McLaren 720S Track Pack 2018 UK review

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Is this not what precisely what would happen if a racing outfit got the keys to the product-planning department?

And now there is this – the 720S Track Pack. It’s a package McLaren has already applied to the 570S, both in coupe and Spider form, and with one in ten orders specifying it as an option for those models, there is clearly an appetite for something a little more raw, if not in substance then in style. 

What’s it like?

The motorsport expertise that allows McLaren to pull off cars such as the Senna is shot through all the marque’s products, so compared to the competition the 720S already feels considerably track-optimised.

The scuttle is sensationally low, and the Monocage II carbon tub that partly facilities this design gives the chassis massive torsional rigidity. The brake pedal is also offset to encourage the driver to use his or her left foot, and to that end there’s relatively little servo assistance. Wonderful. There is no switchgear on the steering wheel, either – none at all – and for this tester the driving position is beyond reasonable criticism.

With a dry weight of 1283kg, the 720S is also light for something not only carrying a 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 in its belly but with a footprint close to that of a 5 Series. The Track Pack takes another 24kg out of the equation with the generous use of carbonfibre and a set of ‘super-lightweight’ forged alloys shod in Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres. In fact it must save more weight than that, because a titanium harness bar (redundant in the case of our test car) has found its way into the cabin. Golly it looks good, but poor surfaces elicit the irritating squish of metal on leather in our 1800-mile test example.

A development engineer would identify the dynamics consequences of those changes but on the road, with its many variables, I can’t pretend to have noticed any meaningful difference. The 720S remains wickedly slick on the move. The hydraulic steering is perhaps even more of a pleasure to interact with through the Track Pack’s Alcantara rim, but the star of the show is the Proactive chassis, which is unaltered. In any of its three modes the setup serves up a hallmark blend of gentle but unbreakable control, unless you’ve found a particularly unloved B-road to splice along. Elsewhere, it is the stuff of magic carpets.

The more easily appreciable elements of the Track Pack are also satisfying. The carbonfibre racing seats, available in two sizes, will cup the buttocks, hips and ribs of both you and your passenger magnificently and are a lasting source of confidence. The sport exhaust also gives the 720S a valuable injection of passion at the top of the rev range, and the flat-finished carbonfibre dotted about the carbon suits the car’s Silicon Valley vibe. There’s plenty of carbon on the exterior, too, and in combination the McLaren Orange paint you have to say that the 720S has never packed quite such a hard optical punch.

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