Add a mini supercar to your fleet. Just don’t step on it.
The McLaren 765LT is your new diet Senna at 2710 pounds
This is the 765LT, a McLaren based on the 720S that’s designed to make customers put the memory of the 675LT behind and start imagining how fast they could drive a 754-horsepower supercar weighing just about 2710 pounds. The answer of course is very, very fast indeed, because this is a 205-mph automobile fine-tuned by Kenny Bräck. And in case you aren’t familiar with the Indy 500-winning Swede known as Kenny, here’s all you need to catch up.
With that in mind, before assuming McLaren just phoned this one in and simply followed its same-old upgrade recipe, I can name two reasons why the 765LT was harder to pull off than the 600LT, which is based on the 570S. First, the entry-level McLaren Sports Series (such as the 570S) is great to drive on the road, but as a result, wasn’t tuned for the track in terms of its brakes and suspension tuning. Making it more hardcore was, therefore, a fairly straightforward affair.
The standard 720S, from McLaren’s Super Series, is a different animal. It’s already the lightest thing in its class, it’s already quicker on the limit than the numbers would suggest, and it comes with McLaren’s trick hydraulic suspension and active aero as standard. So, where did Woking find a total of 176 pounds to cut from this package, plus all the extra performance that promises? That comes down to the details, just as you’d expect from experienced racing engineers. And considering all the new parts, the usual price hike of around 25 percent isn’t unjustified, even though McLaren is making 765 of these cars (which is a little less limited than usual). You know a Spider version will follow, too.
When I call this a diet Senna, I say that because the 765LT comes with a bunch of Senna parts. These include the (optional) carbon-ceramic brake rotors, calipers and racing pads, the integrated caliper cooling, the forged pistons, head gasket, and the Senna’s super lightweight seats. Instead of aluminum panels here and there, the 765LT also uses the same fancy prepreg (pre-impregnated) carbon fiber for its fenders, hood and door outer panels, as well, albeit as an option.
This is the first McLaren to be fitted with carbon-fiber body components coming from MCTC (McLaren Composites Technology Centre) in Sheffield, and that new factory came up with fresh methods to make carbon parts thinner where they can be, without sacrificing strength. Add the usual combination of lightweight forged wheels with titanium bolts, thinner glass and motorsport-style polycarbonate glazing, and a titanium exhaust with a (reasonable) cabin audio system delete to the picture, and you understand why the 765LT has to make do without the 720S’ usual floor carpets, among other things.
Weighing 40 percent less than a steel system and cutting 8.37 pounds as a result, that free-flowing quad-exit titanium exhaust is a party piece. It may not shoot its flames upwards like you’d see in a 600LT, but this special piece of kit will remind you of the pipes on the 1995 McLaren F1 GTR.
There are quite a few changes in the flat-plane crank twin-turbo V-8 department as well. On top of the forged aluminum pistons, the 765LT’s 4.0-liter also got the Senna’s three-layer head gasket and carbon-coated followers in the valvetrain. Fuel and oil pumps work harder, and once the V-8 pushes out its peak torque of 590 lb-ft at 5500 rpm, the punch is well received by the seven-speed DCT.
McLaren went for “Formula 1-grade” metals in the transmission, as well as partly shorter gearing for 15 percent quicker in-gear acceleration. This beefier setup means that for the first time in this class, the gearbox will allow you to downshift even if you over-rev that twin-turbo. It also translates to a 0-62 mph run in 2.8 seconds, a 0-124 in 7.2, and a quarter-mile in the nines.
Once you’re done with straight lines and a tough corner is ahead, you’ll be happy to remember that gone are the dual-rate springs of the 720S, replaced by single ones at a higher rate, accompanied by stiffer shocks. Front track is also 0.23-inches wider, with ride height at the front lowered, and Pirelli’s Trofeo R tires heating up on 10-spoke, ultra-light forged alloys. There’s even a metal membrane in the PCC II (the proactive electro-hydraulic chassis control system) which makes this suspension even stiffer than the hardcore system in the outgoing 675LT, or in the already dialed-up 720S.
The LT badge is more of a performance and exclusivity indicator than anything to do with real dimensions or 1997’s F1 GTR Long Tail. That’s why it’s not surprising that this long-tail is actually more of a long-nose. While the active rear wing only grew 0.39-inches to comply with regulations, the front splitter is a noticeable 1.57-inches longer. Look out for those steep driveways.
As you’re overloaded with all the additional carbon-fiber aero elements like the side skirts or that massive rear diffuser optimizing the airflow, you may not even notice that the “eyes” of the 765LT are actually lower cut than on the 720S. The C-pillars are also made of polycarbonate, and there’s a laser-cut mesh at the rear for extra ventilation, while the engine is a lot more visible than on a standard 720S.
McLaren will offer an optional MSO half-cage, carbon-fiber and brake upgrades, any color you wish, and a no-cost lightweight audio system. Deliveries starting this September. With 765 of these 205-mph track specials planned for production, there are pre-set color combinations if you can’t be bothered to deal with all the choices.
By the time we get to the next Super Series generation, we may be looking at V-6 hybrids instead of a 4.0-liter V-8 devouring fuel all day long. In the meantime, Woking says this version will lap the Nardo circuit around 2.5 seconds faster than a 720S. Knowing McLaren, that means it’s at least 2.6 seconds faster on a cool day. And with that no-cost A/C delete option ticked, you’ll prefer a cool day.