McLaren Solus and 750S at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

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It is rare that concept cars see the light of day. Originally appearing as a concept in the Gran Turismo GT Sport and unveiled at Monterey Car Week in 2022, the McLaren Solus made its dynamic debut at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed. In connection with the celebrations marking 60 years of Mclaren, two Solus were present, one on static display at Mclaren House, and the other in the more than capable hands of McLaren factory driver Marvin Kirchhöfer, racing at high speed on the Goodwood hill climb course.

Form and function

With two Solus present, representing nearly 10% of this very limited production Hypercar’s total, it was a privilege to take the time to appreciate the sleek and visually striking car on static display. Strongly driven by aerodynamic function, designed as a Formula 1 car for enthusiasts, a unique central seating position hides the driver under the sliding canopy. A huge front splitter serves to channel air under the car through Venturi tunnels, en route to the rear diffuser, using ground effect developments operated by the McLaren F1 team. Significantly sculpted wheel arches help reduce weight and channel airflow smoothly to reduce drag around the exterior of the car. The trick lies behind the car, in the form of a fixed two-piece rear wing, which maximizes rear downforce, removing the need for active front and rear wings.

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While the virtual concept used a more traditional four-liter V8, the Solus GT features a screaming 5.2-liter V10, taking loose design notes from a Judd V10 and revving to over 10,000 rpm. A seven-speed sequential gearbox using straight-cut gears and a carbon fiber clutch help propel the Solus to speeds in excess of 200mph, with 0-62mph potential achieved in around 2.5 seconds. The 5.2-litre engine is fixed directly to the monocoque, guaranteeing levels of strength and rigidity rarely associated with production cars.

Uphill Success

During a Festival of Speed ​​weekend beset by various problematic weather conditions, wet racing on Friday dampened hopes for meaningful times, and the cancellation of the event on Saturday did little to raise Solus’ aspirations to be able to fulfill its potential on the 1.17-mile course. Sunday, however, ushered in a favorable change in weather conditions, with sunshine interspersed with light clouds providing dry track conditions and the promise of fast times at the famous Goodwood shootout. McLaren last saw victory in 2021 with the McLaren 720 GT3X climbing the hill in 45.01 seconds at the hands of Rob Bell, and fittingly, given McLaren’s 60th anniversary celebrations, McLaren was set to find success again.

After Michael Lyons clocked a stunning 46.89 in the McLaren Cosworth M26, Marvin Kirchhöfer hammered the Solus down the Goodwood Hillclimb course, leaving nothing on the table to reach the finish line in a remarkable time of 45.34 seconds. The Subaru GL Family Huckster in the hands of Travis Pastrana ran the Solus closely, eventually finishing in 46.36. Success for McLaren, and superb result for the dynamic debut of this stunning hypercar.

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The dynamic debut of the McLaren 750

While the cry of the McLaren Solus still echoed around the West Sussex hills, another new McLaren took to the track to make its dynamic debut. The most powerful production McLaren supercar to date, weighing in at 1389kg, the 750S features a twin-turbocharged 4-litre engine, mounted in the middle to help with stabilization and weight distribution. Improving in many ways on the hugely successful McLaren 720S, which enjoyed great success in GT3 racing around the world, the 750S seeks to improve upon the much-loved formula, to add innovation and refinement to its predecessor.

With figures suggesting a top speed of 206mph, along with 800nm ​​of torque and 740bhp, McLaren’s evolution of the range-topping supercar is sure to be a tantalizing prospect in years to come as a GT3 racing entity. McLarens focus on refining the driver’s engagement with the car, coupled with a refinement of the driving experience and a lighter shape, means an improved and more refined package will delight drivers and racers for the near future.

In the words of McLaren CEO Michael Leiters: “When you have a car recognized by so many drivers as a benchmark, to make something even better you have to look at every detail and really push hard for improvements that raise the bar again. That’s what we’ve done with the new 750S.

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McLaren at the Goodwood Festival Of Speed ​​Gallery

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