The Senna was unveiled online by the company on December 10, 2017, with the official unveiling taking place at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in 2018.
The car is named after the Brazilian Formula One race car driver Ayrton Senna, honouring and giving tribute to his success with the McLaren Formula One Team between the 1988 and 1993 Formula 1 seasons. Senna won three Formula One World Driver’s Championship titles and thirty-five Formula One Grand Prix with the team; McLaren also won four consecutive Formula One World Constructor’s Championship titles with Senna as part of their driver line-up.
(McLaren Automotive holds the rights to the Senna family name along with the Instituto Ayrton Senna. The organization and McLaren have made the Senna name exclusive to the car, thereby prohibiting any other company from using the name.)
The Senna is largely based on the McLaren 720S, using a modified version of its carbon fibre monocoque and engine. The Senna is powered by a modified version of the 720S’ 3,994 cc (4.0 L; 243.7 cu in) twin-turbocharged V8 engine codenamed the M840TR. It utilises a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that delivers all 800 PS (789 bhp; 588 kW) at 7250 rpm and 590 lbft (800 Nm) of torque at 5500 rpm to the rear wheels. Unlike the previous offering in the Ultimate Series, the P1, the Senna does not use an electric motor in favour of its low dry weight of 1,198 kg (2,641 lbs.), which allows for a power-to-weight ratio of 659 hp (491 kW; 667 PS) per tonne.
In February 2018, McLaren released the full performance statistics of the track-oriented Senna model:
0–62 mph (0–100 km/h): 2.7 seconds.
0–124 mph (0–200 km/h): 6.8 seconds.
0–186 mph (0–299 km/h): 17.5 seconds.
Standing 1⁄4 mile (402 m): 9.9 seconds.
Top speed: 211 mph (340 km/h) (redline limited).
These statistics immediately underline the performance credentials of the newcomer to the McLaren Ultimate Series, a product family introduced with the McLaren P1™ and reserved for the rarest and most extreme McLaren cars.
The carbon structure at the core of the McLaren Senna, Monocage III, is the perfect complement to the aerodynamics and powertrain. This strongest monocoque that McLaren has ever built for a road legal vehicle, Monocage III combines with an all-carbon body and uncompromising lightweight engineering throughout to make the McLaren Senna the lightest McLaren since the iconic F1.
There are strong echoes in the new McLaren Senna of the incredibly focused philosophy behind the McLaren P1™; yet where the latter was designed to be the best driver’s car on road and track, the ambition for the McLaren Senna is for it to be the best road-legal track car, setting a new benchmark for circuit excellence with track prowess taking precedence.
An innovative new hydraulic suspension system, RaceActive Chassis Control II, works in harmony with the active aerodynamics and sacrifices daily usability for circuit pre-eminence. Selecting Race mode brings the uncompromising nature of the McLaren Senna to the fore, the hydraulic suspension increasing roll stiffness and reducing ride height to lower the centre of gravity and further improve aerodynamic performance.
This is a McLaren that embodies Ayrton Senna’s values. The passion in everything he did is reflected in the efforts of every McLaren designer and engineer in creating the vehicle that carries his name. The commitment to go back to the drawing board once component weight targets were met and pursue a further five per cent reduction mirrors Ayrton Senna’s single-minded focus and the abandonment of trademark McLaren usability in the quest to build the ultimate track car, his refusal to compromise. Most importantly, the innate feel and intuitive connection to his race cars for which Ayrton Senna was renowned will be experienced by those who drive the McLaren Senna.
Just 500 examples of the McLaren Senna will be produced and all are already assigned. Each vehicle will be hand-assembled by specialists at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, England, in a process taking close to 300 hours.
This artwork depicts the launch Senna (which carried the internal code name of P15) with its doors open, in the ‘By McLaren’ exterior paint colour of “Trophy Mira Orange”.
(The model ‘titling’ on the artwork is optional upon request)