by Jay Traugott
It's best to think of the new 2020 McLaren 620R has a GT4 racing car for the road. Previously, the McLaren 600LT and 600LT Spider were the most powerful and hardcore members of the UK firm's Sports Series, which also consists of the 570S, 570S Spider, and 570 GT. Although all share the same basic underpinnings, engine, and transmission, McLaren has gone to great lengths to make the new 620R stand out even further from the already impressive pack, particularly the 600LT.
As the "most track-focused, track-ready road-going McLaren Sports Series model," the 570S GT4-based 620R needs to deliver the goods and, on paper, it certainly does. There's no reason not to believe its impressive capabilities will offer a beyond thrilling overall experience behind the wheel. Perhaps the McLaren 620R's biggest problem has nothing to do with the car itself, but the very limited quantities it'll be built.
3.8-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
7 Speed Seamless Shift Gearbox (SSG)
Although the McLaren 620R resembles the 600LT, there are several noticeable exterior differences. Among them are a redesigned front bumper, splitter, and hood. In fact, the splitter keeps the 570S GT4's aero blades and cut-outs. The carbon fiber hood also incorporates twin nostrils to aid in downforce and improve airflow over the top of the car. Newly added front drive planes provide up to 66 pounds of downforce already included in the 143 pounds provided by the full-frontal aero package. There's also an adjustable carbon-fiber rear wing that's newly street legal due to the addition of a third brake light.
Only three exterior colors are offered: McLaren Orange, Silica White, and Onyx Black, all of which feature a racing stripe. Owners can also option their cars with race number decals. If none of these colors suit you, you'll have to turn to MSO for assistance (at additional cost, of course).
Unfortunately, McLaren has not provided official interior photos, so simply picture this: a 570 S Sports Series interior stripped of conveniences such as a floor carpet, glovebox, air conditioning, navigation, and an audio system. All of that adds weight. However, a Bowers & Wilkins audio system is optional. Both driver and passenger have lightweight carbon fiber racing seats with six-point racing harnesses. A McLaren Track Telemetry system has been added to the center-mounted seven-inch touchscreen.
The 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 from the GT4 car is utilized here as well, although it's more powerful because the road car is excused from racing rules. Total output has increased to 610 hp and 457 lb-ft of torque, thus making the 620R the most powerful Sports Series to date. Zero to 62 mph happens in 2.9 seconds, 0-124 in 8.1 seconds, and top speed is 200 mph. A seven-speed Seamless Shift Gearbox directs power to the rear wheels. Note: Sport mode ignites the upshift 'crack' caused by the split-second cut of the ignition spark.
Additional 570S GT4 components include two-way manually adjustable coilover dampers that are 13.2 pounds lighter than the regular Sports Series units. The suspension features lightweight aluminum wishbones and uprights and stiffer anti-roll bars and springs.
More power also requires greater stopping power. This has been done with a lightweight braking system with carbon ceramic discs and forged aluminum brake calipers. Wearing 19-inch front wheel and 20-inch rear wheels, the 620R's slick tires were specifically developed by Pirelli's Motorsport team. Designed for optimal track performance, owners can swap them out for a set of Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tires if they so desire.
Remember when we mentioned the McLaren 620R's biggest problem? Here's the situation: production is limited to only 350 examples, each priced from $328,951 including taxes. McLaren says production will get underway in January 2020 and once they're all spoken for, that's it. Will there be a Spider convertible version, too? Doubtful. The 620R is literally the street-legal version of a race car and race cars, of course, always have their tops permanently attached. In addition, the folding mechanism required to go topless adds weight. Right now, the 620R has a dry weight of just 2,826 pounds.
Competition? Literally nothing. Normally, the Sports Series competes against the likes of the Porsche 911 Turbo, all-new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Aston Martin Vantage, and Lamborghini Huracan Evo. If we had to name a couple of potential competitors it'd be the Lamborghini Huracan Performante, which previously set a Nurburgring lap record as the fastest production vehicle. The second is the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, the current Green Hell record holder.