EVERY time a firm like McLaren launches a new car, they whack us over the head and tell us: “This is the best thing ever.”
“Untouchable in its class.”
“Best car we’ve ever made.”
Blah. Blah. Blah.
We hear the same thing from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, even Audi.
Then, as sure as night and day, they’re on the blower again a year later, saying: “Forget that. THIS IS BETTER.”
But fair dos to McLaren because the 765LT is basically a lighter, more powerful 720S with trick aero. And the 720S is — or should I say was — a benchmark supercar.
So, the 765LT is better all round then. Let’s start with numbers. Because this thing is all about numbers.
The 765 part of the name refers to 765 horsepower. And also the number of lucky sods who’ll get one.
LT is short for Longtail, which is reserved for the most extreme, track-focused McLarens that tighten the old trouser department.
This car is 80kg lighter than a 720S, which is no easy task given lightness is king at McLaren.
The windscreen is 0.9mm thinner — yep, 0.9mm — the side and rear windows are polycarbonate, the quad top-mounted exhausts are titanium rather than steel.
The air con, audio system and carpets have been removed. There are elasticated nets to store your phone.
The front ride height is 5mm lower and the front track width has increased 6mm to enhance grip.
Engine: 4-litre twin turbo V8
Power: 765hp, 800Nm
0-62mph: 2.8 secs
0-124mph: 7 secs
Top speed: 205mph
I could go on . . . but that gives you an idea of the forensic, obsessive attention to detail engineers have put into this car.
Add an active rear wing and a few other carbon-fibre bits and the end result is a car that EXCEEDS McLaren’s own performance targets.
The 765LT was expected to catapult from 0-124mph in 7.2 seconds. It can do it in seven dead. Yikes.
That’s 1.6 seconds quicker than a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ and also six-tenths quicker than a Ferrari 488 Pista.
So what’s it like to drive? Intoxicating. All the big numbers — performance and price tag — are intimidating, even more so when it’s damp at Silverstone. But I absolutely loved it. Straight from the get-go.
It’s heroically fast — of course it is — and it was a huge rush bombing down Hangar Straight. But it’s also predictable and easy to control when the back end gets a bit lively. The steering is beautiful.
Just as impressive is the way it scrubs off speed. The front brakes (nicked off a McLaren Senna) combined with that active rear wing (made in Sheffield) and sticky Pirelli tyres help slow it from 62mph to zero in less than 30 metres.
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You couldn’t stop any quicker if you crashed into a lake of porridge. In a nutshell, then: The 765LT is another instant classic.
Want one? Sorry. You’re probably too late. Next up, we’ll see the first McLaren V6 hybrid, codenamed P6.
My source tells me it’s “every bit as revolutionary as the 12C in its day”. But he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Return of the Mac
FROM the outside looking in, these are grim times at McLaren.
Bosses tapped investors for £291million in March, cut 1,200 jobs in May then borrowed another £150million in June. Covid triggered a huge slump in sales.
Now McLaren wants to sell and lease back its futuristic Woking HQ to free up £200million – but has scrapped plans to sell its heritage cars.
McLaren F1 boss Zak Brown said: “Why have all this money tied up in real estate? We’re a racing team and an automotive company. That’s not a very productive use of funds when you’re looking to invest in your business.”
The good news is that McLaren appears to be on the rebound.
The F1 team is third in the team standings and the appetite for its supercars is returning. It bends the mind they can make cars as good as the 765LT.
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