McLaren reveals the Speedtail 'Hyper-GT'

Judy Cobb
October 30, 2018

Just 106 examples will be made, and all have been accounted for despite the £1.75m pre-tax asking price.

Certainly there was a tacit admission from those in charge that its quoted V-Max is first and foremost about exceeding the 243mph set by the McLaren F1 rather than chasing an absolute, at-all-costs limit.

McLaren calls the Speedtail a "momentous unity of art, technology, and velocity", classifying the auto as a Hyper-GT which complements the vehicle's raw power with a lightweight and aerodynamic design. It's accessed by powered (a first for McLaren) double-skinned dihedral doors that feature a single piece of "wrapover" glazing which forms part of the roof when closed.

While the F1 weighed in at an amazingly light 2,500 pounds, the Speedtail unfortunately adds another 1,000 pounds to that tally. About a third of them are expected to go to buyers in the United States despite the fact that, technically, the Speedtail isn't legal to drive on public streets here.

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"McLaren has never built a vehicle like the Speedtail before", McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt said in a statement. Even the front wheels are covered by carbonfibre aero plates. The long rear deck and "teardrop" cockpit canopy help streamline the airflow over the vehicle, and the two rear ailerons are embedded into the clamshells and forged out of flexible carbon fibre to reduce the drag and turbulence caused by bodywork shutlines. That's another homage to the F1, which had a similar set-up - allowing the driver to sit centrally for the best and most natural view out. The mode sets the hybrid drivetrain to 11, flattens the active rear ailerons and can also lower the auto by 35mm.

Inside, the Speedtail is clearly the most luxury-oriented model McLaren has made.

The driver-focused cockpit gets a large center-mounted screen flanked by two equally big touchscreens, while further away we see two more LCD panels that will display images from the cameras that replace the conventional mirrors. And the driver's seat is located in the middle and two passenger sides behind the driver. Its monocage body is crafted from lightweight carbon fiber and designed with aerodynamic optimization in mind. The seat is trimmed in a new kind of leather, created to allow people to slide effortlessly across its bolsters without compromising the way they're held in place under heavy g-forces.

Technically speaking, the new hypercar doesn't meet US regulations to be road legal. That said, a third of the run was sold to American customers, meaning those that bring the auto here will need to apply for a show and display exemption. There are only 106 being produced - the same number of original F1s sold to the public.

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