2015 MCLAREN 650S SPRINT
WORDS by Samuel Cuthbert & PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF MCLAREN
We only recently saw the full-fat GT3 racer unveiled, but it seems McLaren aren't done showing off their new toys just yet. This "Sprint" version of the 650S is designed to slot neatly between the £330,000 (roughly $562,000) plus tax GT3 racer and the standard car. Priced at £198,000 (including local taxes), this represents something of a track-day special - a car tuned for the racetrack, without having to conform to a certain specification to achieve homologation in a particular racing series. Forgoing the extra FIA-sanctioned equipment and the significant extra expense of that build, means that McLaren can create a new car that is more focused, yet not nearly as expensive as the dedicated race car.
This is a car for McLarens clientele that want a 650S that they can take to the track and enjoy without making any modifications whatsoever. Its not such a stretch to imagine there is a significant portion of wealthy enthusiasts buying these 458's et al with the sole purpose of it being a very expensive toy. They don't want to be messing about with third-party wheels and suspension in order to get something more tuned for the track. So this is for them, a turn-key solution to a brilliant road car that is now ready for the odd session at the racetrack, without needing to change a thing. It's the sort of car you might buy if you lived near the Nurburgring and wanted to be able to do your day to day driving, then stop by for a hot lap on the way home... and I'm daydreaming again.
Right, so, over and above the standard car, the 650S Sprint has more downforce and better cooling for the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8, and McLaren confirmed that the engine and gearbox have been recalibrated for track duty. New gear includes a competition-spec fuel tank with quick-fill cap, enlarged radiator, retuned suspension, Pirelli racing slicks on 19-inch center-lock wheels, upgraded brakes, on-board air jack system, fire suppression system and a stripped-out cabin with FIA-approved roll cage, HANS-ready racing buckets and six-point harnesses.
A fair bit then, and certainly far further than anyone would normally go if they were brave enough to modify their own 650S to be better suited to track duty. Wouldn't mind seeing how this stacks up to the 458 Speciale, hopefully the lads at /DRIVE can get something together in the future, if they manage to sort their paywall teething issue out of course. Until then, lets end with a reminder about the 650S on track, with Harris doing what he does best.