there is no turbulent air, no drag and no loss of speed.
Ahead of the driver is a state-of-the-art control system, with high-definition displays and touchscreens that sweep across the dashboard and remove almost every button and switch traditionally found in a car. The controls to start the engine, turn on the Active Dynamics Panel and engage Velocity mode – as well as those to open the windows and doors – are in panels above the driver’s head. These controls and the other switches and dials are milled from aluminium, and then hand-brushed and polished.
The beautifully crafted interior fuses contemporary craftsmanship and cutting-edge innovations to push the boundaries of design into a new era. The elegance and material excellence is more akin to high fashion, luxury yachts and bespoke furniture than is normally seen within an automotive environment. The scope for personalisation is extraordinary and every Speedtail will be unique to its owner.
Pursuing further innovation, McLaren utilised this digital loom technique to develop a unique carbon fibre and titanium weave, christened Titanium Deposition Carbon Fibre. Traditional methods to change the colour of carbon fibre can compromise the material’s structural integrity and visual clarity; for the Speedtail, a micron-thin layer of titanium is fused directly onto the weave and becomes an integral part of the carbon fibre’s construction. The titanium deposition process maintains immense strength and low weight and creates a truly remarkable finish of visual carbon fibre with a chrome-effect shimmer.
The front splitter, diffuser and side skirts are all finished in 1K Titanium Deposition Carbon Fibre. This material has just 1000 fibres per thread, making it lighter than the 3K alternative and allowing the adoption of a Jacquard weaving process to create an intricate, bespoke pattern in the Visual Carbon Fibre elements. The titanium can additionally be anodised in any bespoke colour or used to create interwoven images, symbols or even words within the carbon – for example, the rear of the driver’s seat features the McLaren logo.
Working in collaboration with expert Swiss watchmaker, Richard Mille, McLaren used pioneering horology techniques to develop a world-first in the automotive sector: Thin-Ply Technology Carbon Fibre (TPT). The material is comprised of countless ultra-thin carbon layers just 30 microns in depth, each positioned at a 45° angle. The surface is then delicately milled to expose a stratified, shimmering construction that resembles flowing water. This fusion of cutting-edge technology and design with precision engineering is truly unique, and can be integrated into areas of the Speedtail such as the overhead control panel, gearshift paddles and steering wheel clasp. TPT is also used in the McLaren badge on the front of the Speedtail design model, with both this badge and the Speedtail name formed in 18-carat white gold, the letters being individually pressed, clipped and polished.
The limited production of the Speedtail has given McLaren the opportunity to push colour and materials design into unchartered territory and owners will experience an unprecedented journey of vehicle personalisation, leading up to the beginning of 2020 when the first deliveries of this rarest of Ultimate Series McLaren will take place.