Exposed carbon fiber will never get old.
A special edition clearly named by an engineer, the Carbon Theme is a McLaren Special Operations (MSO) special edition of the already special McLaren Senna. Yeah, it’s pretty special. If you need to catch up on the McLaren Senna, this is what were had to report upon the occasion of its unveiling: “The McLaren Senna, named for Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna, is everything we could have hoped for and more."
Powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 789 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque, the Senna, formerly codenamed P15, is, at 2,641 lb, McLaren’s lightest road car since the iconic F1. It also has the UK firm’s most powerful internal combustion road car ever. That’s right. There is no electric hybrid boost or batteries.” I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about all that combustion power going to the rear wheels of a car weighing less than a Toyota 86, and the frantic, scream sounds McLarens make. Sure it’s not the prettiest, but all that body work makes it faster and helps it stick to the road, so it’s forgiven because functionality trumps styling in a car of this caliber.
Then again, I’ll only ever get to look at it and might never even see one in person, so maybe I shouldn’t be so forgiving. Anyhow, you’re here to hear about the new Special, so here goes: The body is comprised of 67 parts that take almost 1,000 hours to manufacture, with contrasting Solar Yellow accents on the sill exteriors, rear wing and front active aero blades (chalk up another 250 hours of MSO time right there) and Laurel Green brake calipers to complete the Senna homage by using the legendary Brazilian’s helmet colours.
The Solar Yellow and Laurel Green also make appearances inside of the cabin, with certain parts and the contrast stitching on the Carbon Black Alcantara trim, with the headrests sporting the same Senna ‘S’ logo embedded onto the spoiler in a matte satin finish. The Carbon Theme is one of five themes developed by MSO for the McLaren Senna, but the only one that has been built to date. The others will be displayed as renders at Geneva. While this build will certainly be a one of one, some aspects of the Carbon Theme will carry over as MSO options for McLaren’s more readily available cars like the Sport and Super Series.
McLaren Special Operations Managing Director Ansar Ali explained, “With the [Senna] having generated so much interest since its unveiling in December, we knew we needed to produce something very special in order to showcase the unique talents of McLaren Special Operations; the McLaren Senna Carbon Theme by MSO at the Geneva Motor Show is exactly the kind of project we thrive on delivering and once customers have had the opportunity to view it in person, I would not be at all surprised to see a rise in expressions of interest for MSO Visual Carbon Fibre cars similar to this one.”
The Carbon Theme is a showcase for McLaren’s exposed carbon-fiber treatment, because you just gotta keep up with the Paganis and the Koenigseggs in this business. The Carbon Theme is also the launch vehicle for a new wheel option on the Senna (also surely to trickle down eventually): MSO 7-Spoke, Hybrid Carbon Fiber Wheel is a center-lock wheel made of a forged aluminum spokes and a carbon fiber rim that is up to 10 percent lighter than the standard rim. Wheels that weigh as much as 16 lb less at each corner offer the usual benefits that come with lighter wheels, reduced unsprung weight, leading to less rotating inertia, ultimately resulting in acceleration gains, plus better braking and steering response. Yay, science!
Of course, just 500 Sennas will be built, and they’ve all been sold already. In fact, the last build slot was sold at the reveal for over $2 million, more than twice its standard price. But think about that - they had already sold 499 of them for about a million each before they even revealed it to us internet masses.