By: Natasha Archary
Earlier this month, Daytona Melrose Arch held a reveal of the McLaren Senna in South Africa. The car was first unveiled towards the latter part of 2017 and, with just eight reserved for South Africa out of the five hundred units created in total, this was a huge day.
The Senna is a stunning new addition to the McLaren fleet with striking features that are signature to the brand. McLaren ramped up production and sales since the brand started selling cars on a commercial scale in 2011.
McLaren takes on the market
With over 3,300 cars on the production line last year, McLaren is a fierce contender with other high-end, luxury car makers like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and Aston Martin. The Senna is part of the strategy to increase production without creating a dent in the market. The goal is to always have demand higher than supply.
CEO of Daytona SA, Justin Divaris, talked about the two McLaren Sennas taking pride of place at the reveal. Both owned by previous McLaren owners. Each unique in detail but with the engineering prowess that the British brand is renowned for.
The exclusivity of the luxury hypercar lifestyle
Buying a hypercar is, more often than not, a very trying experience. The application and vetting process is tedious and lengthy. Then a waiting period. Before they ask you the maiden name of your dog’s mother. Prepare to hear that you don’t qualify to spend your own money on their product.
It’s a lifestyle enjoyed by a very select and wealthy few. This is so that luxury car brands can protect the core values and aspirational lifestyle element. If it really were attainable for everyone, it wouldn’t be worth much now would it?
Retailing for £750 000.00, or roughly R13 million, the McLaren Sennas on display at the launch were personally specced by their owners. With one owner creating the specific paint for his one-in-five-hundred ride. The deep yet bright purple may sound like a complete paradox and that’s because it is. It’s difficult to put into words the exact hue, named after the proud owner and created by MSO.
History of McLaren
To anyone who’s followed McLaren’s Formula 1 journey, a brief history of McLaren over the years would not do the brand justice. Nonetheless, Executive Director, Global Sales and Marketing for McLaren Automotive, Jolyon Nash took us through McLaren’s transition to the commercial sector.
McLaren was founded in 1963 when Bruce McLaren started Bruce McLaren Motor Racing in order to develop and race sports cars alongside his commitment as lead driver in the Cooper Grand Prix team.
He went on to win the 1959 US Grand Prix, at 22 he was at the time the youngest Grand Prix winner. With three more Grand Prix wins and countless other sports car victories, his career in the automotive space was set in stone.
Fast forward a few decades and McLaren Automotive is one of the top creators of luxury, high-performance sportscars and supercars to date. The company launched in 2010 and every McLaren is hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey, England.
With three distinct product families: Sports Series, Super Series and the Ultimate Series. The company is on track to further develop and deliver fifteen new cars or derivatives by 2022, of which at least half will be hybrid beasts.
The Senna is a work of sheer engineering art
Named after Ayrton Senna, the famous Formula 1 driver who died tragically during a race in 1994, the decision to put his name on the brand’s top-tier performance car wasn’t made lightly. Senna won three F1 titles for the company from 1988 to 1993.
His values, drive, determination and quest for excellence influenced the company’s decision to name the McLaren Senna. The car has been designed, engineered and developed with a single-minded purpose: To be the Ultimate McLaren track-concentrated car for the road.
Whilst designed and legal for road use, for the Senna to be used daily would be a shame, especially on SA roads.
The carbon structure at the core of the McLaren Senna, Monocage III, is the perfect compliment to the aerodynamics and powertrain. The strongest monocoque that McLaren has ever built for a road legal vehicle, Monocage III combines with an all-carbon body and uncompromising lightweight engineering throughout to make the Senna the lightest McLaren since the iconic F1.
- The lightest dry weight of 1,198 kg and the 800PS power output give the McLaren Senna a power to weight ratio of 668PS-per-tonne (659bhp). This statistic immediately underlines the performance credentials of the newcomer to the McLaren Ultimate Series.
- Mid-engined, rear-wheel drive layout, with advanced RaceActive Chassis Control II (RCC II) suspension and Comfort, Sport, Track and Race handling modes.
- Active front and rear aerodynamics, upto 800kg of downforce.
- Driver-focused cockpit, with only essential instrumentation and ultra-light, one-piece carbon fibre racing seats.
- 0-litre twin-turbo V8, the most powerful McLaren road car internal combustion engine ever, configured to deliver instantaneous throttle response.
- M840TR engine produces 800PS (789bhp) and 800Nm (590b ft), givng the McLaren Senna a power-to-weight ratio of 668 PS-per-tonne (659bhp)
- Savage performance: 0-200km/h (124mph) in just 6.8 seconds, with 0-100km/h (62mph) achieved in 2.8 seconds and 0-300km/h (186mph) in 18.8 seconds.
The McLaren Senna made its official public debut on 06 March 2018, with the first two South African owners accepting delivery of their new beauties on the 13 November 2018. The next six are set to make their way to the country early next year in time for the opening of the new Daytona showroom in Melrose Arch.
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