McLaren 675LT launches at Silverstone
Blasting out of Silverstone’s infamous Becketts Curve before hitting Hangar Straight at warp speed, our McLaren 675LT test car is already demonstrating uncanny levels of poise.
What’s more, this McLaren is stupidly quick.
With grip levels that match or better some current GT3 racing cars, it becomes clear to us that the current supercar benchmark has just been demolished.
In fact, the only weak link in our lap times is the driver of this ballistic piece of McLaren technology. That’d be me.
It’s only proper that McLaren Automotive, (sister company to Formula 1 constructor, McLaren Racing) launched the most potent model from its Super Series range at Britain’s home of motorsport.
If you haven’t already guessed from the photographs, the newMcLaren LT675 is a hardcore version of the 650S Coupe and spiritual successor to the F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ endurance racer of 1997.
It’s also entirely road legal – comfortable even – as we discovered with some surprise on a drive loop that covered a range of English B-roads and motorways.
With a limited production run of 500 cars, this carbonfibre exotic bridges the gap between the 650S and the McLaren P1 hypercar.
After more than a few laps behind the wheel of the 675LT, I’d argue that the gap between these two cars, at least on track, is a lot less than McLaren might have hoped for. But that’s not likely to be much of a problem as the entire series production run has already been accounted for.
The whole car has been re-engineered, with every major component honed for the lowest possible reading on the scales – because less is more in the supercar world.
Such attention to detail has clearly paid dividends. More than a third of the 675LT’s parts have been revised in the interest of more power and less weight over its 650S sibling, which is already a wickedly quick car.
But the 675LT carries 100kg less bulk than the genuinely lean 650S – a car that had claimed the title of lightest in class.
There’s a lot more carbonfibre used, apart from the internal tub itself. Body panels including the entire rear of the car from the B-pillar back are fabricated from the ultra lightweight material, creating even greater stiffness in the chassis.
Even the 675LT’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo engine has been put under the microscope with the goal of delivering more punch and fewer grams. Some 50.0 per cent of the internals have been upgraded to deliver a walloping 496kW (675PS) and 700Nm of torque.
It’s only a modest 16kW/22Nm bump on the 650S, but combined with the car’s far more significant loss of mass, (down to just 1230kg) the result is a supercar with devastating performance.
I know that’s quick, but I still reckon McLaren is cooking its performance books. Dial up Track mode; floor it, and boom.
There’s nothing quite like it, except perhaps Porsche’s significantly more expensive 918 Spyder.
In-gear thrust is ferocious and under a sustained full throttle it takes a while for your central organs to catch up with your body, such is the g-force.
There’s a decent scream emitted out of the McLaren’s bespoke titanium exhaust, too. It’s a lot more visceral than the 650S.
The 675LT uses the same seven-speed dual clutch gearbox as the 650S, only this version has been fettled with, and slams through the ratios at twice the speed.
There isn’t a straight long enough on Silverstone’s International circuit to properly wind up the 675LT, such is the relentless surge this car is capable of.
There’s some fractional lag at the very bottom of the rev range, but the moment the twin-turbo boost kicks spool up, you’d better hold on.
The development brief for the 675LT was as much about outright pace as it was about attaining peerless dynamic performance – a goal they may well have achieved with this road-legal masterpiece.
Look carefully and the signs are everywhere. There’s been a singular obsession with downforce on this car.
Take the active air brake for example – it’s 50.0 per cent larger than the 650S. The splitter, too, is almost twice the size.
The entire body is 20mm wider and lowered by the same measure, concealing a wider track for even more grip. And the ‘Longtail’ reference refers to what might seem like a paltry increase in the car’s length of just 34mm.
Super lightweight wheels (lighter even than those on the P1) are shod with specially developed Pirelli Super Trofeo tyres. It’s a well-thought-out package that delivers supreme levels of adhesion, and cornering speeds that are simply off the charts.
You’ll be hard pressed inducing the 675LT into oversteer without serious provocation. Even then, with traction control completely off, the car’s extraordinary balance will fight you all the way.
A large part of the car’s dynamic wizardry comes down to McLaren’s proprietary active damping, along with significantly stiffer spring rates – 27.0 per cent up front and 67.0 per cent down back. The end result is a car that feels positively bonded to the road surface.
The steering is also a lot quicker than the 650S, and the feedback is at another level, again. You’re suddenly aware of every degree of front wheel movement, allowing for more precise turn-in and a much faster response.
Admittedly, the price the 675LT pays for its supreme on-track performance is a noticeable penalty in ride comfort on the road in comparison with the surprisingly cushy 650S.
Yet for all its hardcore billing, McLaren has managed to produce the ultimate track-day supercar without deleting the other creature comforts we’ve all become so accustomed to.
Things such as satellite navigation with Bluetooth, digital radio (DAB), Meridian sound system and the McLaren Track Telemetry app are all standard fit in the car.
The entire cabin is upholstered in Alcantara, including the superb carbonfibre racing seats. LED headlights and keyless entry round out the standard kit on board.
The McLaren 675LT is a unique machine. I can’t recall a single car in its class capable of matching this car on a race circuit.
When it comes to a track-focused supercar, the McLaren 675LT simply has no peers. It stands on the podium all by itself.
And while it’s probably not going to be used as a daily driver, it is a supercar that can be driven to and from an office – just make sure you tick the options box for air conditioning.