The name McLaren is synonymous with Formula 1. However, in more recent times the name has been associated with superbly crafted, bespoke, high-performance sports vehicles including the then unique 3 seater F1.
The McLaren Speedtail is a combination of development, evolution, and refinement, and has produced a sleek looking hybrid machine capable of reaching 250mph, or just over 400kph. It’s been undergoing evaluations in the U.S. and has been consistently reaching its specified top speed of 250mph. In fact, it has done so over thirty times, proof enough of concept. Factor in an incredible 13-second runtime to reach 186mph (300kph), and it’s clear Speedtail is beyond special.
How though, has Speedtail been able to achieve such incredible numbers? Power. A 4.0L gasoline engine and a Formula-E derived electric engine system combine to produce 1,055hp (1,070PS) and a maximum torque of 848ft-lb (1,150Nm0). The gasoline part stems from the P1, McLaren’s first hybrid supercar, and with a redesigned for lightness air intake, better cylinder head cooling, and a redesigned piston design, it adds in 746hp (757PS) and 590ft-lb (800Nm).
A next step in the process is how the battery cells are being looked after. They’re thermally regulated thanks to a dielectric (super-high insulation) cooling system, which incorporates a permanent immersion in an insulating oil fluid that circulates the generated heat quickly away from the cell structures. It’s a world-first for a production road car and provides a longer life for the battery cells.
The electric motor generates more than 230kW. There is currently no other electric or hybrid vehicle that, including the integration and cooling aspects required for an electric motor, that reaches these numbers making Speedtail the most efficient of its type. A power-to-weight ratio of 8.3kW/kg is twice the average of the average sports car.
It gives the Speedtail the highest performance installation ‒ including cooling and integration ‒ of any electric motor currently in use on a production road car. Power delivery is 8.3kW/kg, which is twice the efficiency of an average sports car. It’s thanks to the high voltage energy storage system that Speedtail can deliver upon its promise.
There is a high power cylindrical cell arranged in a unique array and with a power output of the 1.647kWh, the unit is at the cutting edge of battery technology. Size reduces weight, and somehow McLaren have extracted four times the power density of that they engineered into the Mclaren P1, with 5.2kW per kilogram, and, says Mclaren, 270kW of output.
McLaren’s virtual product division is called McLaren Applied, and they also cover telemetry and electrification. In a collaboration with the bespoke Speedtail Electric Drive Technology team, they’ve worked on integrating the motorsport based inverter and DC/DC converter into the control systems and power management systems to the Speedtail’s electric drive setup.
The testing runs themselves were conducted at different locations with the McLaren chief test driver, Kenny Brack, at the wheel. Idiada in Spain and Papenburg in Germany were the initial locations with the concluding runs being held in Florida on the concrete paths of the former shuttle landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center.
Just 106 versions of the 5.3-meter-long, 3-seater, McLaren Speedtail were to be built and all were pre-sold before the build program commenced late in 2019.