McLaren Solus GT, from virtual to track. One step of skill, achieved in limited series of 25 – all cars have already been sold – this track car single-seater with closed cockpit was unveiled during Monterey Car Week in California by Michael Leiters, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Automotive.
The Solus GT brings to life the futuristic McLaren concept that appeared in the Gran Turismo SPORT video game, created by drawing on all of McLaren’s experience and expertise at the highest levels of motorsport and in the development of supercars and hypercars.
With a weight of less than 1,000 kg and aerodynamic performance that includes downforce in excess of 1,200kg, the Solus GT – powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 powertrain – and is capable of the fastest lap times of any non-single-seater McLaren , offering a driving experience that comes close to the involvement and driving sensations of a Formula 1 car.
The exterior design, true to its virtual inspiration, is based on proven aerodynamic principles and the McLaren design ethos ” everything for a reason ‘ refined by further aerodynamic research CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and in the wind tunnel.
The list of characteristics that define the exclusivity of the design is certainly important, starting with sliding roof over the single central seat which is one of the most distinctive.
The wheels are wrapped in aerodynamic shells and linked to the Formula 1-inspired suspension system. A large front splitter directs air into a ground-effect tunnel before it exits the car through the diffuser. A sport-inspired air intake above the cabin, integrated into the design of the roll bar cover located behind the seat, directs cold air towards the engine, while producing a very immersive sound. The design of the single-seaters also inspired the sides of the Solus GT that house the radiators.
The fixed two-piece rear wing is the key to achieving greater downforce than the overall weight of the car. The relationship between downforce and aerodynamic drag has also been optimized, favoring straight-line performance and improving cornering capabilities.
The Solus GT experience begins even before starting the engine, with the rider opening the distinctive cockpit canopy that slides forward through a shallow arch for access. This is not a conventional car door, nor is it the dihedral door typical of other McLaren cars, but rather feels like entering a fighter plane.
The way you get into the car, getting into the one seat that dominates a cockpit focused solely on the driver and performance generates a strong emotion. The seat position is fixed – and the 25 Solus GT owners will be able to customize their seat as in motorsport – with the adjustable pedal set as in a racing car, albeit with the convenience of a remote system operated from the driver’s seat. .
The steering wheel – whose design is unique among McLaren series cars – is inspired by Formula 1, with the dashboard display and essential controls integrated to fit the tight confines of a single-seater.
Beyond the steering wheel, a view opens through the glass “bubble”, with integrated halo-style passenger compartment protection, on which a rear-view display powered by a wide-angle camera positioned inside the roll bar is mounted. The perfectly symmetrical 180-degree view provided by the central driving position is further aided by the wheel pods in helping the driver get the car into trajectories on a track.
To further increase the excitement of Solus GT customers, McLaren offers a complete driving experience. This includes a driver’s seat molded to the shape of the driver’s body, an FIA-approved racing suit, helmet and head and neck support (HANS) device tailored to each owner, and radio-enabled earplugs. A full coaching program will also be available to help customers harness the full potential of their new track hypercar.
The Solus GT is powered by an exclusive 5.2-liter V10, built with low-volume machined components, capable of reaching an engine speed of over 10,000 rpm and delivering extreme performance and thrilling driver involvement. The responsiveness of the powertrain is enhanced by the use of barrel-driven throttles for each cylinder – a system suitable only for track applications – and is entirely gear-driven, with no chains or belts for the camshaft or auxiliary systems.
As well as having thrilling power and torque of 840hp and 650Nm respectively, the engine was also chosen for its structural qualities: for the first time in a McLaren production car, the engine is an integral part of the chassis. . This design approach, which is a conventional practice in racing car construction, optimizes weight reduction by eliminating the need for additional structures or subframes behind the carbon fiber monocoque.
The racing-derived seven-speed sequential gearbox featuring a bespoke cast and casing is made of aluminum with magnesium panels – mounted to the rear of the engine with the rear suspension attached to the gearbox casing. Inside, the straight-toothed gears, engaged by a carbon fiber multi-plate clutch, are ideal for the response required for fast shifting for track performance. The system is fully automated and software controlled which eliminates the need for the driver to operate the clutch, making it easier to exit the pit lane.
Like all McLarens since 1981, the Solus GT is based on a carbon fiber monocoque, in this case made with specialized production methods for limited series realizations, including a carbon “pre-preg” process for greater structural strength and high uniformity of material finish. The front and rear frame structures are also made of carbon fiber, while the engine and gearbox make up the rest of the frame.
Carbon fiber isn’t the Solus GT’s only high-value material. For the cockpit protective structure and roll cage, 3D printed titanium components were used, further embracing the technologies used in the highest levels of motorsport. This is the first time this approach has been adopted for the structural elements of a McLaren series car, allowing for a very distinctive design and reducing weight.
The suspension system incorporates double wishbones with damping and internal torsion bar, operated via tie rods at the front and tie rods at the rear. Both axles are linked by anti-roll bars, with adjustment options available to the driver. Made of steel for increased durability, the front suspension is encased in carbon fiber aerodynamic shrouds, similar to what happens in Formula 1.
Inside the characteristic wheel arches are 18-inch forged aluminum wheels with central locking nuts, coated with specific tires for Le Mans prototypes, available in slick and wet compounds. Braking is entrusted to 6-piston monobloc calipers in machined aluminum and carbon discs and pads. The distribution between the front and rear brakes can be adjusted by the rider.
Traditional performance parameters are not that relevant for a track car, but with a target time of 2.5 seconds for acceleration from 0 to 100km / h and a top speed of over 200mph – in combination with the low weight and the car’s strong aerodynamic capabilities – the McLaren Solus GT has all the performance credentials needed for a car to hit the track.
Incorporating all the elements that have made McLaren a world-class automotive reference, the Solus GT is also a showcase for the excellent craftsmanship made available to McLaren customers by McLaren Special Operations (MSO). With a design like this, the MSO division goes beyond the car itself and achieves a unique level of engagement and accessibility to luxury for the McLaren customer. Advanced customization development ensures that each Solus GT is unique and regular updates on the development schedule are then offered, including access to prototype driving sessions that can affect the car’s driving characteristics prior to production.
Solus GT track events are planned and all cars will be delivered with a flight case to allow owners to support their track activities. This includes a complete set of tools, jacks, jack stands, radio and a coolant preheater.
The McLaren Solus GT is currently in track testing as part of its development program. The first of 25 customer cars – all of which have been sold all sold – will be delivered in 2023.
Last modification: August 20, 2022
McLaren Solus GT, from virtual to real. Only 25 examples – QN Motori