McLaren 600LT

The introduction of the new McLaren 600LT marks both the beginning of the next chapter in the ‘Longtail’ story and the setting of a new benchmark for super-sportscar performance. Built to excel in equal measure on track and road, the 600LT is the fastest, most powerful and most track-focused – yet road legal – McLaren Sports Series yet created.

The new McLaren 600LT epitomises the McLaren philosophy of producing lightweight super-sportscars that deliver extreme performance and are exceptionally rewarding to drive. With the engine management system of the 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 recalibrated and reduced back pressure from a top-exit exhaust system that is even shorter and more extreme than that of the McLaren Senna allowing the engine to breathe more freely, the 600LT can call on peak power of 600PS (592bhp) at 7,500rpm and a maximum torque output of 620Nm (457lb ft) at 5,500-6,500rpm. These outputs deliver astonishing levels of performance: 0-100km/h (62mph) takes just 2.9 seconds, matching the acceleration of the revered McLaren 675LT. 0-200km/h (124mph) is achieved in a remarkable 8.2 seconds and the 600LT can continue gathering speed to a top speed of 328km/h (204mph).

Inspired by the renowned McLaren 675LT models and their iconic ‘Longtail’ McLaren F1 GTR racing predecessor, the new addition to the LT family has all the physical hallmarks of a true McLaren ‘Longtail’, including an extended front splitter, lengthened rear diffuser, fixed rear wing and elongated silhouette – in this case by 74mm compared to a McLaren 570S Coupé. The unique bodywork optimises aerodynamic performance, working in conjunction with a flat carbon fibre floor to produce 100kg of downforce at 250km/h (155mph) that generates the increased grip and greater high-speed stability that is a significant contributor to the 600LT’s excellence on a track.

Extensive use of carbon fibre – including for the monocoque chassis, the new aerodynamic features and throughout the track-focused cockpit – helps the McLaren 600LT achieve a lightest dry weight of 1,247kg and an equivalent power-to-weight ratio of 481PS/tonne. With the optional Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing Seats developed for the McLaren Senna fitted, the 600LT weighs 100kg less than a 570S Coupé – a reduction that delivers tangible benefits in every aspect of the car’s performance.

The remit of any McLaren ‘Longtail’ is to engage and excite to the absolute maximum, encouraging and enabling a driver to fully exploit the dynamic performance inherent in the car. The ethos underpinning every aspect of the development of the 600LT was a determination to deliver the purest possible connection between car and driver. To this end, the car has lighter and stiffer suspension components from the McLaren Super Series, the adoption of the forged aluminium double wishbones and uprights not only improving dynamic capabilities but also reducing weight by 10.2kg. Ride is reduced by 8mm and front track increased by 10mm, to deliver a more precise driving experience. The independent, continuously variable adaptive dampers and front and rear anti-roll bars that feature on all McLaren Sports Series models have been retained but are significantly re-engineered to work with the new suspension geometry and deliver the track-focused performance demanded of the new 600LT.

The adoption of the braking system from the Super Series, which features lightweight aluminium calipers and stiffer carbon ceramic discs, reduces weight by 4kg. Working in conjunction with an all-new brake booster developed using learnings from the McLaren Senna, the result is incredibly responsive and progressive pedal feel during braking and a 200km/h (124mph) to standstill distance of just 117m – only 1m more than a McLaren P1™.

Two new designs of forged Ultra-Lightweight aluminium alloy wheels – 10-spoke as standard and a 5-spoke alternative as a cost-option – are the lightest wheels ever fitted to a Sports Series, the reduction in unsprung weight bringing a tangible benefit to the dynamic qualities of the car.

Bespoke P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres – developed with McLaren Technical Partner, Pirelli – feature for the first time in the McLaren Sports Series and this unique track-focused tyre is a crucial element in the enhanced dynamic abilities of the 600LT. Tuned to help deliver the immediacy and steering feel for which McLaren is renowned, as well as excellent rear-axle stability, the ultra-high-performance tyre features a softer sidewall structure than is usual to improve compliance and thereby grip levels by ensuring the contact patch with the ground is maintained, even on less-than-perfect surfaces. By contrast, the belt construction of the Trofeo R tyre is stiffer than on any previous Sports Series tyre, to enhance lateral acceleration and improve cornering ability.

The cockpit of the McLaren 600LT exemplifies both weight reduction and a driver-focused environment. Lightweight Alcantara® trim material is used extensively throughout and the absence of carpet in the footwells and beneath the seats saves 5.6kg, while also exposing the carbon fibre beauty of the MonoCell II chassis construction. The glovebox has been removed and the door pockets replaced with lightweight nets; air-conditioning, satellite navigation and an audio system are all available as no-cost options, not being fitted as standard. Carbon Fibre Racing Seats, first seen on the McLaren P1™ and subsequently used in the McLaren 675LT, are standard-fit and save a significant 21kg.

Like its 675LT predecessors, each 600LT will be hand-assembled at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, Surrey. Build will begin in October 2018 and last for around 12 months, with production slots scheduled around existing Sports Series and Super Series models, as well as the sell-out McLaren Senna, McLaren Senna GTR and McLaren Speedtail. Availability of the 600LT will be strictly limited, the carbon fibre body panels that require specialist tooling just one of the reasons that the new ‘Longtail’ will be rarer than other Sports Series models.

The McLaren 600LT is priced from £185,500 with taxes (UK).

A true McLaren ‘Longtail’ – longer bodywork and optimised aero performance

Two decades ago the Le Mans-winning McLaren F1 GTR evolved into one of the purest race cars in modern motorsport history: the ‘Longtail’. A significant weight reduction and driver-focused suspension and drivetrain alterations were key modifications, but it was the distinctive stretched silhouette – created in pursuit of performance-optimised aerodynamics and increased downforce – that gave rise to the legendary name. Instantly recognisable by its elongated carbon fibre rear bodywork, swept-up spoiler and fixed rear wing, the McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ was extended at both ends to increase aerodynamic downforce. This was the inspiration for the first modern McLaren ‘Longtail’, the 675LT, which featured a prominent carbon fibre front splitter 80 per cent larger than other Super Series models and a carbon fibre ‘Longtail’ airbrake 50 per cent larger.

Utilising this same engineering-led recipe, the new McLaren 600LT is a true ‘Longtail’, extended both front and rear and with every new aerodynamic part built from carbon fibre to be both stiffer and lighter. In keeping with the distinct characteristics of the Sports Series, the fixed aerodynamic package of the 600LT features a unique rear wing. At 250km/h (155mph), 100kg of downforce – balanced 40 per cent front to 60 per cent rear – is generated. The increased levels of downforce are integral to greater grip and high-speed stability, while the agile and responsive handling traits of the Sports Series have been maintained and enhanced for improved track performance.

The aggressive carbon fibre front splitter is the first crucial point at which the air interacts with the fixed aerodynamics of the 600LT. Extended by 27mm, the splitter increases front downforce, separating, directing and working airflow around, over, under and even through the sculpted ‘shrink-wrapped’ bodywork. Squarer and broader to maximise its effect, the splitter also sits closer to the ground – thanks in part to an 8mm reduction in ride – reducing airflow under the vehicle.

A new carbon fibre floor is both lighter and stiffer and features subtle blades to generate downforce. Set within the flat floor are two new intakes that channel additional cooling air onto the front brakes, to better meet the demands of the higher braking loads generated by the increased speeds and dynamic performance of the 600LT. The shape of the intakes has been tuned to not direct excess airflow into the front wheel arches, which would increase pressure and subsequently send ‘dirty’ air along the sides of the vehicle towards the high-temperature radiator (HTR) side intakes.

The outer edges of the carbon fibre front splitter feature twin end plates that guide airflow into the low-temperature radiators (LTRs) that are mounted beneath each headlight unit. Airflow is also directed around the front fenders and front wheels, calming the wake generated when the wheels turn during cornering and ‘cleaning’ the airflow moving towards the rear of the vehicle. A tyre spoiler on the leading edge of each front wheel arch also serves to ‘clean’ the airflow as it passes around each wheel. Carbon fibre side skirts running down each flank and discreet carbon fibre Aero Winglets just behind the front wheels – akin to those on the McLaren P1™ – further enhance aerodynamic efficiency.

To accommodate the increased cooling demands of the high-performance, 600PS twin-turbocharged engine, the carbon fibre side intakes have been enlarged by 15mm. Optimisation of the internal cowling and ducting has further increased airflow into the high-temperatures radiators and enabled a 4-degree cooling improvement, to help meet the needs of sustained high-speed track running. The strong crease lines along the bonnet aid airflow down the sides of the vehicle and the dihedral doors – which have featured on every McLaren road car since the iconic McLaren F1 from the 1990s – have a distinctive ‘floating’ tendon that channels air into the intake to provide cooling for the HTRs.

Many of the distinctive features of the McLaren 600LT contribute towards aerodynamic performance. The ‘shrink-wrapped’ design carefully channels airflow over every panel; the shape of the door-mirror arms minimises the cross-sectional area, improving cooling efficiency by 2 per cent; while the ‘floating’ cantrails increase downforce by 8kg without any corresponding rise in drag. The airflow through these unique flying buttresses enhances the flow of cool, clean air over the rear deck and engine bay to enhance powertrain heat management and also drives the flow over the centre section of the fixed rear wing to optimise downforce.

Showcasing the depth of engineering modifications to the 600LT, the bespoke top-exit exhausts contribute a significant weight reduction as well as aiding enhanced engine response and enabling improved powertrain cooling. The exhaust system also delivers an aerodynamic advantage through packaging improvements around the rear bumper and diffuser: rather than being routed through to the rear of the vehicle, the new top-exit exhaust pipes vent straight upwards and out to provide an effective cooling solution. Supporting the heat evacuation is a revised carbon fibre rear deck with a fine mesh, creating a significantly greater open area and helping to draw hot air out from the engine bay and high-temperature radiators. The same intricate mesh features within the rear diffuser and rear light clusters aid engine bay cooling, with additional venting beneath the McLaren badge.

The central section of the fixed rear wing features a heat-resistant coating to counteract the high temperatures generated by the top-exit exhaust pipes. Engineering the exhausts and wing to sit in close proximity yet work together was a complex engineering task, but as well as creating a unique design aesthetic and saving weight it has led to further significant advantages; as an example, with the exhausts repositioned from within the rear bumper the bodywork can now be shrink-wrapped even tighter to allow separate aerodynamic devices to be ‘pushed out’ to the corners of the car for increased efficiency.

The bodywork of the McLaren 600LT has been extended rearwards by 47mm to improve downforce and the elongated tail allows the fixed rear wing to be mounted further back for optimal aerodynamic efficiency. The carbon fibre wing is an homage to the multiple-championship-winning GT4 variant of the Sports Series, but in keeping with the look of a modern McLaren ‘Longtail’ has a subtler appearance to create a clear visual separation between the track-only race car and road-legal 600LT.

The position of the wing’s support pylons, as well as their aerodynamically tapered form, has been tuned to improve yaw performance. The curvature of the fixed rear wing, cross-sectional profile and angle of attack have all been tuned to increase downforce, while working with the new aerodynamic features at the front of the 600LT to maintain optimal vehicle balance. The wing also acts in conjunction with the fixed spoiler integrated into the trailing edge of the rear deck to balance drag and downforce.

The new carbon fibre rear diffuser is wider, taller and has deeper vanes than other Sports Series models. Starting under the rear axle and further enhanced because of the physically longer rear of the 600LT, the diffuser is much more powerful and as it increases in creates a low-pressure zone that ‘sucks’ the car to the ground. The longer length also serves to diffuse the air more gradually, so instead of airflow separating from the rear of the vehicle with a hard, abrupt edge, it is diffused more gradually back into the air freestream for improved aerodynamic efficiency.

View the McLaren 600LT from behind and you can also see how the fenders have been pushed even closer to the engineering hard points, exposing the rear tyres. This has enabled the creation of carbon fibre Rear Bumper Aero Fins that vent pressure from within the rear wheel arches, guiding airflow rearwards and ensuring it separates cleanly from the vehicle.

The McLaren sportscar – now lighter by 100kg

With a carbon fibre chassis and lightweight aluminium bodywork, the McLaren Sports Series is already the lightest in its class. The 600LT team pushed this advantage even further and engineered the same 100kg weight reduction for the new ‘Longtail’ as was achieved with the McLaren 675LT. With the twin-turbo V8 engine producing 600PS, at lightest dry weight the McLaren 600LT has a maximum power-to-weight ratio of 481PS/tonne.

The heart of the McLaren 600LT is the unique MonoCell II chassis. Incredibly strong and stiff – as is inherent with carbon fibre – this renowned ‘tub’ improves handling, agility and ride comfort. Some 25 per cent stiffer than a comparable aluminium chassis and with a greater-still margin of superiority over a steel chassis, the MonoCell II weighs just 75kg.

The unique top-exit exhausts are constructed from lightweight stainless steel and reduce the length of pipework within the engine bay by 1,080mm, creating a system that is even shorter than that of the McLaren Senna. Together with the utilisation of smaller and thinner heatshields and further lightweight engineering, a total weight saving of 12.6kg is achieved, with mass outside of the wheelbase also crucially reduced. The exhausts exit through a new lightweight carbon fibre rear deck, with a Dark Palladium finish. The engine service cover – which is composite but can be specified in carbon fibre – features a quick-release system in place of a latch mechanism to reduce weight.

Just as light, stiff and strong carbon fibre forms the chassis of the McLaren 600LT, so too has it been used for the new aerodynamic bodywork. Additionally, the lightweight aluminium body panels of the 600LT have been engineered to be the same weight as a composite equivalent. The longer and wider front splitter, front floor, side sills, extended side intakes, fixed rear wing, elongated rear bumper and wider and deeper diffuser are all constructed from carbon fibre. This not only reduces weight, but also increases stiffness, most notably in the case of the revised front floor. As well as providing enhanced cooling for the brakes and improving downforce by incorporating discreet vanes, the additional rigidity has enabled re-engineering of the aluminium support structure for the low-temperature radiators (LTRs) to further reduce weight beyond the front axle.

The new, Ultra-Lightweight Forged Alloy Wheel that is standard on the 600LT is the lightest ever fitted to a Sports Series. Bespoke to this model, the exclusive 10-spoke design reduces weight but is incredibly strong. In conjunction with the Pirelli P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres fitted to the 600LT, a gross saving of 17.0kg is achieved, the accompanying reduction in unsprung weight also benefiting dynamic abilities. An Ultra-Lightweight forged wheel with a 5-spoke design – also unique to the 600LT – is an option at additional cost. The fact that titanium wheel bolts are available to save a further 0.42kg is an example of the McLaren engineers’ determination to reduce weight wherever possible.

Even the glazing of the McLaren 600LT has not escaped attention. The layers of glass and the laminate layer comprising the concave rear window have been reduced in thickness and weigh less. The electrical heating element has also been removed, but with no inconvenience caused to the customer due to heat generated by the new top-exit exhaust system. The outer layer of the windscreen is thinner too, down from 2.1mm to 1.6mm, contributing to a total glazing weight reduction of 2.1kg.

The 600LT utilises suspension componentry from the Super Series, the adoption of the latest-generation, forged aluminium double wishbones and uprights not only improving dynamic capabilities, but also reducing weight by 10.2kg. The independent, continuously variable adaptive dampers and front and rear anti-roll bars of the Sports Series have been retained on the 600LT, but with significant re-engineering to work with the new suspension geometry and deliver the track-focused dynamic performance expected of a McLaren ‘Longtail’.

Further evidence of the focus on weight reduction is found throughout the car. The Carbon Fibre Racing Seats fitted as standard were first seen on the McLaren P1™ and subsequently used on the McLaren 675LT. The passenger seat is fixed in position as standard, but a lightweight rail system is a no-cost option. Trimmed in lightweight Alcantara®, with the McLaren 600LT logo debossed on the headrest, the two seats are a remarkable 21kg lighter than Sports Series sports seats.

Even more weight can be saved by specifying the Super-Lightweight seats from the Ultimate Series McLaren Senna as a cost-option. Each carbon fibre seat shells weighs a mere 3.35kg due to an innovative double-skin technology that reduces weight by 33 per cent in comparison with the same seat shell manufactured using conventional carbon fibre processes. Seven lightweight Alcantara® (or as an option, leather) pads replace a fully padded foam mould to reduce weight. Electrically adjustable and heated Sports Seats are available for customers less determined to shave kilograms off the weight of their 600LT.

The McLaren 600LT utilises lightweight Alcantara® trim more extensively in its cockpit than any other Sports Series model. Together with the removal of carpet in the driver and passenger footwells and beneath the seats and a thinner carpet in the front storage compartment, this delivers a weight-save of more than 5kg. Removal of the glovebox and lightweight nets in lieu of door pockets accounts for a further 1.0kg reduction.

As standard the McLaren 600LT does not feature audio or navigation and the removal of the speakers, amplifier and antenna reduces weight by 3.3kg. Deletion of the air-conditioning system (including the condenser, evaporator and compressor unit) saves an additional 12.6kg. An audio and satellite navigation system and air-conditioning are no-cost options, but if they are specified the car cannot be fitted with a bespoke lightweight wiring harness that takes full advantage of the fewer connections needed to contribute a further 3.3kg saving.

The 100kg weight advantage that the 600LT enjoys over the 570S Coupé – the equal of the 675LT in comparison to the 650S – is achieved as follows:

  • Carbon Fibre Racing Seats trimmed in Alcantara: -21.0kg
  • 10-spoke Ultra-Lightweight forged alloy wheels and Pirelli P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres; -17.0kg
  • No air-conditioning: -12.6kg
  • Top-exit stainless steel exhausts: -12.6kg
  • Lightweight suspension components: -10.2kg
  • Lightweight carbon fibre aerodynamic bodywork: -7.2kg
  • Alcantara® interior, no carpet in cabin, thinner carpet in luggage compartment: -5.6kg
  • Lightweight braking system: -4.0kg
  • Lightweight wiring harness: -3.3kg
  • No audio or satellite navigation: -3.3kg
  • Lightweight windscreen and rear window: -2.1kg
  • No glovebox or door pockets: -1.0kg
  • Fixed rear wing (including aerodynamic pylons and support brackets): +3.5kg
  • Optional Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing Seats: -3.6kg

Customers can make further weight savings by replacing the Dark Palladium-coated carbon fibre aerodynamic parts with components in a Gloss Finish Visual Carbon Fibre. Additionally, a selection of optional parts from McLaren Special Operations, including a carbon fibre roof, carbon fibre cantrails and carbon fibre front fender louvres, can be specified, either individually or as part of the MSO Clubsport or Clubsport Pro packs.

The most powerful McLaren Sports Series ever

The McLaren 600LT is the most powerful Sports Series ever, with a 600PS (592bhp) version of the twin-turbocharged, 3.8-litre engine. Featuring dry sump lubrication that allows for higher cornering speeds without oil surge, the engine also has a race-inspired flat-plane crankshaft that enables it to be mounted as low as possible, lowering the centre of gravity and improving handling responsiveness.

The M838TE engine is one of the lightest and most efficient high-performance engines in production, but in the 600LT it is taken to new s with 600PS generated at 7,500rpm and 620Nm (457lb ft) from 5,500-6,500rpm. Responsiveness is enhanced with the use of a more efficient water pump from the Super Series, which reduces pumping losses and places less load on the powertrain. If air-conditioning is not specified, the deletion of the compressor unit for this system has a similar effect.

The side intakes feeding the high-temperature radiators (HTRs) are wider by 15mm to provide additional cooling capacity and improvements to the internal cowling and ducting have increased airflow into the high-temperatures radiators. Revisions to improve heat management include a reduction in both the surface area and the thickness of the heat shields.

The unique top-exit exhaust system is a key element of the high-performance powertrain. Reduced length and less bends within the pipework – measuring just 301mm, the system is even shorter than that of the McLaren Senna – reduces back pressure, allowing the engine to breathe more easily, especially at high loads. Together with extensive work on the engine management system, this has significantly improved transient response.

Crafted in stainless steel, the exhausts exit through the rear deck to create a unique aesthetic but there are inherent advantages beyond this. Work to hone the aerodynamics and heat management in conjunction with the fixed rear wing unlocked other benefits ranging from weight reduction and improved powertrain response to enhanced engine bay cooling and the packaging improvements that made possible the larger rear diffuser and new Rear Bumper Aero Fins.

An additional benefit of the new top-exist exhausts is the new aural presence. Positioned literally over the driver’s shoulder, the twin tailpipes are as close as they could possibly be to occupants and create a distinct sound signature. Tuning the acoustics posed a demanding technical challenge, but the result is a raw, angry and loud soundtrack, building to a piercing crescendo worthy of a McLaren ‘Longtail’.

The McLaren 600LT engineering team also built on lessons learned with the McLaren 675LT and McLaren Senna to ensure a level of engagement that ensures a driver ‘feels’ the powertrain. Significantly stiffer engine and transmission mounts radiate low-frequency sounds into the cabin through the carbon fibre MonoCell II, working in harmony with the increased performance, exhaust volume and dynamic tuning. These developments mean that a driver not only hears the power of the McLaren 600LT, but also feels a precise connection with the vehicle through their seat, enhanced by the sharpness of the throttle response and the immediacy of the steering and chassis.

Power from the mid-mounted engine is delivered to the rear wheels using a dual-clutch, seamless-shift seven-speed gearbox. A fully automatic mode is the default set-up for optimal shift strategy during normal road driving, although the paddles mounted behind the steering wheel can be used to change gear within this setting. The driver can also take full manual control of gear shifts via the paddles, a choice selectable via a button on the Active Dynamics Panel; in this mode, the transmission will not upshift at the redline without driver input. Elongated carbon fibre paddles are available as an option to further enhance the connection with the vehicle and are recommended for drivers who regularly visit a circuit and wear race gloves.

The character of the twin-turbo V8 and the dual-clutch gearbox can be tailored by a driver using the Active Dynamics Panel, with a choice of Normal, Sport and Track powertrain modes. Using technology adopted from Formula 1 and developed for the McLaren 675LT, the 600LT features Ignition Cut in Sport mode, whereby a momentary cut of the ignition spark during a gearshift enables a faster change, with each shift accompanied by a dramatic aural ‘crack’. In Track mode, optimal gearshift performance is achieved through McLaren’s Inertia Push technology, which employs the built-up kinetic energy of the flywheel to deliver an impulse of torque as the next forward gear is engaged, ensuring continuous strong acceleration as the driver upshifts.

Just like the 675LT, the 600LT does not have a ‘creep’ mode; any movement is at the sole behest of the driver, as you would expect from a McLaren ‘Longtail’. The software strategy of the 600LT transmission includes a ‘burnout mode’, while the launch-control function delivers incredible straight-line performance from standstill. Acceleration from 0-100km/h (62mph) is delivered in 2.9 seconds; 0-200km/h (124mph) is achieved in 8.2 seconds; and the McLaren 600LT will sprint from 0 to 300km/h (186mph) in 24.9 seconds. The standing quarter mile is passed in 10.4 seconds, on the way to a maximum speed of 328km/h (204mph).

The agility of a Sports Series with the track-focused dynamics and enhanced driver engagement of a ‘Longtail’

The McLaren 600LT has a full suite of ‘Longtail’ characteristics to ensure it delivers an even more engaging and accomplished driving experience than other Sport Series models. in the same way that the McLaren 675LT utilised wishbones and uprights derived from the first Ultimate Series, the McLaren P1™, the adoption of suspension components from the Super Series is key to the chassis set-up of the 600LT, which features both the front and rear double wishbones and suspension uprights from the 720S, along with the rear toe-links. The components are forged aluminium and deliver a reduction both to gross weight and unsprung weight.

The McLaren 600LT maintains the renowned Sports Series agility but with improved body control and grip levels. The new front suspension geometry works together with a 10mm wider front track to imbue the McLaren 600LT with the front-end responsiveness and steering feeling expected of a McLaren ‘Longtail’, while the change in rear geometry enhances both straight-line and cornering stability at high speeds. Vehicle pitch and squat under heavy braking is also improved.

Learnings carried directly from the Super Series have improved compliance characteristics both front and rear, with the stiffer hardware aiding both agility and precision. There is an 8mm reduction in ride and the existing Sports Series springs and dampers have been re-engineered; spring rates are stiffer (front 14 per cent; rear 34 per cent) for improved control, while the continuously variable, electronically controlled twin valve dampers allow for individual compression and rebound characteristics. Thicker anti-roll bars improve roll stiffness and chassis directness.

Alongside its track prowess, the McLaren 600LT offers remarkable everyday capabilities, with Normal, Sport and Track handling modes selectable using the Active Dynamics Panel. ‘Normal’ delivers a compliant but engaging ride, ‘Sport’ is optimised favoured driving roads and bumpy circuits such as the Nürburgring Nordschleife, while ‘Track’ is ideal for smooth, quick circuits. On the road, the precision of the chassis ensures compliancy and composure and the sensitivity of the steering provides absolute clarity to the driver. On a race track, the qualities combine with increased downforce, stiffer suspension and increased grip to not only enable quicker lap times but also produce a more consistent and controllable experience up to, on – and even beyond – the limit.

The P Zero™ Trofeo R tyre, never previously available in the Sport Series, is a crucial element in the enhanced dynamic abilities of the 600LT. Created in conjunction with McLaren technical partner Pirelli, this bespoke new high-performance tyre has allowed McLaren’s dynamics engineers to precisely tune the characteristics of the new ‘Longtail’, from the immediacy and on-centre feel of the steering at the front to the enhanced stability at the rear. The relationship between McLaren and Pirelli has delivered both in terms of dynamic results and on a wider technical level; the sidewall structure of the tyre is softer, improving tyre compliance and enhancing grip levels by ensuring the contact patch with the ground is maintained even on less-than-perfect surfaces. By contrast – and in keeping with the track-focused nature of the Pirelli P Zero™ Trofeo R – the belt construction is stiffer than on any previous Sports Series, to enhance lateral acceleration and improve cornering ability.

The McLaren 600LT features steering with electro-hydraulic assistance that delivers detailed feedback to a driver but, utilising the new front axle geometry and bespoke Pirelli tyres to maximum effect, engineers have tuned the steering to deliver sharper on-centre response, faster turn-in and more feedback. There is a stiffer torsion bar in the steering rack and a more direct steering ratio that is 4 per cent faster than the 570S Coupé, as well as software changes that have retuned the boost curve and increased control weights. The revised front axle compliance delivers an even more direct connection to the road, with faster responses to driver inputs and ened steering feel.

The package of revisions to the suspension, springs, dampers, steering and tyres has been critical in bringing to the fore the ‘sub-limit’ feel that connects the driver with the McLaren 600LT. Just as the McLaren P1™, 675LT and McLaren Senna feel ‘alive’ below their upper limits, so does the 600LT, the immediacy of the steering perfectly matched to the response of the chassis and the intensity of the powertrain. Proving out McLaren’s belief in its electro-hydraulic steering, one software ‘map’ is shared across Normal, Sport and Track handling modes.

As befits a ‘Longtail’, the brakes are also a step ahead of those on other Sports Series models. Lightweight aluminium calipers and stiffer carbon ceramic discs (front 390mm; rear 380mm) from the Super Series provide the foundations for a braking system that can stop the 600LT from 200km/h (124mph) in just 117m – only 1m more than a McLaren P1™. Intakes in the new carbon fibre front floor provide additional front brake cooling and a new vacuum pump ensures pedal consistency during repeated use. A new brake booster using technology from the McLaren Senna delivers greater performance with sharper pedal response and optimal modularity, providing a new benchmark for brake pedal feel, lap after lap. The stability of the 600LT under heavy braking is further enhanced by the greater downforce and new rear suspension geometry.

The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system functions separately from the Powertrain and Handing modes, the ‘ESC On’, ‘ESC Dynamic’ and ‘ESC Off’ settings offering a 600LT driver complete control over the level of intervention. The system has been recalibrated to work with the higher grip levels of the Pirelli P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres and the ‘ESC Dynamic’ setting is also more liberal than other Sports Series. The ESC system is complemented by Brake Steer, a technology originally developed for Formula 1 but banned due to the performance advantage over rivals that it offered McLaren. The system eschews a heavy limited slip differential that can induce understeer and instead imperceptibly brakes the inside rear wheel. Recalibrated for the 600LT, the technology delivers enhanced vehicle turn-in, reduced understeer and improved agility, all of which allow a driver to apply the throttle earlier.

The levels of engagement are truly characteristic of a McLaren ‘Longtail’, giving a driver the confidence to first explore and then exploit the increased dynamic abilities of the 600LT. The formula that made the McLaren 675LT so engaging has been enhanced, while at the same time the agile handling abilities of the Sports Series have not only been retained but dramatically revised upwards.

A McLaren Track Telemetry (MTT) app – accessible through the seven-inch IRIS touchscreen – records lap and sector times together with additional vehicle information. The track data display allows a driver to map any circuit using GPS, after which sectors are automatically defined and displayed in red or green, together with split times. A best lap time can be used as a reference, and two laps can be compared using gathered data, examining for example vehicle speed at a precise corner apex. MTT can be optioned with three track cameras and the video footage be download to a USB drive, a solution that the Pure McLaren Driving Experience uses to help evaluate and improve drivers.

Exterior colours, interior themes and opportunities for further personalisation and weight reduction from McLaren Special Operations (MSO)

The McLaren 600LT is available in a choice of 14 paint colours, with an additional 14 MSO Defined hues offered by McLaren Special Operations. Beyond this, an MSO Bespoke Commission opens up the opportunity of literally almost any colour.

To provide inspiration to the 600LT customer, the McLaren design department has created six bespoke ‘By McLaren’ colour themes. Each uses one of three exterior paint colours new and exclusive to the McLaren 600LT – Chicane Effect, Myan Orange and Luminaire – paired with a complementary brake caliper colour. Three of the six interior designs primarily feature lightweight Alcantara® and three luxurious Nappa leather. The three Alcantara® themed interiors feature bold colour schemes and lightweight coverings to the seat bolsters and cushions, centre tunnel and facia, headlining and steering wheel. The three Nappa leather themed interiors feature less vibrant, more classical colours with a different pattern and breakup. Each ‘By McLaren’ interior can be specified as recommended by McLaren Design, or used by customers to inspire their own further personalisation.

A McLaren 600LT customer has the option of specifying Nappa leather as a cost option, replacing the Alcantara® used on the Racing Seats and throughout the interior. Further interior tailoring available includes a 12 o’clock mark for the steering wheel, with lightweight carbon fibre – in a visual satin finish – for the steering wheel spokes, Active Dynamics Panel, transmission tunnel and door trims. A Bowers & Wilkins 12-speaker premium audio system is available as a cost option.

Owners intending to spend time on a track or who want to visually enhance their car while also saving weight over the standard specification, can option the MSO Clubsport Pack from McLaren Special Operations. Exterior enhancements in the pack comprise Carbon Fibre Roof and Cantrails; Carbon Fibre Flying Buttresses; Carbon Fibre Front Fender Louvres; and Titanium Wheel Bolts. Inside the car, Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing Seats from the McLaren Senna feature together with a carbon fibre interior upgrade pack of extended gearshift paddles and steering wheel spokes and switch and IRIS display surrounds, all in the lightweight materials. The MSO Clubsport Pack, which reduces weight by 9.3kg in total, is available at point of order for £24,170.

For more serious track users, the MSO Clubsport Pro Pack additionally includes an MSO Defined Harness Bar and 6-Point harnesses – in either black, blue, red or McLaren Orange. It is priced at £28,480. A three-camera recording system for the McLaren Track Telemetry (MTT) app is also part of the MSO Clubsport Pro Pack.

Production of the 600LT Coupé began in October 2018 and will last for around 12 months, with build slots scheduled around existing Sports and Super Series models, as well as the sell-out Senna, Senna GTR and BP23. Availability will be strictly limited, the carbon fibre body panels that require specialist tooling just one of the reasons that the new ‘Longtail’ will be rarer than other Sports Series models.

The McLaren ‘Longtail’ lineage

The unveiling of the McLaren 600LT opens the next chapter in the story of the McLaren ‘Longtail’, while the LT ethos further enhances the supercar performance, technology and construction that the Sports Series uniquely offers in the sportscar segment. With increased power, reduced weight, optimised aerodynamics, absolute driver engagement, track-focused dynamics and limited availability, the 600LT is a true McLaren ‘Longtail’ and the next extreme member of a truly special and rare family.

The dramatic ‘Longtail’ iteration of the McLaren F1 GTR made its debut during the 1997 season, the distinctive stretched silhouette earning it the now-iconic name. Only nine examples and the development prototype were built. In addition to the elongated bodywork that reduced drag and increased downforce, there were further developments beneath the stretched skin, including fully adjustable suspension and a sequential transmission.

Optimised through extensive weight-saving measures, the McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ was more than 100kg lighter than the already flyweight, 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning, McLaren F1 GTR and became one of the most illustrious GT race cars of its time. The McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ took victory in five of the 11 rounds of the 1997 FIA GT Championship and finished first and second in the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The nearest GT1 opposition was almost 30 laps behind.

McLaren Automotive revived the legendary ‘Longtail’ name at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show, with the launch of the 675LT Coupé. Weight was minimised and aerodynamics were optimised, in parallel with power and driver engagement increasing. The track-focused dynamics were proudly obvious and only a limited number were available. True to the spirit of its ‘Longtail’ predecessor and the traits inherent to a car wearing the LT badge, the 675LT Coupé was at the time of launch acknowledged as the purest, most involving series-production McLaren supercar to date.

Responding to customer demand after the production run of Coupés rapidly sold out, McLaren created the McLaren 675LT Spider. The most focused, fastest and exhilarating open-top model to ever wear a McLaren badge, all 500 examples were sold within two weeks.

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