McLaren’s pupil be­comes the master

The 600LT is a Long­tail. But for­get the ex­tra 74mm – that name is more about in­ten­tions than di­men­sions

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - The Ten -

Wel­come to this month’s new wing with a McLaren at­tached. With the in­ter­net’s rest­ing heart rate fi­nally re­cov­er­ing from the pal­pi­ta­tion in­duced by the chal­leng­ing ap­pear­ance of the 789bhp Senna, Wok­ing has aimed its strip­pin­gout sock­ets and soup­ing-up span­ners at the en­try-level Sports Series model, bet­ter known to you and I as the 570S. The re­sult, now pack­ing an ex­tra 30bhp, wear­ing lighter body pan­els, and bran­dish­ing a fiendish aero non-flight suit, is the 600LT. This is McLaren’s new Long­tail.

As per the sub­lime 675LT – the lightweighted hard­core 650S we fell for way back in 2015 – ‘Long­tail’ is more of a phi­los­o­phy than a lit­eral ex­ten­sion of the rump – and in truth, a handy mar­ket­ing tie-in for McLaren to hark back to the F1 GTR ‘Long­tails’ that won the 1997 Le Mans GT1. The 600LT’s lip­pier front split­ter and rear dif­fuser sta­lac­tites elon­gate the car a smidge (okay, 74mm), but they’re lit­er­ally the tips of a ruth­less wind tun­nel re­mod­elling.

Chief among the tweaks is that car­bon-fi­bre surf­board. There’s no slip­pery DRS or air­brake party tricks here – the wing stays firmly fixed in place whichever drive mode you’re us­ing – but that’s not to say it’s without theatre. No­tice that matt sec­tion above the wing’s sup­port­ing spars? That’s a heat-re­sis­tant area ne­ces­si­tated by the new top-exit ex­hausts. McLaren’s shifted the pipes to the en­gine deck to make room for a more ef­fec­tive dif­fuser and gain some ex­tra down­force by fun­nelling su­per­heated gases over the rear wing, but the sur­face has to wear a flame­proof suit to cope with the tem­per­a­ture gen­er­ated by the 3.8-litre bi-turbo V8. Proper su­per­car pub ammo, that.

The V8 de­vel­ops an ex­tra 15lb ft, so 620Nm now ar­rives at the rear wheels’ stick­ier tyres via the seven-speed dual-clutch gear­box, but that’s only by virtue of re­duced back­pres­sure from the short­cut­ted ex­haust. This is still a pretty fa­mil­iar McLaren V8, al­beit aided by an up­graded cool­ing sys­tem. The 720S has do­nated its brakes and lighter alu­minium sus­pen­sion com­po­nents – though the 600LT re­mains rel­a­tively old-school for a McLaren by shun­ning hy­drauli­cally linked dampers for clas­sic anti-roll bars.

McLaren’s yet to re­veal how fast the 600LT will cover the stan­dard bench­marks – 0–100kph, 0–200kph, and top speed – but with its dol­lop of ex­tra poke and a 96kg weight sav­ing that’s due to car­bon ad­denda, the minia­turised ex­haust and racier sus­pen­sion, it’s go­ing to be a lot quicker than any ‘baby Mac’ jest­ing sug­gests. The 570S is al­ready good for 0–100kph in 3.4secs, 0–200kph in 9.4secs, and 330kph flat out.

Thing is, we never revered the last Long­tail for out­right pace. No, we loved its sav­agery, and how its con­trols fizzed with feed­back and thrills without re­quir­ing a race­track and a self-preser­va­tion by­pass to en­joy. The 675LT was where McLaren Au­to­mo­tive came good, made a ma­chine wor­thy of the iconic F1, and ban­ished the no­tion it was as clin­i­cal as a sur­geon’s wash­room. That’s the legacy the 600LT has to live up to.

Of course, you can choose how hard­core you want it. The Senna’s ul­tra-light­weight, barely padded seats are an op­tional ex­tra here. You can spec near-slick Pirelli Tro­feo R tyres, which saw duty on the P1 hy­per­car in a pre­vi­ous life, and the price – start­ing at £185,500 – in­cludes at­ten­dance of a McLaren-only own­ers’ track day.

So, it’s the Sports Series, with 23 per cent new parts, all of which make it lighter, louder or faster. See, you don’t re­ally need a Senna af­ter all. We just saved you £550k. OL­LIE KEW

1,247kg – that’s the 600LT’s light­est dry weight, when festooned with McLaren Spe­cial Ops car­bon roof and wings, and re­lieved of fuel and driver. That’s 49kg heav­ier than the McLaren Senna – be­ware of that atyour McLaren-only track day... Pro­duc­tion starts in Oc­to­ber 2018, for 12 months only. Be quick

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