A body sculpted by wind
“Downforce is a big deal for us but so is efficiency,” continues Vinnels. “If you take out 20kg of cooling system that’s a big win, and for that reason we’re always on a knife-edge in terms of what we can get away with on the cooling.
“Tyres are also crucial, and I’m proud of the fact that we’re Pirelli’s worst customer. We give them a really hard time, setting challenging parameters that go after everything: texture, feel, sidewall stiffness, reduced weight, reduced rolling resistance…
“All those things came together in this tyre – a six per cent increase in mechanical grip while meeting all the other objectives.”
IT’S A DRAG
Wheelarch vents draw high-pressure air from the front wheel wells, reducing drag, while delicious, organic forms wrought in aluminium funnel air into the dramatic door ducts running back to the hightemperature radiators.
“Clean air comes over the shoulder there at the base of the A-pillar, and turbulent air flows from the lower body side. The gill idea came from early vision work aesthetically peeling the car apart layer by layer,” explains designer Rob Melville. “We drew sections to efficiently separate the clean and turbulent air.”
“We’re using virtual reality (VR) more and more, especially where lots of components come together, such as underneath the rear wing on this car,” Melville says. “You can make models of complex parts and plug them into the fullsize clay or you can put on the VR headset and see the end result.
“The technology is moving quickly – I used it a couple of times last week to look at future product. Imagine, with a new interior – you can sit in the car and evaluate the interior before you’ve even got the structure signed off.”
“The design is about clearing certain hard points, such as the high-temp radiators at the rear of the doors, as tightly as possible,” continues Melville.
“Here those radiators are just 15mm under the skin – we actually chop the housing away to get it even closer to the B surface under there, which most people wouldn’t bother to do. The detailing doesn’t finish at the skin; it goes all the way through.”
“If you look at the glasshouse graphics and the excellent forward and rearward visibility, they’re pure McLaren – it would have been easy and too literal to use the same graphics on each car we do. You can see the lineage, but 720S stands apart as a Super Series car at the same time,” Mark Vinnels said, executive director of product development.
Active rear spoiler is fullwidth and can deploy to its most aggressive, full-airbrake position in less than half a second. As before it works to optimise balance as loads and forces shift, but now also delivers more downforce.
THE EYES HAVE IT
P1-inspired front diffuser and open headlight
‘eye sockets’ efficiently channel air under and into the car, creating downforce while bending the on-rushing atmosphere to the will of the car’s cooling requirements.