For a company that makes some of the most track-focused vehicles in the world, a new model billed as the most-track focused McLaren road car in production must mean something pretty special. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the McLaren 675LT coupe is the company’s technologically advanced, ultra-lightweight track-day monster that can go from zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds, has an estimated price of around $400,000, and is road legal — in case you need to stop by the grocery store on your way home from the track.
For those who feel that McLaren’s cars lack passion in the design department, the 675LT’s aggressive front splitter and aerodynamic upgrades give the 675 LT a fearsome stance that should be more than enough to quiet any naysayers. McLaren dryly states that the car has “a more aggressive look for the McLaren brand than has ever been seen before,” but to put a fine point on it, the downright evil-looking 675LT’s 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 has been tuned to make a not-so-subtle 666 horsepower.
While the car is based on the the 650S, half of the car’s engine components have been changed for increased power. Overall, one-third of the car’s parts are unique to this standalone model. For increased performance, the track-day McLaren has been stripped to save weight, making the new car 220 pounds lighter than the 650S. The “LT” designation means Long Tail and refers to the car’s enlarged rear air brake.
The area of the brake is 50% larger than the one on the 650s, but due to a carbon fiber construction, it’s also considerably lighter. Altogether, these benefits add up to an increase of 16 extra horsepower and greater downforce, but the new car is only 0.1 seconds quicker from zero to 60 than the 650S. This may not sound like much, but with this level of performance the McLaren is essentially competing with itself — with nearly 100 horsepower over the Ferrari 458 Speciale and the Lamborghini Gallardo, it has no real direct competitors in its price bracket.
On top of the new McLaren’s fly-weight and performance pedigree, its “Long Tail” designation has special significance for brand. The last road car to get the “LT” treatment was the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR LT. That car was the track-focused version of the iconic F1 road car, and while the F1 GTR LT’s revised aerodynamics and massive rear wing made the car 25 inches longer than a production F1, it was also nearly 300 pounds lighter than the regular car.
Only three road-going F1 GTR LTs were built, but McLaren built an additional nine versions of the car to go racing. They took five out of 11 races in the 1997 GT season, and one car finished second in its class at that year’s 24 Hours of LeMans. McLaren calls the F1 GTR LT “the purest competition version of the F1 ever built,” and nearly 20 years later, its applying the same special treatment to it’s 675LT.
Any road-going McLaren will draw comparisons to the legendary F1, but with the 675LT, the company is all but inviting the scrutiny. The 675LT may not have the same impact on the automotive world the then-world’s fastest production car F1 did back in the 1990s, but it represents the next evolutionary step in the company’s quest to build the ultimate performance cars for both the road and track.
The 650S is only the third road car the company has built since the F1, and with the 675LT, McLaren is showing the world that the car is a worthy descendant of its icon. McLaren has built its reputation on building some of the purest driving machines in the world, and the 675LT brilliantly distills their six decades of performance heritage into one car. Let the comparisons begin.
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