RACING

The McLaren Solus GT is the ultimate billionaire toy with a jet fighter cockpit

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We cover a lot of ultra-limited unobtanium supercars here at The reader because, well, the supercar makers of the world keep building them. But I really don’t remember a car as hardcore and impressive as the McLaren Solus GT. In short, it’s a single-seater V10 track special that makes the Senna look like a pedestrian.

It was modeled after the company’s Vision Gran Turismo video game car which was designed and engineered with no road or racing restrictions in mind. Much like that virtual machine, the Solus GT is a track-only affair. Its fantasy roots also mean it has a single center seat accessed via an extremely cool fighter jet style canopy that slides forward to open.

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Like something you’d see blasted around Le Mans, the wheels are covered in aero pods while the carbon control arm fairings are exposed and, of course, shaped in an aerodynamically beneficial way. Inside those carbon fairings are double wishbones with inboard torsion bar damping—push rods up front, pull rods out back.

A Formula 1 halo style cockpit protector is made of 3D printed titanium and incorporates a rear view screen. There are radiators in the side pods, while an integrated air scoop in the roll bar cover would create induction noise and keep the engine cool.

And about this engine. For the first time since, like forever, McLaren has avoided the twin-turbo V8. Instead, the Solus GT is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 that, get it, revs to 10,000 rpm. Producing “more than” 829 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, McLaren describes this engine as “unique”, and a company spokesperson told me it was co-developed with Judd Power. You may or may not know this name for the firm’s truly amazing-sounding F1 and endurance racing engines.

In addition, the powertrain is a load-bearing part of the chassis, a first for a series “production” McLaren car. Of course, it’s built on a unique carbon-fiber monocoque that helps the whole car weigh less than 2,205 pounds (about 200 pounds less than the current Mazda MX-5).

The result of strapping a big, stinky V10 to a car that weighs so little is zero to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 mph. In terms of lap times, McLaren says it’s the most capable car it’s made outside of single-seater drivers, and that its drive is “close to the engagement and feel of driving a Formula One car. 1”.

A seven-speed sequential transmission with straight-cut gears, carbon fiber multi-plate clutch, custom molding and custom crankcase was fitted behind the engine and is attached to the rear suspension parts.

Six-piston monobloc brake calipers with carbon fiber pads and rotors take care of deceleration, and front-to-rear brake bias can be adjusted on the fly by the driver. The 18-inch center-lock forged aluminum wheels are wrapped in “Le Mans Prototype-spec” tires. McLaren says both slick and wet compounds are available.

Thanks to extensive aerodynamic work, the main one including a fixed two-piece rear wing, the Solus GT can create over 2,645 pounds of downforce, or at least 440 pounds more than it weighs.

Buyers will receive a full racing driver experience including a fixed seat molded to their body shape, radio compatible ear inserts, FIA homologated custom racing suit, helmet, HANS device, racing-inspired steering wheel F1 new and unique to this car, as well as a driving coaching program.

As well as being able to configure their Solus GT to their liking aesthetically, buyers will also be able to participate in prototypes which McLaren says “may influence the driving characteristics of the car prior to production”. That means every Solus GT built could very well drive differently depending on its owner’s preference, skill level and driving style.

Not that there are many. McLaren only builds 25 of them and, bad news, they are all sold. The 25 lucky Solus GT buyers can expect the first deliveries to take place in 2023.

Do you have a tip or a question for the author on the McLaren Solus GT? You can reach him here: chris.tsui@thedrive.com

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