Andy Palmer, vehicle line director for McLaren’s Ultimate Series models, told Autocar at the time that the car’s advanced aerodynamics will help to “really move things on from an acceleration perspective”.
Unlike the Senna, however, the focus of the Speedtail won’t be on track performance. Instead, it will be pitched as a class-leading all-rounder in the hypercar segment.
If lap times aren’t the way McLaren will measure the Speedtail’s performance (and they’re not), that leaves acceleration or top speed as the two measures by which the Speedtail will be the fastest ever McLaren.
“It’s very powerful; more powerful than the [986bhp] P1 GTR,” Mike Flewitt told Autocar at the Geneva motor show. He also confirmed the car would be “easier to get into than an F1” and “feels very natural” when you drive it.
High power levels and the predicted high speeds don’t come without complications, though. Palmer admitted that McLaren is “pretty much at the limit of what tyres, as well as other systems, can do”.
The realities of running consistently at speeds approaching – or perhaps beyond – 250mph are a significant step onwards again from 200mph from a tyre, energy and aerodynamic perspective. Palmer revealed previously that the goal of this car is “to give customers the ability to have a high level of luxury, bespoke elements on the car, high performance, high speed – a very much road-focused grand tourer”.
“The centre seat is an amazing thing,” Palmer told Autocar. “The attraction is not only the driving position, but you can take two passengers and luggage on a long journey. I’ve been sitting in the back and it’s not a bad place to be.
“Technology has moved on, particularly in carbon, and in our tub and monocell, and how we engineer that to accommodate three seats. It’s not without compromise – it’s not sitting in the back of a Mercedes S-Class – but it’s not a huddled or tight space.” Palmer and his colleagues say that entry and egress to the Speedtail is far easier than it was in the F1, too. Cameras might augment mirrors to increase visibility without compromising aerodynamics.