Category: britain

First Look: The McLaren 620R – A Street-Legal GT4 Race Car

McLaren has announced the 620R, the first car in its class to offer true motorsport credentials in a fully road-legal package. The limited-edition coupé – just 350 will be built – evolves the competition specification of the McLaren 570S GT4 to deliver a race-car experience on either track or road.

McLaren has enjoyed significant GT race success with Customer Racing teams and in recent seasons the 570S GT4 has been instrumental in adding to that record of success. Since the customer debut in 2017, the car has become the most successful GT race car built by McLaren, achieving more race wins and podiums than any other to date; in 2019, the 570S GT4 has competed in championships on four continents. Now, as the ultimate track-focused, track-ready but roadgoing McLaren Sports Series model, the McLaren 620R – a car destined to be both rare and collectible, thanks to its strictly limited production run – celebrates the achievements of the 570S GT4.

The McLaren 620R is a unique proposition, delivering a pure motorsport experience in a road car with authenticity: it looks like a race car, handles like a race car, performs like a race car and feels like a race car. The result overall is a seamless transition from race to road – and vice versa. Exclusive and extreme in equal measure, the McLaren 620R retains the DNA of a fully homologated track car yet is free from the restrictions that race regulations apply.

A high level of commonality with a 570S GT4 race car has been integral to the development of the 620R from very outset. They have the same, single-piece carbon fiber Monocell II chassis providing the foundations for the strength and light weight of the car, with a targeted lightest dry weight of 1,282kg. This carbon fiber core – a McLaren signature that in different guises features in every car in the company’s range – also underpins the dynamic precision and composure for which McLarens are renowned. These characteristics have been enhanced in the 620R by the inclusion of the GT4’s adjustable aerodynamic elements, race-derived suspension components and powertrain recalibration to increase power and performance.

The 620R has the same M838TE 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine used in the GT4 car, but with a significant difference in power output; freedom from racing regulations has allowed the engine ECU and turbocharger management to be reconfigured to achieve 620PS (610bhp), making this the most powerful Sports Series car yet. The engine also develops torque of 620Nm (457lb ft) and even with lap times more important than sheer top speed, the combined outputs helps to deliver benchmark performance figures of 0-100km/h (62mph) in 2.9 seconds and 0-200km/h (124mph) in 8.1 seconds. Maximum speed is 322km/h (200mph).

The use of stiffer powertrain mounts reduces drivetrain forces under acceleration, minimizing the effect of inertia under high load, while the 7-speed Seamless Shift Gearbox (SSG) delivers super-fast shift times, further aided in Track model 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.

Fitment of the GT4’s two-way manually adjustable coilover motorsport dampers, which feature 32 clicks of adjustment per corner to allow a driver to tailor compression and rebound rates to suit their driving style and track conditions, adds to the 620R’s motorsport credentials. The dampers also help to bring weight down overall, being more than 6kg lighter than the regular Sports Series units.

The suspension which features lightweight aluminium wishbones and uprights and stiffer anti-roll bars and springs than fitted on a regular Sports Series model, is further enhanced by swapping rubber top mounts for solid stainless steel alternatives to provide noticeable improvements in steering control and feedback, above and beyond the very high standards enjoyed in all McLaren cars.

Stopping power comes from McLaren’s latest lightweight braking system, which in the track-focused set-up on the new 620R comprises carbon ceramic discs (390mm front, 380mm rear) and forged aluminium brake calipers all round, with improved pedal response, modularity and resistance to fade even after repeated hard-driven circuit laps.

The braking performance is unsurprisingly also extremely impressive on the road, where the 620R runs as standard with Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tyres, but drivers who swap to the optional, full-slick motorsport tyres when they arrive on circuit will experience a whole new level of braking. Specially developed for McLaren by Pirelli’s Motorsport team, the slick tyres are optimised to complement the motorsport brakes and race-derived suspension of the 620R. They unlock a contact patch 8% larger than that of the road tyre, increasing lateral G-forces and enabling quicker lap times.

This is the first time that a road-legal car with 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rear wheels has been engineered to be able to run on slick tires without the need for additional mechanical adjustment. This means that if weather conditions allow, owners can on arrival at a circuit either fit a second set of wheels or change tires and go straight out on track without further delay.

High levels of mechanical grip are an essential part of the 620R’s track parentage, but it is the car’s aerodynamic performance that elevates it to the status of a road-legal GT4 racer. The adjustable carbon fiber rear wing is the same component fitted to the 570S GT4. Raised 32cm (12.5in) into the cleaner airflow above the vehicle to increase downforce while minimizing drag, the wing is road legal thanks to its newly incorporated third brake light. Customers will receive their cars with the wing set to the least aggressive of its three available angles, optimizing front/rear balance for road driving. The more aggressive angles – which can be set by a McLaren retailer – increase rear downforce still further, contributing to a maximum of 185kg (408lbs) and enabling even quicker circuit-running.

While the rear wing quite literally stands out as an obvious distinguishing feature on the 620R, it is not the only component adapted from the GT4’s aggressive track specification to meet road homologation standards. The front bumper, splitter and bonnet have been redesigned – the splitter retaining pronounced aero blades and cut-out – while the carbon fiber bonnet has twin nostrils to aid downforce and clean up the airflow over the top of the car. Downforce at the front of the car is further increased by dive planes that create vortices of low-pressure air at track level and help accelerate airflow along the car’s sides, as well as significantly aiding brake-cooling. The dive planes contribute up to 30kg (66lbs) of downforce as part of the 65kg (143lbs) delivered by the full frontal aero package.

The performance, feel, feedback and handling characteristics of the 620R will leave a driver in no doubt that it is a race car at heart, but there are other obvious clues that are apparent before the engine is even started. The interior clearly and immediately stands out as track-inspired – any GT4 race driver will feel instantly at home. As with any serious circuit car, it is as much about what has been stripped out as what has been included – the 620R does not have a floor carpet or a glovebox. Air-conditioning, IRIS Navigation and an audio system are also missing from the standard specification, although all can be selected at no additional cost. A lightweight Bowers & Wilkins upgraded audio system is also available, as a cost option.

Driver and passenger are secured in super-lightweight carbon fiber racing seats by six-point racing harnesses, fitted as standard. Key ‘track touchpoints’ include the red 12 o’clock mark on the steering wheel and door pull straps to aid door closure when a driver is held in place by the harnesses. Structural carbon fiber elements such as extended shift paddles, steering wheel spokes and center console enhance the sense of being in the cabin of a race car.

A McLaren Track Telemetry (MTT) system is standard and is displayed on a center-mounted 7-inch touchscreen. If buyers specify the optional MSO Roof Scoop Upgrade Pack, which features the striking scoop first seen on a Sports Series at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2018, the MTT system can be upgraded to include the three-camera system that is also available as a standalone option.

Each 620R features a dedication plaque on the center console with numerical identification (1 of 350; 2 of 350, etc). As with every McLaren road car, each 620R can be configured to be distinctively individual. Single elements, for example the color of the brake calipers, can be chosen as a solus specification; alternatively, buyers can opt for upgrade packs such as the Gloss Finish Visual Carbon Fiber Exterior Pack, which adds visual drama to everything from the side intakes to the door mirror casings. McLaren Special Operations (MSO) provides further personalization choices, with a range of MSO Defined Exterior options that includes a titanium SuperSports Exhaust with Nano Black Exhaust Finisher and MSO Defined interior upgrades that incorporate a choice of harness colour.

All three exterior colors available as standard on the 620R are inspired by GT4 race cars – McLaren Orange (with white racing stripes), Silica White (orange stripes) or Onyx Black (orange stripes) – and each can be optioned with race number decals and/or partner decals. Further body colors are available in the MSO line-build palette. An even more exclusive decal livery inspired by the McLaren Senna GTR is also available.

620R production will be limited to just 350 customer orders, all hand-built at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey. Production will begin in January, with each car costing from £250,000 including taxes (UK); for buyers purchasing in Europe and the USA, the price includes a Pure McLaren Track Day, with expert driving tuition at a race circuit

Jaguar F-Type R

Images by Constantin Stein

Lotus Exige Cup 300

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Mountain High: A McLaren Senna in Colorado

Incurable car collector Kathy Cargill has found a new favorite way to explore her automotive passion – she’s the proud owner of four McLarens including the 570S Spider, 720S Coupe and the stunning McLaren Senna.

Kathy shows us around her brand-new garage, which has been custom built to house her growing collection. It’s a paradise for anyone with a passion for cars, but especially for McLaren fans.

Limited Edition Continental GT to Celebrate Pike’s Peak Record

Bentley has announced details of a striking Continental GT Limited Edition that celebrates a record-breaking automotive achievement from earlier in the British marque’s centenary year.  The run of special coupes is restricted to just 15 examples and honors Bentley’s accomplishment at the demanding International Hill Climb event in the USA in June.

The world’s finest Grand Tourer shaved an impressive 8.4 seconds off the existing record for the 12.42-mile course in Colorado, making it the fastest production car ever at Pikes Peak. Driven by three-time champion, former ‘King of the Mountain’ Rhys Millen, the W12-powered Continental GT climbed almost 5,000 ft through 156 bends in just ten minutes, 18.4 seconds.

The new Limited Edition is distinguished by a carbon fiber body kit and eye-catching Radium by Mulliner paintwork, mirroring the color scheme used on the record-breaking car. Gloss black detailing has also been added to the front lower bumper inserts, roof panel, wing mirrors and rear surfaces.

Acid Green brake disc calipers, Pirelli P Zero Color Edition tires in Radium Finish and a Pikes Peak decal to the front bumper hint at the Limited Edition’s record-breaking lineage, while 22-inch Mulliner Driving Specification wheels in Gloss Black are standard. An optional ‘100’ grille is a reminder that the Continental GT’s impressive hill climb achievement took place in Bentley’s centenary year.

Inside the cabin, Alcantara with contrasting Radium thread stitching adorns much of the soft trim areas, matched with Beluga secondary hide. The steering wheel features a honeycomb stitching design and a center stripe both in Radium, as per the Pikes Peak GT race car. Carbon fiber fascias and wasitrails are complemented by a Piano Black center console, all adding to the sporting theme. The passenger-side fascia features a graphic showing a section of the Pikes Peak track, with five different graphics being used across the 15-car run, along with the record-setting time of 10:18.488.

Pikes Peak embroidery to the seat headrests in Radium stitching, Pikes Peak treadplates and exclusive B&O speaker covers in Black Anodized and Radium finish further enhance the interior appeal. The Continental GT’s luxurious cabin includes the ground-breaking Bentley Rotating Display, deep pile overmats and Front Seat Comfort Specification.

Like the Continental GT that broke the Pikes Peak record earlier this year, this new model features the world’s most advanced 12-cylinder petrol engine in the twin-turbocharged Bentley W12. This mighty engine develops 626 bhp and 900 Nm of torque, effortlessly accelerating the Continental GT from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds (0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds), with a top speed of 333 km/h (207 mph).

The celebratory model is available to order from December 2019.

First Look: The New Jaguar F-Type

The new Jaguar F-Type looks more beautiful than ever and embodies Jaguar design DNA in its purest form. The two-seat sports car offers a perfect balance of performance and driver reward with an even more muscular, assertive design and a cabin defined by rich, luxurious materials and beautiful details.

The range of powerful, responsive engines includes 4 & 8-cylinder options, all matched to eight-speed Quickshift transmissions with full manual control using either the SportShift gear selector or the steering wheel-mounted paddles.

The new F-Type also offers more driver-focused technology, including a reconfigurable, high-definition, 12.3-inch Interactive Driver Display, Touch Pro infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard and software-over-the-air functionality so future software updates can be made at the customer’s convenience, without having to visit a Retailer. Two superb Meridian sound systems also offer enhanced sound reproduction.

Aston Martin Vulcan

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First Look: The New McLaren Elva

McLaren Automotive has revealed its new Ultimate Series roadster, the McLaren Elva. As the brand’s first open-cockpit road car, the Elva adds a new dimension to the range-topping Ultimate Series lineage. Like its McLaren P1TM, McLaren Senna and Speedtail predecessors, volume of the new McLaren Elva will be strictly limited: just 399 are being offered for customer order.

The Elva name celebrates the renowned Bruce McLaren-designed M1A and McLaren-Elva M1A [Mk I], M1B [Mk II] and M1C [Mk III] of the 1960s. Produced as ‘customer’ versions of the innovative & exciting Group 7 McLaren race cars, the McLaren-Elva cars embodied many of the pioneering design & engineering principles that are integral to the McLaren road cars produced today.

The new McLaren Elva is a ferociously fast open-cockpit car; an extreme two-seater with a bespoke carbon fibre chassis and body but no roof, no windscreen and no side windows. With every sensory input heightened, this is a car that exists to provide unparalleled driving pleasure on road or track.

A 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 from the same family of engines that powers the McLaren Senna and Senna GTR combines with the lightest vehicle weight of any road car produced by McLaren Automotive to give the superlight new Ultimate Series roadster truly breathtaking performance across the board, with extraordinary levels of acceleration, agility and driver feedback.

The appearance of the McLaren Elva is as striking and unique as the driving experience. The low nose and pronounced front fender peaks provide visual drama and at the same time enhance forward vision. Large, carbon fiber rear fenders flow from the front of the door to the rear deck, while the height of the twin rear buttresses is minimized by using a deployable roll-over protection system.

Helmets can be worn if preferred, but the form and sculpture of the upper cabin wraps around the driver and passenger to provide a secure environment. A fixed windscreen derivative of the car is also available for most markets as a factory option.

Customer deliveries of the McLaren Elva are scheduled to begin towards the end of 2020.

McLaren 600LT

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Arnoldas Ivanauskas

Lotus Elise (S2)

Image by Antonin Vincent || FB