McLaren Racer-for-the-Road Enjoys ‘Liberated’ Powertrain

McLaren has launched a road version of its racing car that boasts more horsepower than its circuit sibling.

Liberated from race series regulations, the road legal 620R claims 610bhp from its twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 gasoline motor. That’s because, while the M838TE powerplant is the same engine used in the 570S GT4 series race car, its freedom from racing regulations has allowed the engine ECU and turbocharger management to be reconfigured creating the most powerful Sports Series car from McLaren seen so far.

The engine also develops torque of 457ft-lbs and even with lap times more important than sheer top speed, the combined outputs helps to deliver benchmark performance figures of 62mph in 2.9 seconds and 124mph in 8.1 seconds with a maximum speed of 200mph depending on track gearing.

That emphasis on race circuit performance is the key to the customers McLaren thinks the 620R, limited to a production run of just 350 models, will attract who will come from the growing band of track-day enthusiasts who know that the car’s performance can only be explored in the comparative safety of a closed circuit race track.

Other peformance enhancements see the use of stiffer powertrain mounts reducing drivetrain forces under acceleration and helping to offset the effect of inertia under high load. Transmission is by a seven-speed Seamless Shift Gearbox (SSG) aided in Track mode by McLaren’s Inertia Push technology, which converts built-up flywheel energy into a momentary burst of torque on upshift. For added drama on the road the driver can select Sport mode and hear the upshift ‘crack’ created by a split-second cut of the ignition spark during a gearshift. Also in common with its racing sister, the 620R has the same, single-piece carbon fiber Monocell II enjoying a targeted lightest dry weight of 2,820-lbs.

Mike Flewitt, chief executive officer, McLaren Automotive, said: “The McLaren 570S GT4 is a first-class GT race car that having won races in every championship it has competed in since its first appearance in 2017 is attracting an increasing number of customer racing teams. Now, in response to repeated customer requests, we have homologated that class-leading package for the road in the new McLaren 620R, a limited-edition, 620PS superlight coupé that is the perfect choice for an enthusiast wanting an authentic motorsport driving sensation – and performance to match – on both track and road.”

The cars, hand-built built at the McLaren production center in Woking, Surrey, will roll out of the factory from January 2020, with each car costing from £250,000 ($328,600) including UK taxes and for buyers purchasing in Europe and the USA, the price includes a Pure McLaren Track Day, with expert driving tuition at a race circuit.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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