McLaren promises significantly better on-track performance and more driver engagement with its latest Longtail supercar.
McLaren, like several other automakers, hasn't let cancelation of the 2020 Geneva Motor Show impinge on its plan to introduce the latest member of its lineup—and the latest addition to its Longtail series of cars. Meet the 2021 McLaren 765LT, a supercar that takes the already impressive 720S and, McLaren promises, transforms it into a much sharper and more-focused mega-performance weapon.
2021 McLaren 765LT Performance Numbers and Specs
Building upon the previously well-regarded 720S, the 765LT gets a 45-hp bump to McLaren's M840T 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, bringing its maximum output to 755 horsepower; torque increases from 568 lb-ft to 590 lb-ft. McLaren says the car will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds, from 0-124 in 7.2, will potentially cover the quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds, and will reach a top speed of 205 mph. The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox features revised gear ratios McLaren says contribute to 15-percent quicker in-gear acceleration compared to the 720S, helping the 765LT to produce "the quickest lap times of any McLaren Super Series model."
McLaren also says the 765LT trumps the already blisteringly fast 720S in the weight department, by more than 150 pounds, with a curb weight of 2,963 pounds when fully fueled. The weight reduction comes courtesy of a slew of carbon-fiber used for body pieces; a titanium exhaust system that is 40-percent lighter than an equivalent steel system; an interesting Formula 1-grade transmission feature; thinner window glass; and motorsport-style polycarbonate glazing for the panels that replace traditional glass. A new LT aerodynamic package is crafted completely from carbon fiber, including the front splitter, front bumper, front floor, side skirts, rear bumper, rear diffuser, and larger "Longtail" active rear wing.
2021 McLaren 765LT Body, Suspension, Brakes, and More
In fact, that active rear wing, rear bumper, and front floor are all designed, engineered, and created at the McLaren Composites Technology Center; McLaren says this car marks "the first use of MCTC-produced carbon-fiber body components in a McLaren road car."
In terms of mechanical grip/performance, the 765LT boasts its own specific springs and dampers, a 6-millimeter-wider front track, a 5-millimeter-lower front ride-height, and new software programming for its hydraulic Proactive Chassis Control II suspension system. Additional similar items of note include 10-spoke forged wheels, titanium wheel bolts, custom Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R track-oriented tires, carbon-ceramic discs, and brake calipers from the McLaren Senna. Also relevant in the braking department, McLaren says the 765LT features "F1-inspired, integrated caliper-cooling ducts."
Hold on, you say, what was that about F1 gearboxes? According to McLaren, the 765LT's "pinion and crown wheel within the transmission final-drive are formed from 20NiCh, a high-performance nickel chrome that is more commonly used within F1 rather than road cars but provides the ideal balance of weight and specification for use in the 765LT's transmission." Even if there was no performance benefit, we're sure most owners would happily pay the baked-in price premium for such materials engineering, just to be able to flaunt it to other gearheads during Saturday Cars and Coffee appearances.
2021 McLaren 765LT Aerodynamic Upgrades
Along with the tires, we expect the 765LT's improved aerodynamic downforce to play as big of a role, if not the biggest role, in improving lap times compared to the 720S. In our real-world experience, the latter has lost out in this department to cars like the Porsche 911 GT2 RS and even the Chevrolet C7 Corvette ZR1; McLaren says the 765LT produces up to 25-percent more downforce than the 720S. And there's some fun aero trickery at play, too, as the movable rear wing works in various ways: as a downforce generator when it is deployed partially when the driver pushes the "Aero" button during cornering; as a drag-reduction element when retracted for straight-line speed; and as an air brake/downforce generator activated automatically during full-on braking scenarios. McLaren points out that the wing's static position—higher than found on the 720S—provides more downforce at all times, even with the wing "retracted." The company naturally promises we'll see a big difference in lap times on high-speed, high-downforce racetracks.
2021 McLaren 765LT: What It All Means
Impressive as the on-paper numbers and specs are, and as much as we've previously praised the 720S, we look most forward to experiencing McLaren's promise that the 765LT significantly elevates driver engagement. It's not that the 720S isn't mightily impressive—it is, especially its stunning straight-acceleration—but when it comes to driver engagement and feeling a connection with the car, more of that is always a welcome improvement. McLaren insists it has listened.
"The 765LT is the most accomplished and exhilarating LT model ever," says McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt. "Incredible performance and astonishing levels of driver engagement—the result of 100s of detailed engineering actions undertaken to ensure the purest possible connection between driver and car—are the standout attributes of an LT developed with single-minded determination to deliver a wholly immersive driving experience to those who secure one."
Other examples of what McLaren incorporated into the car in pursuit of an immersive experience are a steering setup with a quicker ratio and a stiffer torsion bar than the 720S, and main springs "with additional helper springs to reduce unsprung mass and maintain load in the suspension on full rebound. The use of two springs saves weight in comparison with one larger dual-rate spring." Meanwhile, roll stiffness increases in an effort to improve high-speed stability. And for drivers who plan to spend a serious amount of time running the car on racetracks, there is an available brake upgrade that includes the same carbon-ceramic discs found on the McLaren Senna—along with 765LT-specific brake pads that are allegedly "60-percent stronger than conventional carbon-ceramic discs, with four-times the thermal conductivity—and therefore [significantly improved] heat management."
Inside the cockpit, the 765LT continues the modern McLaren tradition of a simplified, motorsports-inspired environment; it includes carbon-fiber seats, center tunnel, and floor. In the name of the weight-saving theme, the car comes standard without an audio system or air conditioning, but customers may of course specify the addition of each at zero cost.
Speaking of cost, McLaren says it will soon confirm pricing for the 2021 765LT; a base price in the $350,000-range is likely a reasonable prediction. McLaren says deliveries will begin in September, but act fast even if you have the coin, as the company will build only a model-name-matching 765 examples of the 765LT.
2021 McLaren 765LT Fast Facts:
568 lb-ft of torque
0-60 mph in 2.7 sec
0-124 mph in 7.2 sec
205-mph top speed
7-speed dual-clutch gearbox with Formula 1 transmission technology
Revised suspension and steering
Deliveries begin in September
$350,000 base price (est) โดมิโน่ QQ
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