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The Ultimate Guide to the McLaren Senna

McLaren Senna

McLaren Automotive, otherwise known as McLaren Cars, officially started its entry into the highly competitive industry of automobile production on December 2, 1985, by the company's founder, Ron Dennis. Originally as McLaren Cars, it was a separate entity from the existing cluster of McLaren-owned companies so that it could independently invest in automobile manufacturing and design. In 2010, the company changed its name to McLaren Automotive. In 2017, still as McLaren Automotive, it merged with the McLaren Technology Group. McLaren is headquartered in Woking, England where it focuses on the specialty of producing limited-edition supercars from its own facility, which is titled McLaren Technology Centre.

While Ron Dennis is credited to being McLaren Automotive's founder, it is really Bruce McLaren of Auckland, New Zealand who originally founded McLaren Formula One, which is now known today as McLaren Technology Group. In 1937, McLaren learned about cars and engineering while working at his family's gas station. This ignited a passion within McLaren that would serve as the starting point of one of the most impressive careers of a world-class racer on record. At just fifteen years old, McLaren competed in and won racing competitions that would ultimately send him to the UK in 1958 where he hoped to enter Australians and New Zealanders into the European racing circuit. Upon doing so, McLaren received an introduction to Cooper Cars, which was used by McLaren when he first competed in 1958 as part of Jack Brabham's Surbiton Formula One team. At only twenty-two years old, Bruce McLaren became the youngest winner of the US Grand Prix that was held in 1958 at that time. Bruce McLaren's Grand Prix racing career saw a total of four wins that include the usage of Cooper, Aston Martin, and Jaguar automobiles. In 1966, he drove a Ford GT40 to win the 24 hours of LeMans Grand Prix of Endurance. This feat was the first time in history an American-made automobile beat out the competition in overall performance.

More McLaren History

Before McLaren Automotive, Bruce McLaren started up McLaren Motor Racing in 1963. A year later, his company built McLaren's first race car, the M1A. In total, only twenty-four of them were ever produced. After that, M1B was a racecar that was permitted to enter Can-Am's Championship, which enjoyed forty-three wins during its run, which was three times more often than its top rival, Porsche. In 1965, M2B became McLaren's first Formula One car, which debuted at Monaco's Grand Prix. Afterward, the prototype M6GT-registered OBH 500H was to be a light sportscar capable of a speed of 165 miles per hour. However, before this prototype was completed for Bruce McLaren to drive, he was killed in a car accident in 1970.

A decade after McLaren's death, McLaren Motor Racing merged with Ron Dennis' Project 4 Racing team in 1980. This would eventually venture into the development of McLaren Cars in 1985. This would later release the 1992 McLaren F1 to the market. Until 1998, this lineup brought forth exactly 106 McLaren F1 models, which received impressive reviews worldwide. On March 31, 1998, McLaren's F1 XP5 prototype made a name for itself as the world's fastest car, according to the Guinness Book of World Records when it reached 240.1 miles per hour (386.4 kilometers per hour). While Ron Dennis was technically credited as the founder of McLaren Automotive, it was Bruce McLaren of Auckland, New Zealand who founded the company after his family name.

Introducing McLaren Senna

In 2017, Ron Dennis sold his shares of McLaren Automotive as it merged with McLaren Technology Group. However, he still remains with the McLaren Technology Group. As of 2018, McLaren Senna was introduced as a limited production mid-engined sportscar as the third member of the McLaren Ultimate Series. The McLaren Senna was displayed at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, serving homage to the Brazillian racecar driver, Ayrton Senna. From 1988 until 1993, he was the star driver belonging to McLaren's Formula One team and won a number of races for them throughout his impressive racing career. The creation behind the McLaren Senna was to achieve the goal of faster lap times. In order to do this, a lightweight design needed to incorporate aerodynamic elements. Senna's design is based on the 720S series, along with a modified version of its carbon-fiber monocoque and engine. Its power uses 3,994 ccs (4-liter; 243.7 cubic-inch) from a twin-turbocharged V-8 engine. Its seven-speed dual-clutch transmission delivers 800 PS (588 kW; 789-horsepower) at 7,250 RPM and 590 pounds per foot (800 N m) of torque at 5,500 RPM to its rear wheels.

The aerodynamic bonuses that come with the Senna feature a large adjustable double-element rear wing that is operated electronically and has different settings in order to provide optimal performance while acting as an airbrake simultaneously. There is also a double-element diffuser, a Formula One-inspired roof scoop, front and side air intakes, rear air louvers, and large front fenders, all of which add to Senna's aerodynamic design. Inside the panel, beside the intakes is a small set of mini-canards. High-performance radiators accompany low-pressure areas as a means to improve engine cooling. Senna's dihedral doors offer optional windows that can be applied to their lowered areas. It also features Brembo's carbon-ceramic brakes, which owes its smaller and lighter design to a compound that has more than three times thermal conductivity than previous versions. Senna also features a new set of lightweight central lock alloy wheels that were designed for Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R tires. As for its body, McLaren's fiber monocoque, named MonoCage III, explains the supercar's lower dry weight. A top-mounted Inconel-titanium exhaust system, otherwise known as hot-vee, features three outlet pipes in order to more aggressively use its exhaust note and engine emissions.

McLaren Senna's interior mostly consists of exposed carbon fiber. There is a choice between Alcantara and leather seating, depending on customer preference. Behind the two seats is enough room to securely store a pair of racing helmets and suits. The Race-Active Chassis Control II hydraulic suspension, along with double-wishbone control arms sums up McLaren's structure. Each of these Senna models that goes into production is hand-built from its own factory. Only five hundred units are being made, all of which have already been sold, ranging from the listed price of 750,000 EUR to as high as 1.9 million EUR.

McLaren Senna Models

There are five different models belonging to the Senna lineup. McLaren's 2018 Geneva Motor Show concept version was dubbed as the McLaren Senna GTR. Two years later, the Senna GTR featured a different bodywork than the concept that had already been unveiled. It has a different wing setup, plus toned-down aerodynamics, and it utilized a dual-clutch racing transmission for faster gear shifts. There was also a revised suspension system, as well as Pirelli racing slicks to help make it become the fastest non-Formula One vehicle McLaren Automotive has ever produced. The Senna GTR can produce at least 825 PS (607 kW; 814-horsepower) from its 4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, which is designed to have improved speed and agility compared to its road-friendlier counterpart. Its exterior features wider front and rear fenders, as well as a larger front splitter and larger rear diffuser. This helps generate approximately 2,204 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of downforce. Only seventy-five models of these McLaren Senna GTR models have been made. The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has been reviewing future regulations for its World Endurance Championship circuit, which identifies the McLaren Senna GTR series as one of several different models that fit the vision as a replacement for the LeMans Prototype class.

McLaren Senna XP

The McLaren of Beverly Hills revealed three McLaren Senna XP prototypes in December 2019. This resulted in the commissioning of McLaren to convert them into production cars, which were celebration cars commemorating star racer, Ayrton Senna. All three of these cars share a gloss black carbon-fiber exterior with accents of the three different countries where the Grand Prix wins took place. Those countries are Monaco, England, and Brazil. Ayrton Senna's car numbers he used for each race are displayed on the wing endplates.

Master of Monaco

As number twelve, this McLaren Senna XP features red leather seats, red carbon-fiber interior trim, as well as the official flag belonging to the Monaco nation embroidered on the headrests.

Lap of the Gods

During the opening lap of the 1993 Grand Prix race held in Donington, Ayrton Senna passed four other cars from his car's fifth position. Blue leather seats, plus embroidery of the UK's flag on the headsets, and the blue carbon-fiber interior trim are is what makes this version of the Senna XP models so special. That, plus the number eight displayed on the wing endplates.

Home Victory

Brazilians seeing their hometown hero, Ayrton Senna, celebrate the 1991 victory during its Grand Prix event on their own nation. Featured on the wing endplate is the number one, which belonged to Senna during the race. The leather seats and carbon-fiber trim perfectly match the green belonging to the Brazilian flag. The headrests also have the image of that flag embroidered on them.

McLaren Senna LM

The track-oriented LM lineup was made by the McLaren Special Operations department and Lanzante Motorsport. Despite having the same bodywork as the standard Senna models, the LM series has components drawn specifically from the GTR series. What sets this model apart from the others is the orange livery that pays homage to the McLaren F1 LM, which was inspired by the F1 GTR that won in 1995 at Le Mans. The LM also features polished cylinder heads and ports, as well as OZ center-lock wheels with a retro design. The quad exhausts are satin gold-tipped and there are louvers on its front fender. There are also no clear panels in the doors among the LM series as that was removed. LM branding, plus titanium panels are also featured in this particular lineup. A 4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine has been powered up to the 814-horsepower capacity, which matches the McLaren Senna GTR series. There are only twenty of these lined up for production.

McLaren Senna GTR LM

From McLaren's Special, Operations Department is the McLaren Senna GTR LM, which is the road-legal version of the track-only GTR models. It was first unveiled online on September 17, 2020. These are not the same cars as the Senna LM series as there are distinct differences between them. Only five units of these McLaren Senna GTR LM models have been made, each of them having its own paint scheme to reflect the five different McLaren F1 GTRs that were at the 24 Hours of LeMans race held in 1995. All five of these Senna GTR LM cars have been sold where two have been sold to American buyers and three were bought by European buyers. These McLaren Senna GTR LM cars were built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of McLaren's historical 1966 win he experienced at the Le Mans. These five units are featured with the OZ Racing wheels and share the exact same bodywork as the McLaren Senna GTR models. However, their horsepower has been increased to 833, which is higher than any of the other Senna variants made to date. There has also been an increased redline from its previous 8,250 RPM to 9,000 RPM.

McLaren Senna Roundup

Ever since the first introduction of the McLaren Senna series, there have been a number of technological advancements that focus on the model's superior aerodynamics, as well as other enhancements to make its overall performance level even better than before. Through the Senna series, a number of firsts have been introduced and not strictly with McLaren's lineup. All their top competitors are also striving to improve their own lineups that also feature world-class level hypercars and supercars. Already arriving on American soil is the Senna-inspired series McLaren has introduced as Sabre. This model, which was first unveiled in December 2020, is restricted to only fifteen cars produced and each of them has already been sold. However, due to the popularity of the Senna, plus already seeming to be miles ahead in aerodynamic technology than its top competitors, its likely additional upcoming McLaren supercars will continue to use Senna's winning formula.


Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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