Introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show , the McLaren 650S took center stage as a replacement for the aging, yet still enticing, MP4-12C . Available in both coupe and roadster guises, the sports car rolled off the assembly line with the proven, twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 behind its seats. Motivated by no less than 640 horses and 500 pound-feet of twist, the 650S quickly became the fastest vehicle in its segment, outgunning sports cars wearing both Ferrari and Lamborghini badges. Coming into 2015, the Brits are knighting the 650S a full-time race car by means of a GT3 iteration for the Blancplain Endurance Series and a Sprint racer. Essentially a successor to the 12C GT Sprint, the 650S Sprint is also a track-only model.
The race-ready sports car comes to bridge the gap between the road-going 650S and the endurance-spec GT3 by appealing to amateur motorsport enthusiasts that spend their weekends at the track. Blending technology from both, the 650S Sprint offers the plain looks of the street-legal car spiced up by racing upgrades and a FIA-approved interior. The 650S family just grew larger and we took a deep dive into McLaren’s brand-new racer. Read on to find out more about this spectacular, track-confined beast.
Updated 09/17/2014: The new McLaren 650S Sprint will make its global competitive premiere this weekend at the penultimate round of the GT Cup race at Donington Park, UK. It will be driven by McLaren GT factory driver Rob Bell, joined by German-based journalist Dale Lomas.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 McLaren 650S Sprint.
The wings seem to come from the GT3 as well, at least judging by the additional louvers added to optimize airflow over and around the sleek body.
Unlike the GT3 race car, the 650S Sprint doesn’t stray too far from the production car as far as styling goes. Up front, the Sprint is pretty much standard 650S, save for the bonnet and the center piece of the bumper. The hood is similar to that of the 650S GT3, meaning it carries additional vents and integrated radiator exit ducts. The wings seem to come from the GT3 as well, at least judging by the additional louvers added to optimize airflow over and around the sleek body. As far as the bumper is concerned, the production model’s plain, black-painted center piece has been replaced with a race-spec, three-piece inlet to further enhance cooling. The splitter and the main air intakes remained unaltered.
Around back, the biggest change is the addition of a large, fixed wing, which replaces the standard mobile device seen on the 650S. Gone is the regular diffuser too, now replaced by a redesigned, race-spec unit. Although its is far from being the aggressive piece fitted on the GT3, the new diffuser accounts for significant aerodynamic improvements on the track. From the side, the 650S Sprint showcases no extreme additions. A competition fuel cap replaces the standard cover, while the regular wheels have made way for a set of lightweight, multi-spoke rims. The center-locking wheels measure 19 inches and come wrapped in Pirelli slick or wet tires.
Lastly, the McLaren 650S Sprint is dressed in a white racing livery with orange and black accents. The suit is actually the inverted color scheme of the 650S GT3 showcased at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed and includes the same gorgeous Tarocco Orange hue seen on the race car. This livery is exclusive to the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and it’s not what customers will be getting.
The Sprint’s options list includes a carbon-fiber rear wing and front splitter for buyers looking to shave more weight off the car.
As expected, the cabin features an FIA-approved rollcage and a carbon-fiber racing seat with a six-point harness.
The cockpit is where the Sprint takes on a different route. Compared to the road-going 650S, the Sprint takes on the track with a stripped out interior. McLaren’s racing division got rid of all the unnecessary parts mounted atop the carbon-fiber MonoCell chassis and focused on minimizing weight while optimizing driver safety and comfort. As expected, the cabin features an FIA-approved rollcage and a carbon-fiber racing seat with a six-point harness. Just like the GT3, the Sprint comes with an integrated fire extinguisher system. The 650S’ standard air-conditioning system is the only convenience feature retained in the track-prepped sports car, a compromise made possible by the stripped out cabin.
Although the 650S Sprint is sold with only a driver seat, customers can add a passenger seat with the same six-point harness by checking a box on the options list. A polycarbonate windscreen is also available instead of the regular windshield.
Also, the front radiator is borrowed from the 650S GT3 race car for optimized cooling.
McLaren says the 650S Sprint retains the same powerplant motivating the production 650S. Although no official numbers are given, we can only assume the twin-turbo, 3.8-liter V-8 benefits from the same 640 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. While the unit enables the road-going 650S to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, the 650S Sprint’s reduced overall weight and updated internals should shave a few tenths of a second off the said benchmark. Expect the track-only sports car to roar to 60 mph in about 2.7 seconds while retaining the 207-mph top speed that comes with the standard coupe.
Setting the 3.8-liter V-8 and its seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission apart from the regular units is a unique calibration that enhances on-track performance and driver engagement. Also, the front radiator is borrowed from the 650S GT3 race car for optimized cooling. The 650S Sprint needs to breath better during those long track stints, and the new radiator and GT3-style front hood with integrated radiator ducts come to enable the sports car to do just that.
|Engine||3.8-Liter Turbo V-8|
|Output||640 HP @ 7,250 RPM|
|Torque||500 LB-FT @ 6,000 RPM|
|0-100 KM/H (62 MPH)||3.0 Sec.|
|Top Speed||207 MPH|
Suspension and Brakes
Besides having a lower ride height and sitting on race-spec wheels and tires, the 650S Sprint also features recalibrated adaptive damping for revised spring rates. Stopping power is provided by a race-prepared braking system specifically developed for the 650S Sprint that work’s with the road car’s Brake Steer system. The combo allows for later braking into corners and improved brake feel, which ultimately translates into greater cornering speeds and improved lap times.
Pricing for the 650S Sprint starts at £198,000 ($332,309 as of 08/11/2014) before options. Extras include an aerodynamic package including carbon-fiber rear wing and front splitter, a passenger seat with six-point harness, and a polycarbonate windscreen, but pricing for these items has yet to be announced. The Brits say the 650S Sprint is available from all official McLaren retailers worldwide, but there’s no word on actual pricing for the United States. We’ll be right back as soon as we get our hands on it.
Just like the McLaren 650S was developed to take on the likes of the Ferrari 458 Speciale, the 650S Sprint is the perfect competitor for the 458 Challenge Evoluzione. Although these sports cars aren’t likely to race together, the Challenge is sold through a similar program. The only difference is that the Italian racer gets to compete in a one-make series with their customers behind the steering wheel.
Developed as a race-ready evolution to the standard 458 Challenge, the Challenge Evoluzione bridges the gap between the former and the company’s GT2 cars, which are eligible for the LM GTE class. The race car features the same 4.5-liter, V-8 engine fitted in the rest of the 458 family with 562 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque on tap. Setting it apart from the regular Challenge is an aerodynamic body kit that includes a fixed rear wing and a new splitter.
The updates not only improve its lap times, but help with fuel efficiency as well. The Challenge Evoluzione is significantly lighter than its road-legal counterpart, thanks to a stripped out interior, and extensive use of carbon-fiber and other lightweight materials.
Gallery Ferrari 458 Challenge Evoluzione
When I first heard McLaren is working on a track-only version of the P1 — now confirmed as the P1 GTR — I had a hunch the Brits are taking the Ferrari route with an extensive customer racing program. Well, it turns out I was right as each P1 GTR comes with a full racing program that includes private consultations with the McLaren team, access to the company’s state-of-the-art racing simulators, and at least six driving event on Formula One tracks.
Woking further confirmed its purposed intentions by rolling out the 650S GT3, which means the new sports car is off to a full racing campaign. A Le Mans comeback with a similar iteration is in the books as well. With the 650S Sprint, McLaren has taken yet another step toward making a name for itself as a motorsport-focused manufacturer of the 21st century. A tad more expensive than the street-legal model and definitely cheaper when compared to the GT3, the 650S Sprint will lure in even more race enthusiasts looking to have some weekend track fun with a properly-equipped sports car.
- Track-focused interior and powertrain
- Tweaked suspension and braking
- Relatively affordable for a race car
- Still expensive for the majority
- Full customer program not confirmed yet
- Air-conditioning should’ve been an option
Gallery McLaren 650S Sprint
McLaren GT has today confirmed that it will premiere its latest model at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, with the wraps set to come off the track-only 650S Sprint. The stripped-out racer will make its global debut alongside a number of other models from McLaren Automotive, and completes the brand’s display with four global debuts planned for the Californian event, including the McLaren P1™ GTR.
Based on the recently launched McLaren 650S Coupe, the track-focused 650S Sprint is fitted with developments to the Brake Steer system, even more refined active aerodynamics and a race set-up for the ProActive Chassis Control (PCC). These upgrades deliver a more engaging GT racing experience, without losing any of the refinement and balance found in the road car.
As with the 650S, the aerodynamically optimised design of the 650S Sprint offers increased levels of downforce, and the revised air intakes carried across from the road car allow for optimised cooling of the 3.8-litre twin-turbo M838T engine. In the 650S Sprint, the proven powerplant is retained from the 650S roadcar, with a unique engine and transmission calibration to further enhance on-track drivability and driver engagement.
The cabin is fully track-focused and stripped out to minimise weight, but with no compromise to driver safety or comfort. Built around the lightweight and inherently strong carbon fibre MonoCell chassis, the interior also features an FIA-approved rollcage to further cocoon the driver. A lightweight carbon fibre HANS-approved racing seat, with full six-point harness, offers an optimised driving position, while an air-conditioning system is retained adding comfort. An integrated fire extinguisher system is also installed.
McLaren GT recently announced the 650S GT3 race car, which will be seen on the grid from next season, and the 650S Sprint shares a number of design features with its bigger brother. A larger motorsport fuel ‘bag’ tank with quick-fill connectors is added, as is optimised cooling through the larger GT3-developed front radiator with a GT3-inspired bonnet integrating radiator exit ducts, and the addition of front wings louvres to further optimise airflow over, and around, the bodywork.
The first example of the 650S Sprint is shown with a new striking livery, in an inverted colour scheme of the 650S GT3 car shown at Goodwood Festival of Speed. Finished primarily in white, the design also features the new Tarocco Orange finish seen on the GT3, with subtle black and white detailing throughout.
The 650S Sprint has a lower ride height with recalibrated adaptive damping for revised spring rates, and sits on 19-inch centre-locking racing wheels, fitted with Pirelli slick or wet tyres, while an onboard air jacking system enables quick tyre changes. Stopping power is also enhanced and provided by a race-prepared braking system developed for the 650S Sprint. This system combines with the road car’s highly effective Brake Steer system and enhanced active aerodynamics to offer superior braking performance. This allows for later braking into corners, but also improved brake feel and greater cornering speeds.
A range of further options and upgrades are available including a CFD (computational fluid dynamics) developed aerodynamic package including carbon fibre rear wing and front splitter, a passenger seat with six-point harness, and further lightweight components including a polycarbonate windscreen.
The 650S Sprint will be priced at £198,000*, and available from all official McLaren retailers worldwide or direct from McLaren GT. Visit retailers.mclaren.com to locate your nearest retailer.