Supercar

Watch A Rocket Scientist Explain Why The McLaren 720S Is So Mind-Bogglingly Fast

In case you needed proof the McLaren 720S is an engineering marvel.

Time and time again, the McLaren 720S has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. Its performance puts most cars in its class to shame.: this is a supercar that can humiliate a Lamborghini Huracan on the drag strip and do the quarter mile faster than the hypercar holy trinity. And yet, with a starting price of $284,475, it costs considerably less than a McLaren P1, Porsche 918, or LaFerrari, making it one of the best-value supercars currently on the market. But what makes the McLaren 720S so mind-bogglingly fast apart from its powerful engine?

To help explain, McLaren enlisted Ryan W. Conversano, a rocket propulsion scientist, to show us the science behind the supercar’s astonishing speed. In a nod to Newton’s Second Law of Motion (force equals mass times acceleration), Conversano explains how the car’s acceleration is achieved by dividing the forces by the car’s mass. Don’t worry, it’s a lot easier to follow than it sounds, as Conversano breaks it down using easy-to-understand terms.

Take one look at the 720S’ shape, and it’s clear the car has been designed to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible. Everywhere you look there are no sharp lines or angles, just smooth flowing lines and curved edges optimizing the airflow. This reduces drag and therefore improves the acceleration. Air is either split around the car, directing it to the front splitter providing downforce to enhance cornering and grip, or above the car between the car’s inner and outer skin for cooling.

Conversano also turns his attention to the powertrain. Powering the McLaren 720s is a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that produces 710 horsepower, enabling the car to hit 0-62 mph in 2.7 seconds and a top speed of 212 mph. Thanks to the smartly designed aerodynamics, the 720S is extremely stable at high speeds.

Another key design element contributing to the 720S’ insane performance is its lightweight chassis made from carbon fiber, bringing the weight down to just 2,829 pounds. Clearly, the McLaren 720S is an engineering marvel that deserves all the praise it’s been getting.

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