Words: Calvin Chan
Published: March 3, 2020
Longtails don't come often but when they do, they are bound to be something spectacular. Like the 675LT and 600LT that came before it, the 720S now receives that special McLaren treatment. Enter the new 765LT.
With the help of forged aluminum pistons, a three-layer head gasket from the McLaren Senna, and an additional fuel pump, the newest Longtail and its reworked 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with a flat-plane crankshaft and dry sump lubrication, produces 755 hp (765 PS) and 590 lb-ft of torque through a 7-speed automatic gearbox. 0-100 km/h comes in 2.8 seconds, just one-tenths slower than the recently unveiled Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe, though I have my money on the McLaren actually being faster around a track. The steering has been revised to be quicker, the gearbox has been optimized for faster shifts, standard carbon ceramic brakes ensure more stopping power, sticky Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires come as standard fare, and thanks to all the added aero, McLaren says the 765LT produces 25% more downforce than the 720S. It also weighs 80 kg less, front ride height has been reduced, the front track has been widened by 6 mm, and the entire Proactive Chassis Control II suspension has been reworked for a better and stiffer feel - lessons they have learned from creating the McLaren Senna and Speedtail.
Everything else has been tinkered with, including the entire body kit, a larger hydraulically-operated rear spoiler, and in typical Longtail fashion, new and lighter titanium exhausts. Here, there are four tips arranged in a row, and look absolutely stunning. And yes, they will spit flames. Inside the 765LT, you will find carbon fibre racing seats, an exposed floor, and a liberal use of Alcantara. The air conditioning and audio system are deleted by default but owners can option them back in at no extra cost.
These 765LTs will be limited with only, you guessed it, 765 examples being produced for the global market. We have yet to receive pricing, but deliveries are expected to begin in September 2020.
Full press release attached below.
Lighter, more powerful and with even higher levels of performance on both road and track, the McLaren 765LT is today revealed as the latest in a line of ‘Longtail’ McLarens and the most dynamically advanced and engaging LT model ever from McLaren Automotive.
The 765LT opens a new chapter in the ‘Longtail’ story that began with the McLaren F1 GTR race car in the 1990s and since 2015 has seen road-legal LT models introduced. The new car elevates to new levels the attributes that underpin every LT: driver engagement, track-focused dynamics, minimised weight, optimised aerodynamics and increased power are all amplified – particularly the first two. The LT promise of being ‘limited to the few’ is also fulfilled, with just 765 individually numbered cars available globally for customer order.
Advanced carbon fibre technologies and bespoke carbon fibre LT body panels and aerodynamic features are key to an 80kg (DIN) weight reduction over the 720S. Together with power of 765PS and torque of 800Nm from the 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged McLaren V8 engine, transmission gearing optimised for scintillating in-gear acceleration and LT-specific suspension springs and dampers, this is the basis for the wholly immersive driving experience the new 765LT delivers.
The highest levels of driver engagement
The dynamic ability and precision of the 765LT on both road and track is simply outstanding, taking circuit performance to new heights and making every road drive a joy. Driver satisfaction is guaranteed by extraordinary levels of engagement between driver and car, the result of absolute focus on delivering unparalleled feedback and connection.
The renowned McLaren Super Series chassis dynamics have been further enhanced in the 765LT, to provide the ‘communication and feel’ that allow a driver to fully exploit the extreme performance of the car when appropriate, but also enjoy it at lower speeds. The steering of the 765LT retains McLaren’s distinguished electro-hydraulic assistance but has been further honed with a quicker ratio and a stiffer torsion bar for even purer driver feedback. The state-of-the-art, linked-hydraulic Proactive Chassis Control II suspension introduced with the 720S features updates to both software and hardware to meet the dynamic requirements of the 765LT; advances made during the development of the McLaren Senna and Speedtail have seen the suspension system algorithms revised to ensure even greater precision and control.
In comparison to the 720S, front ride height is reduced by 5mm (rear is unchanged) and front track is 6mm wider, changes that together improve both grip and balance. New lightweight main springs feature additional ‘helper’ springs to reduce unsprung mass and maintain load in the suspension on full rebound, while the use of two springs saves weight in comparison with one larger dual-rate spring. Roll stiffness is increased, further enhancing vehicle stability.
The aerodynamic performance of the 765LT is key to the abilities of the car on track, but also influences higher-speed road driving behaviours. The extended front splitter and elongated active rear wing work in conjunction with the carbon fibre floor, unique door blades and the extended rear diffuser to deliver aerodynamic downforce 25% greater than that available to a 720S driver, adding a further dimension to already excellent aerodynamic performance.
The new, high-set static position of the ‘Longtail’ active rear wing aids powertrain cooling by drawing hot air out of the engine bay as well as increasing downforce, while the airbrake functionality reduces dive sensitivity under heavy braking. This allows the front springs to be softer than would be required if they were solely responsible for maintaining the front ride height, which in turn enables improved front axle compliance characteristics, to the benefit on-road driving.
The hydraulically actuated rear wing has three main operational positions, with deployment settings bespoke to the 765LT:
The increased surface area and new static position of the wing – 60mm higher than on a 720S coupé – ensure additional downforce is created even with the wing fully retracted. The increased performance of the rear wing and aerodynamic performance overall is particularly showcased on high-speed, high-downforce circuits where greater rear aero bias is beneficial.
Gearbox and suspension characteristics are adjustable through Comfort, Sport and Track modes settings using the Powertrain and Handling settings within McLaren’s trademark Active Dynamics Panel. A new ‘limit downshift’ transmission function is introduced on the 765LT. Previously, a downshift would be refused by McLaren’s 7-speed Sequential Shift Gearbox if the resulting change would over-rev the engine; on the new LT, the transmission software will acknowledge the downshift request and change gears accordingly when the engine speed and road speed can be harmonised. This feature is designed to give a driver greater freedom on when to select gear changes as well as creating audible drama inside and outside the car by allowing the engine revs to ‘bounce’ momentarily on the rev-limiter before the next gear engages.
Braking performance is immense. Latest-generation carbon-ceramic discs, together with calipers from the McLaren Senna provide precise pedal feel and astonishing stopping power. Formula 1-inspired integrated caliper cooling – a technology introduced with 765LT – delivers cooling air to the front calipers and discs, reducing brake pad temperatures by up 50 degrees during track driving and ensuring that both consistency of pedal feel and outright braking performance remain impeccable.
765LT buyers planning extensive circuit driving can specify a track brake upgrade that comprises the carbon ceramic discs fitted to the McLaren Senna and bespoke LT brake pads. Some 60% stronger than conventional carbon ceramic discs and with four times the thermal conductivity – and therefore heat management – the upgraded brake discs reduce brake fade and wear rates.
A new 10-spoke Ultra-Lightweight forged alloy wheel has been created for the 765LT. Together with titanium wheel bolts and bespoke Pirelli P Zero™ Trofeo R tyres, the wheels – which are standard specification – enable a weight saving totalling 22kg over the standard 720S wheel and tyres, further benefiting dynamic performance.
The Pirelli tyres developed for the 765LT play a significant role in both ultimate grip and steering feedback. Engineers from McLaren and Pirelli worked closely together to ensure the bespoke tread and construction of the tyres heighten the sensations reaching the driver’s fingertips, as well as operating in conjunction with the revised chassis dynamics and increased performance to help enable the fastest lap times of any McLaren Super Series car.
LT power and performance taken to another level
The performance of the 765LT more than lives up to the expectations set by its looks. The engineering philosophies that underpin the car have their roots in the first-ever LT, the McLaren F1 GTR ‘Longtail’ race car, but push onwards in the 765LT well beyond the credentials developed with the previous road-legal modern-day models.
The new 765LT is the most powerful and responsive road-legal McLaren LT to date. A 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 McLaren M840T engine – which has a flat-plane crankshaft and dry sump lubrication, together with ultra-low inertia twin-scroll turbochargers and electronically controlled wastegates – features LT-specific forged aluminium pistons, a three-layer head gasket used in the McLaren Senna and ultra-efficient, carbon-coated followers in the valve train. An additional fuel pump and revised oil pump optimise flows and a recalibrated engine management system controls the increased power, with torque delivery and throttle response tuned for maximum driver engagement. Peak power is 765PS (755bhp) at 7,500rpm and maximum torque 800Nm (590lb ft) at 5,500rpm.
Transmission gearing is optimised for acceleration, delivering virtually instant response to throttle inputs and in-gear acceleration up to 15% quicker than the class-benchmark 720S, itself a remarkable car in this respect. The extraordinary performance of the 765LT is summarised by its benchmark acceleration statistics: 0-100km/h (62mph) in 2.8 seconds (0-60mph in 2.7 seconds) and 0-200km/h (124mph) in 7.2 seconds.
Stiffer engine mounts are used not only to meet dynamic performance targets, but also to increase the physical and emotive engagement with the V8 powertrain by transferring and radiating the engine’s low-frequency sounds into the cabin. Every change in rpm is amplified, not only to occupants’ ears but also as a feeling through the seats because low-frequency sounds can be both heard and felt.
The highly intense, emotional connection is further enhanced through the unique full-titanium, quad-exit exhaust. The ‘LT soundtrack’ the 765LT produces is not merely the result of the material choice, but also the design, diameter, angle and spacing of the four, centrally mounted round exhaust pipes. The pipe diameter increases the exhaust volume, while the relative position of each pipe to the others delivers the precise harmonic content required to create a high-pitched, engaging note that becomes sharper as it builds to an incredible crescendo at high engine revs.
Tightly packaged and engineered to reduce weight, the exhaust system has no tailpipe finishers to add weight. Depending on where the vehicle is sold, two titanium valves are additional to the titanium exhaust pipes; standard-fit under EU legislation, this arrangement enables a quieter exhaust note at lower engine speeds, or a more engaging tone and sound at higher revs.
Absolute focus on reducing weight
The lightweight design and engineering philosophy that McLaren pursues in all its cars is even more important in an LT model. Reducing vehicle weight lessens inertia while amplifying acceleration, braking and steering inputs, a recipe that creates a car that reacts immediately to every ‘request’ from a driver’s hands and feet. Driven by a determination to minimise weight at every opportunity, McLaren engineers achieved an 80kg (DIN) saving over the superlight 720S coupé, itself a leader in power-to-weight comparison with direct competitors. At 622PS per tonne at lightest dry weight, the 765LT redefines the class, bettering rivals by more than 50PS per tonne.
The reduction in weight has been achieved through extensive use of carbon fibre – a material in which McLaren has renowned expertise – in body panels and components, as well as by optimisation of powertrain and chassis parts and deletion of comfort and convenience features (although these can in most cases be specified if preferred, at no additional cost).
The changes start at the very front of the 765LT, where the most everyday of items has been re-evaluated in the relentless pursuit of saving weight: the licence plate holder is carbon fibre. The elongated front splitter, new front bumper, front floor, side skirts, rear bumper, rear wing and lengthened rear diffuser are also constructed in carbon fibre – and all bespoke to the 765LT. The bonnet, front fenders, doors and rear fenders – lightweight aluminium as standard – are optionally available in carbon fibre to further reduce weight. Several 765LT carbon fibre components, including the front floor and active rear wing, are produced at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in Yorkshire, UK.
Determination to minimise weight while improving component performance is evident throughout the car. The front floor, for example, is a one-piece carbon panel that is both lighter and stiffer and beyond the aerodynamic benefits generated by the revised underbody design, also reduces vehicle inertia. The pinion and crown wheel within the transmission final drive are formed from 20NiCh, a high-performance nickel chrome that is more commonly used within Formula 1 rather than road cars but provides the ideal balance of weight and specification for use in the 765LT’s transmission. Even the next-generation, lithium-ion battery is lightweight, saving 3.0kg over the battery fitted to the 720S.
The use of carbon fibre throughout the track-focused interior of the 765LT brings further weight-optimisation. The standard lightweight, carbon fibre-shelled racing seats are a combined 18kg lighter than the 720S sports seats. The bespoke lightweight central tunnel is of carbon composite material and has a panel thickness of just 0.8mm. Carbon fibre forms the window switch surrounds, steering wheel clasp and Active Dynamics Panel surround, limiting every possible gram. Customers wanting to further reduce weight can specify even more carbon fibre options from the MSO Defined range developed by McLaren Special Operations.
Carbon fibre isn’t the only light-weighting tactic deployed in the new LT. Lightweight Alcantara® trim is used extensively inside the cockpit of the car and there is no carpet on horizontal floor areas. Door stowage nets replace hinged door pockets and reach and rake adjustment on the steering wheel is manual. Air conditioning and an audio system are not fitted as standard, although both can be optioned at no additional cost.
For the first time on a modern-day McLaren LT, the thickness of the side window glass has been reduced. The windscreen is also thinner, and the glazed C-pillars and rear screen are formed from lightweight, motorsport-style polycarbonate. The upper sections of the dihedral doors feature lightweight carbon fibre panels. The 765LT also features a full-titanium exhaust system, which at just 10.9kg is 40% lighter than a comparable steel system, 3.8kg less than the exhaust of a 720S and even more weight-efficient than an Inconel exhaust.
Adopting every weight-saving measure available when specifying a 765LT results in a lightest dry weight of just 1,229kg. To reach this level, customers will need to include options such as the Super-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Racing Seats. Developed for the McLaren Senna and crafted in carbon fibre, the seats are constructed using an innovative double-skin shell technology that reduces weight by one-third in comparison with the same seat shell manufactured using conventional carbon fibre processes. Each seat shell weighs just 3.35kg.
As well as being the most powerful McLaren LT ever, the new 765LT is physically the most extreme. The front splitter sits closer to the ground because of a 5mm reduction in front ride height that increases vehicle rake to create more front downforce. The nose of the car has been lengthened by 48mm, both the front bumper and front splitter moving further forward. The new ‘Longtail’ active rear wing stretches rearwards by an additional 9mm, the two changes together adding 57mm to the overall length of the car.
The design of the rear of the 765LT is just as focused. Slightly longer, as befits an LT, the bodywork has less physical volume, increasing heat evacuation from the engine bay and reducing air pressure within the wheelarches. The reduction in pressure is achieved by pushing the rear bumper even closer into the engineering hard points, exposing the rear tyres.
Lengthened compared to a 720S wing – and with a surface area 20% greater – the 765LT rear wing sits proud of the rear deck, curving upwards towards the middle, rather than swooping downwards in line with the rear bodywork. The newly elevated static position increases downforce levels even when the wing isn’t deployed and with the new design having a minimal effect on drag, aero efficiency – the downforce-to-drag ratio – also increases by 20% over the 720S. A cut-out in the centre section of the wing both maintains rear visibility and ensures that high temperatures from the exhaust do not impact the wing when a vehicle is stationary after extended circuit running.
In addition to the front splitter’s functionality in cooling the Low Temperature Radiators (LTRs), the outer edges feature distinctive vertical blades. The outer surface of the blades guide airflow around the front wheels and calms the aero wake, working in conjunction with the airflow coming out of the LTR exit vents above. Upturned aero blades, which sit between the inner surface of the vertical blades and the front bumper, act as dive planes equivalent to the features on the McLaren 720S GT3 race car and track-only McLaren Senna GTR. Rather than being exposed, the blades have integrated into the area between the front splitter and front bumper, with air directed up and over them to create additional front downforce.
The door blade philosophy has its basis in the legendary McLaren P1™ and is used to great effect on the 720S. On the 765LT, the principle remains the same, but the door blade has been modified to integrate an additional vertical blade that extends from the skirt of the vehicle and controls turbulent air as it exits the front wheelarch, helping to guide it into the intakes ahead of the rear wheelarch. These intakes have also been expanded and pulled out from the bodysides, to capture additional airflow. Their purpose is to feed the lower section of the high-temperature radiators (HTRs), increasing the efficiency of the cooling system without the need for greater radiator capacity.
Motorsport-style polycarbonate rear glazing is another feature new to this generation of McLaren Super Series road cars. Lighter than glass, the material allows for a unique double curvature in the rear screen that dips down in the centre to aid airflow under the active rear wing and help drive cooling air over the exhausts. The glazed C-pillars and powertrain service cover are also in polycarbonate.
A unique optional feature on the 765LT allows for a double-glazed panel within the rear luggage shelf, exposing the top of the powertrain and bringing the engine visually and audibly ‘into’ the interior. Visible literally over the driver’s shoulder, a 765LT-branded carbon fibre frame supports the glass screen to showcase the McLaren ‘Speedmark’-branded plenum, which has a dark, high-temperature powder-coat finish. The engine is additionally visible from outside the vehicle through the polycarbonate rear screen (unless privacy glass is specified), with rear visibility unaffected.
The cockpit of the new 765LT is an enticing blend of generous interior space and excellent ergonomics, with racetrack efficiency and supercar luxury combining to create an overall ambience of cutting-edge technology and high-level craftsmanship in an environment defined by its driver focus. A wealth of personalisation opportunities are available, from unique exterior colours and soft-grain leather to a world-class audio system, while customers who wish to explore their own unique specification can turn to McLaren Special Operations (MSO) for even greater choice. A debossed 765LT logo on the facia and a numbered LT dedication plaque further underline the exclusivity of each car.
Eight bespoke ‘By McLaren’ interior colour themes have been designed to complement the adventurous nature of the 765LT. The first introduces a subtle hint of colour throughout the lightweight Alcantara® interior, replacing the standard Carbon Black stitching with McLaren Orange. Three themes go further, introducing an additional Alcantara® colour with a complementary stitch on specific areas – including the seats and doors – on a Carbon Black Alcantara® base. Dove Grey Alcantara® with Situs Grey stitching, Burnt Orange Alcantara® with Carmine stitching and Midnight Blue Alcantara® with Kingfisher Blue stitching are available.
These four themes each feature a graphic laser-cut into the seats, respectively exposing McLaren Orange, Situs Grey, Carmine or Azura Blue secondary colours which correspond with the coloured stitching. A further four ‘By McLaren’ themes offer a luxurious alternative to Alcantara®, combining Carbon Black softgrain leather with contrasting colour stitching in McLaren Orange, Situs Grey, Carmine or Kingfisher Blue. All the ‘By McLaren’ interiors can be specified, at no cost to the customer, with a 12 o’clock stripe on the Alcantara® steering wheel, in McLaren Orange, Burnt Orange, Blue or Dove Grey.
The primary hub in the 765LT for driver convenience, comfort and connectivity functions – including McLaren Track Telemetry (MTT) – is an 8.0-inch, high-resolution Central Infotainment Screen that works in conjunction with a Folding Driver Display to provide an integrated driver information platform. The Folding Driver Display and Central Infotainment Screen surrounds are available in carbon fibre to complement the finish of the window switch surrounds, steering wheel clasp and Active Dynamics Panel surround. Further carbon fibre is available from the MSO Defined range, including satin finish visual carbon fibre for the air vents and extended sill trims with unique 765LT branding.
Customers who value convenience features more than pursuing the maximum possible weight saving have ample choice from the 765LT’s equipment portfolio. Door stowage pockets and a central tunnel with lockable stowage can be specified as options in lieu of the lightweight nets and carbon fibre central tunnel fitted as standard. A driver-controlled vehicle lift system that raises the nose of the car when needed – for instance over speed bumps or when entering or exiting a car park – is a cost-option.
While there is no audio system in the standard specification – saving 1.5kg of vehicle weight – a lightweight, McLaren 4-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio, DAB or SiriusXM radio (depending on region), Bluetooth telephony, iPod/iPhone Integration and audio voice prompts can be specified at no cost. An upgraded, world-class audio system, developed specifically for the second-generation McLaren Super Series by Bowers & Wilkins, is available at additional cost.
Additional convenience options include a choice of high-definition reversing camera or an enhanced 360-degree park assist system with one front, one rear and two door-mirror mounted HD cameras that together provide a ‘bird’s-eye’ view of the vehicle’s surroundings during parking and low-speed manoeuvres. In markets where it is offered, Homelink® allows for the remote opening of up to three electric garage doors or house gates.
The 765LT is not a car for those wanting to keep a low profile and the standard colour choices reflect this. There are 17 exterior paint colours, including two – Nardo Orange and Smoked White – unique to the new LT. Chicane Effect, which was first seen on the 600LT and is a reminder of the original Chicane grey available for the 675LT, is also offered. A further 13 exterior colours are in the MSO Defined range available through McLaren Special Operations, while beyond this there is the opportunity for any colour that is technically possible through an MSO Bespoke commission.
To complement or contrast with the chosen exterior colour and finish, brake calipers are available in a range of finishes and colours. The 10-spoke Ultra-Lightweight forged wheels developed for the new 765LT are in Platinum as standard, but are also available with Black Gloss, Stealth or Satin Diamond-Cut finishes. Where it is a cost-option, the finish also includes a 765LT logo, laser-etched on the wheel rim.
While the combustion requirements of the new 765LT are satisfied by the rear fender air intakes, customers do have the option of specifying an MSO Defined roof scoop that provides additional cooling for the powertrain, forcing intake air over the plenum and engine at high speed and cooling the charge air temperatures in the plenum. The ‘snorkel-style’ scoop, which is only available in conjunction with the glazed engine ‘window’, is separated from the body to create the most efficient air path to the powertrain while minimising compromise to rear visibility.
The aluminium bonnet can be replaced with an MSO Defined carbon fibre panel that is painted on all surfaces as standard but is also available with a ‘surprise and delight’ clear lacquer gloss visual carbon underside, or in full VCF (visual carbon fibre). The MSO Defined range for the 765LT also includes vented carbon fibre front fenders in lieu of aluminium fenders, the carbon fibre louvres having a visual gloss finish.