New McLaren 765LT designed to deliver maximum driver engagement

05 March 2020 - 07:54 By Mark Smyth
Design changes incorporate extensive aerodynamic enhancements. Picture: SUPPLIED
Design changes incorporate extensive aerodynamic enhancements. Picture: SUPPLIED

I wouldn’t blame you for becoming a bit apathetic when it comes to yet another McLaren. The company promised to launch a new model every year and they’ve kept to their promise, meaning we seem to get one new Mac after another.

The Speedtail is something different, the Elva a bit unnecessary perhaps. Both are currently in production, as is the GT and the 620R, a road version of the GT4 race car.

Now there’s the 765LT, which had its reveal this week. We were given access to it at a preview in London last month and not surprisingly the question of whether we need an LT (long tail) version of the 720S came up very early on in discussions.

McLaren will produce 765 models, with the first expected to reach customers in September 2020. And it seems there is genuine interest. Chatting with vehicle line director for the Super Series models, Andreas Bareis, he told us that as soon as the 720S was launched, customers started asking whether there would be an LT, a lighter, even more performance focused model. They want it and so McLaren has built it, it’s as simple as that really.

Dramatic changes at the rear include a larger spoiler and a titanium quad-pipe exhaust. Picture: SUPPLIED
Dramatic changes at the rear include a larger spoiler and a titanium quad-pipe exhaust. Picture: SUPPLIED

What they will get is a car that follows the lineage of the famous McLaren F1 GTR LT of 1997. Since then there has been a 675LT and 600LT, including both regular and Spider versions.

Bareis says the 765LT is the “very essence of a McLaren long tail”. It’s designed to provide maximum driver engagement, a purer connection between driver, car and the road beneath them. To achieve that, the car has shed 80kg, something which he says was a huge challenge given the light weight of the 720S to begin with.

There’s more carbon fibre and a titanium quad exhaust that’s 40% lighter than the one on the regular model. They’ve used polycarbonate instead of glass for the engine cover, cutting 6kg. The biggest weight saving though is in the wheels. The 10-spoke ultra lightweight forged alloy wheels with titanium bolts weigh in at 22kg less than the standard ones and are wrapped in bespoke Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R rubber.

While all McLarens are sporty, the LT is even more track-focused. Software settings are unique and it has bespoken springs and dampers. It has standard carbon discs and the callipers are straight from the Senna.

That’s a good talking point, unless you have a Senna already, but another impressive piece of info is that this means the LT will brake from 200km/h to zero in just 110m.

There are design changes too, including a new aero package. Design director Rob Melville says the changes provide “crisper geometry”, but they are also about functionality. The front is 40mm longer with a deeper front splitter.

There’s full width laser-cut aluminium mesh across the rear and an active rear spoiler. with 20% more surface area on the airbrake. McLaren claims it all results in 25% more downforce than the 720S, but as it won’t say what the downforce figure is for the 720S, we have no idea what the figure actually is.

And of course, there’s more power and solutions to deliver it to the road quicker. It gets the same pistons and three-layer head gasket as the Senna and F1 coatings on the gearbox.

The interior has been stripped of excess weight. Picture: SUPPLIED
The interior has been stripped of excess weight. Picture: SUPPLIED

This contributes to an increase in power to 563kW at 7,500r/min and 800Nm at 5,500r/min. Bareis says that in-gear acceleration is 15% quicker than in the 720S resulting in a 0-100km/h time of 2.8 seconds, 0-200km/h in 7.2 and a top end of 330km/h.

There are weight reductions inside too. The centre storage tunnel has gone and it has the same lightweight seats as the Senna. Floor mats are an option, instead it has exposed carbon fibre floors and there’s lots of Alcantara. A nice touch is that you can also see the engine from inside the cabin, although of course we wouldn’t recommend the driver turning round to take a look while driving, so it’s more for the passenger’s entertainment. Like the 720S, it also has the option of LED lighting in the engine bay, perfect for admiring it while parked outside some swanky hotel for an evening.

That’s quite a lot of changes, but is it enough to discourage any apathy? Well what we do is that the changes McLaren made to create the 675LT made it an absolutely superb piece of machinery. It was fast, precise, agile, with a soundtrack to match.

It was also an LT which is something worth talking about and that provides decent bragging rights compared to anyone who owns a regular version. It might upset those not in the know who bought a 720S, possibly even a few 675LT owners too, but It should be something special and that presumably is why many owners have asked for it. And if they’ve asked for a Spider version, then they’ll be happy too because Bareis says the Spider will be coming along in 2021.