Specially ordered for just 25 customers – all of which have already been sold – this closed-cockpit single-seater was unveiled on the sidelines of Monterey Car Week (California) by Michael Leiters, managing director of McLaren Automotive.
Designed by McLaren, which has drawn on all its experience in motorsport as well as in the development of supercars and hypercars, the Solus GT brings to life a futuristic concept that featured in the Gran Turismo Sport video game.
With a weight of less than 1,000 kg and outstanding aerodynamic performance including a downforce of more than 1,200 kg, the Solus GT – which is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-litre V10 engine – would be capable of achieving times lower than those of all McLaren existences (single-seaters excluded).
” The Solus GT is the realization of a radical McLaren concept originally created for the world of virtual racing, emphasizes Michael Leiters. Designed without any restrictions linked to road or racing regulations, but with the full spectrum of McLaren expertise, it embodies our pioneering spirit. »
The exterior design is very faithful to its virtual version. It is based on proven aerodynamic principles, and has been refined through CFD and wind tunnel aerodynamic research.
The list of distinctive exterior features is long. The sliding canopy over the single center seat being one of the most striking. The wheels are shrouded and a large front splitter feeds air through ground effect tunnels feeding a massive rear diffuser. A race-inspired air intake feeds cool air to the engine, while producing an engaging induction sound. The racing car design also inspired the side cradles that house the radiators.
A fixed two-post rear wing is key to the downforce generated, which exceeds the overall weight of the car. The downforce-to-drag ratio is also optimized, which aids straight-line performance while improving cornering potential.
The Solus GT experience begins even before the engine starts, when the driver opens the distinctive cockpit canopy that slides forward. It has nothing to do with a classic car door, or even with the characteristic doors of other McLarens. It looks more like a fighter plane cockpit.
The seat position is fixed – all 25 Solus GT owners experience race car-like “seat adjustment” – and the pedals are adjustable, but with the convenience of a remote system. controlled from a seated position.
The steering wheel – with a unique design – is inspired by Formula 1, with a display on the dashboard. Beyond the steering wheel is the glass “bubble”, with integrated halo-shaped cockpit protection, on which is mounted a rear-view screen powered by a wide-angle camera placed in the roll bar.
To further enhance customer exhilaration, McLaren offers a complete “racing driver experience”. This includes a molded driving seat, an FIA homologated suit, a helmet and HANS device adapted to each owner, as well as radio earpieces. But a comprehensive coaching program will also be available to help customers fully exploit the potential of their new track hypercar.
The Solus GT is powered by a 5.2-liter V10 that exceeds 10,000 rpm. Engine responsiveness is enhanced by the use of barrel-actuated butterflies for each cylinder – a system only suitable for track applications – and is driven entirely by gears, with no chains or belts for the camshaft or systems. auxiliaries.
In addition to power and torque exceeding 840 horsepower and 650 Nm respectively, the engine was also chosen for its structural qualities; for the first time on a production McLaren car, the engine is an integral part of the chassis. Conventional practice in race car construction, this design approach optimizes weight reduction by eliminating the need for additional frame structures or subframes behind the carbon fiber monocoque.
The racing-derived seven-speed sequential gearbox, which features bespoke casting and housing, is mounted at the rear of the engine. Inside, spur gears engaged by a carbon fiber multi-disc clutch perfectly suited for aggressive gear changes.
Like all McLarens since 1981, the Solus GT is based on a carbon fiber monocoque, as are the front and rear chassis structures.
The suspension system includes double wishbones with inner torsion bar, operated by connecting rods front and rear. Both axles are connected by anti-roll bars, with various adjustment options. Made of steel for durability, the front suspension links are encased in aerodynamic carbon fiber fairings, just like in Formula 1.
The 18-inch forged aluminum wheels, fitted with center nuts, are housed in the distinctive wheel arches. They are shod with tires conforming to the specifications of Le Mans-type prototypes, available in slick and grooved versions. Braking is handled by machined aluminum 6-piston monobloc calipers and carbon discs and pads. The driver can adjust the forward and aft distribution from the cockpit.
The performance seems aberrant, with a 0 to 100 km / h shot in 2.5 and a maximum speed of more than 320 km / h. The Solus GT is a showcase of the craftsmanship that McLaren customers can obtain from McLaren Special Operations (MSO). A customization process ensures that each Solus GT is unique and regular updates on the development program.
The McLaren Solus GT is currently in the track testing stage as part of its development process. The first of 25 cars will be delivered in 2023.