McLaren Solus GT (BC-08) – Gran Turismo in real life

The Gran Turismo franchise has had a long history of collaborating with manufacturers to make one-off designs and concept cars for each new release. From the likes of Nissan to the crazy guys at Lamborghini, Each concept has gotten crazier over the years.

They all have one thing in common, they can only be driven in the game. Most companies have built shells of these concepts but none have really been able to be driven.

However, McLaren is the only car company that has built a car mostly based on the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo launched in 2017 on Gran Turismo 7. These are the major changes that have been made to put the car into production.

1. Design

MSO Global Sales manager Neil Underwood reveals that the BC-08 was the first McLaren to be designed by McLaren’s design director Rob Melville. The very first McLaren to be designed before any other car under the McLaren Automotive brand was this car before it ever appeared in the game.

While it looks very similar to the Ultimate Vision GT many changes have been made to make it more of a conventional racecar. The long sleek look is still very much there but has had some changes made to incorporate the new layout both inside and outside.

These changes mainly have to do with the fixed aerodynamics and cabin space to optimize the car for use in the real world. Beyond these, the car has retained most of its design and that makes it exciting for customers.

2. Driving Position

It still retains the single-seater driving position and can be sat in a similar position to a formula one car. The original motorcycle-style driving position would have been impossible for even the most experienced racing drivers. This would have never made production and was clearly one of the first issues that had to be addressed.

Getting inside is an event as the motorized canopy opens forward giving you full access to the cockpit. You then climb over the body structure using one of the suspension arms, stand in your seat, and then settle snugly into your seat. This experience alone in a customer is worth paying for. The canopy keeps you enclosed from outside elements but still gives you that excellent view like a formula one car.

McLaren has also gone the extra mile to model the steering wheel after their formula one car. This element adds to the raciness of this vehicle. Behind you is a headrest made to hold your head in place while going fast on a track to help cope with the G forces you will experience.   

3. Engine

A brand new 5.2 liter naturally aspirated V10 making 830 hp and revs all the way to 10,500 RPM. In the game, it had a twin-turbo V8 with twin electric motors making 1100 hp. The new engine sounds more special than the one in the game and with the ram air effect, the engine could produce as much as 870hp.

A high-revving LMP-derived engine from McLaren that sounds like the 2000s formula one cars. This engine was chosen for its immediate and linear response. It’s mated to a 7-speed sequential manual gearbox which is the best application for this as it is a full-blown racecar.

Just listen to this car on startup: 

4. Equipment

Although the car will never be eligible for any race series it has been built to comply with every FIA safety regulation. It comes equipped with an internal fire extinguisher activated with a switch. It does have traction and stability control but can be turned off easily according to the driver’s preference.

The seats are modeled after each owner to fit them perfectly. They are fixed in place but the pedals can be adjusted to the driver’s comfort. The steering wheel as mentioned before is modeled after the 2021 formula one car to complete the race feel.  

It has a rearview mirror that receives its feed from a camera mounted on the fin behind the driver’s head. Customers also have the ability to order more than one set of wheels with the option of racing slicks or racing wet tires.   

Make no mistake, this is a full-blown racecar, and taking it out isn’t as simple as turning a key. Everything has to be prepped by proper mechanics and engineers provided by McLaren for use on the track.  But I reckon the experience would be well worth the hassle.  

5. Performance

With 830hp, weighing 1000kg and producing over 1400kg of downforce at 150mph which is 400kg more than a Senna GTR. At 200 mph, it can generate 2000kg of downforce. This makes it the fastest production McLaren outside of an F1 car.

0-60 mph in takes 2.8 seconds and aims to have a top speed of more than 200mph.

As for track performance, It is safe to say only a formula one car could comfortably beat this on a track.

6. Production

Only 25 cars will be made for track use only and have all been sold out. Prices will start at $3 million with very limited options but with very interesting color and design choices for customers to choose from and make their car unique.

Final thoughts:

While it is a track car only and cannot be driven on the road, it is one of the closest experiences you can get to a formula one car. The closest experience to this is the Aston Martin Valkyrie with its similar aero shapes and a high-revving engine. While that car has to conform to road standards this one does not which will make it a true experience for the 25 lucky customers without.

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