There’s still one true king among McLarens in a drag race

If you had a choice between two McLarens to go toe-to-toe in a drag race, the obvious candidates are clear. The McLaren P1 and the McLaren Senna are two of the most powerful cars in the British automaker’s portfolio and the question on which of the two is faster on a drag strip has been asked by a lot of people.

McLaren hasn’t given the people what they want, but that’s all moot now. Here’s a video of the two McLarens finally coming together for a nice ol’ drag race, and the results are pretty surprising, to say the least.

Before we get into who won this race between the McLaren Senna and the McLaren P1, a tale of the tape is in order.

The McLaren P1, believe it or not, is seven years old.

It feels like it only arrived a few years ago, but it’s actually three years away from being a decade old. Still, the P1 holds the high ground against the Senna in a lot of categories, including power and overall performance. For those who don’t remember, McLaren’s hybrid hypercar is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 that works in concert with an electric motor to produce 903 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. It’s capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and 0 to 124 mph in 6.8 seconds before maxing out at a top speed of 217 mph.

The McLaren Senna, on the other hand, is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that produces 789 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. It doesn’t come with an electric motor but the absence of one, together with its lightweight construction, means that it’s significantly lighter than the P1. All told, the Senna weighs just 2,641 pounds while the P1 is almost 400 pounds heavier at 3,075 pounds. Just as the P1 is more powerful, the Senna is lighter, and that contributes significantly to the latter’s ability to also sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and from 0 to 124 mph in 6.8 seconds. Yes, according to McLaren, the two-year-old Senna has the same performance splits as the seven-year-old Senna. Take that for data.


Now, let’s go to the actual race, or races as there were actually two bouts between the two McLarens.

The first race, unfortunately, doesn’t show both cars starting at the same time — comments from those who were supposedly in attendance say that the P1 jumped the gun and that contributed to it winning the race. So, the two cars raced again and the presumably fairer start between the two yielded the same result. The seven-year-old McLaren P1 remains faster than the two-year-old Senna, despite the latter being more modern and weighing almost 400 pounds less than its hybrid hypercar brother.

Perhaps the Senna’s track-focused aerodynamics had something to do with the results, too? Maybe it’s not built for a drag race the same way it’s built to blitz around a race track like it’s nobody’s business.

Either way, it’s a resounding victory for the P1, which probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. Just as it was seven years ago, the McLaren’s resident hybrid hypercar remains king of the mountain, at least as far as drag races are concerned.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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