On first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking this side profile belonged to a subtle, de-winged version of McLaren Automotive’s legendary F1 GTR. From the gaping cockpit vent to the gorgeous five-spoke alloys, it certainly looks the part.
Twist the image slightly to reveal the rear and it quickly dawns that it’s a 650S… but not any old 650S.
Branded the ‘McLaren 650S Le Mans’, the latest McLaren road car is limited to only 50 units world-wide.
Designed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the McLaren F1 GTRs 1995 Le Mans victory (they also places third, fourth, fifth and thirteenth), the 650S Le Mans look is inspired by the car #59, the race winner that year.
To ensure the look was right, McLaren engaged Peter Stevens, who designed the original McLaren F1, to consult. The result is a coupe-only special, which uses the roof-mounted snorkel to pipe air directly into the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8. The snorkel is said to ‘enhance aural drama within the cabin’, according to McLaren.
Also mimicking the F1 GTR is the front wing louvres which reduce the pressure flow over the front wheels and increase downforce as a result. Staggered 19-inch front, 20-inch rear ‘Le Mans Edition’ wheels use specific Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres and cover standard-fit carbon-ceramic brakes, with the calipers painted in traditional McLaren Orange highlighting each corner.
Carbon fibre is used for the front splitter and rear bumper to accompany extended side blades and McLaren Special Operations (MSO) diffuser. Metallic ‘Sarthe Grey’, inspired by the race-winner, is the sole colour option, with an orange ‘Le Mans’ logo adorning the side profile. Inside further touches visually separate this limited-edition from its regular production brethren. McLaren Orange is also used for the Alcantara featured on the lightweight sports seats.
“With a mix of subtle design traits, the 650S Le Mans adds a modern twist by blending the iconic lines of the McLaren F1, and heritage features such as the wing louvres and the roof-mounted air intake, with groundbreaking technologies,” said Stevens. “It is a fantastic homage to that original design, and to the incredible race result achieved by the team in 1995 at one of the most difficult, and most challenging races in the world.”
Interestingly, power and torque figures remain unchanged, meaning 478kW and 678Nm.
Said to be available globally, deliveries for the £244,500 (around $452,000) McLaren 650S Le Mans will commence in mid-2015, with owners receiving an exclusive invitation to join McLaren for a 20th anniversary celebration at the historic Le Mans circuit.