In Brief

McLaren Senna GTR unveiled: will it compete at Le Mans?

British carmaker says track-only hypercar is ‘faster than any McLaren outside F1’

McLaren has taken the covers off its radical new Senna GTR, a track-only hypercar that may one day compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 

Based on the limited-edition Senna hypercar, the GTR has a number of racing-inspired additions that allow it to “lap circuits faster than any McLaren outside Formula 1”, the Woking-based carmaker claims. 

The most notable modifications are the wider carbon fibre front wing, and the vast rear spoiler and “bespoke” diffuser that is far bigger than those seen on GTE-spec racing cars, says Autocar

The road-going Senna’s chassis and 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine have been carried over to the GTR, though power has been upgraded from 789bhp to 814bhp, the magazine says.

It’s also 10kg lighter than the road car, while its wings produce 1,000kg of downforce at 155mph. 

Inside, the cabin gets a number of upgrades to keep drivers safe while lapping a race track. These include a roll cage and a set of race harnesses, says Auto Express

McLaren has also swapped the glass windscreen and side windows with a lighter polycarbonate alternative, the magazine notes.

Only 75 examples of the £1.1m hypercar are due to hit the production line, all of which have been sold. 

Will it compete at Le Mans?

Possibly. McLaren hasn’t competed at the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race since the late 1990s, but new rules set to come into effect in 2020 could let the company race the Senna GTR.

The World Endurance Championship, the series that hosts the French event, amended the rules for its LMP1 category yesterday to welcome production-spec hypercars for the upcoming 2020/21 season, Motorsport reports. 

This could allow cars such as the McLaren Senna GTR, as well as Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, to compete in the top-tier category, the website says. 

McLaren has not yet announced any plans to enter the new LMP1 category. However, company chief Zak Brown told PlanetF1 last year that he found the new rules “compelling” and that the carmaker would “consider” returning to the endurance race. 

“So long as what we do is financially viable, makes sense for our brand and is a brand fit, and we can be competitive. Our shareholders are a group of racers, which makes it a lot of fun to work for them,” he said.

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