McLarens Clash on the Track: 720S Versus Senna
Senna, McLaren’s latest track monster, turns out stunning performance against the popular 720S.
The video above comes to us from the Autocar YouTube channel and it features a head-to-head track comparison between the McLaren Senna and the 720S on which the Senna is built. As a higher performance version of the 720S, we can expect that the Senna will be the better track car, but Autocar host and test driver Matt Saunders wanted to find out just how much better. The results are predictable, but that doesn’t make the on-track performance of either of these British supercars any less impressive.
Senna and 720S: The Specs
The McLaren Senna is a track-focused supercar that is based on the 720S. The Senna has a unique body with far-more-extreme aerodynamics, a unique suspension setup, bigger brakes, a package-specific carbon fiber monocoque chassis and more power. It is hard to quantify the aero, suspension, braking and chassis advantages, but for those who like hard numbers, here are a couple.
The Senna is powered by the same twin turbocharged V8 as the 720S, offering 789 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque while the 720S “only” offers 710 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. Also, while the Senna has a huge rear wing and added aero bits all of the way around, it weighs almost 200 pounds less than the 720S.
In short, the Senna has more power, weighs less, brakes harder and has more high speed downforce than the 720S, but what does that mean on the 2.1-mile Anglesey International Circuit?
Before Saunders hit the track in each of the McLaren supercars, he points out that he has also tested the 570S and the 675LT Spider on this same track. The 570S ran a 1:37.9 and the 675LT ran a best time of 1:35.7, both of which Saunders was sure to smash with the newer supercars.
He takes to the track in the 720S first, turning in a respectable time of 1:33.65, beating the 675LT by more than two seconds. At that point, Saunders didn’t believe that the Senna could be all that much better, but he was wrong.
After hitting the track with the Senna and laying down a lap time of 1:31.35, he has nothing but good things to say about the car named after one of the greatest racing drivers ever. He points out that there is at least another second or two that could be cut by a better driver, but in the end, the Senna blew his mind.
“The (Senna) is just incredible and the forces it puts through your body; it’s like nothing I’ve ever encountered,” said Saunders. He went explained that unlike any car he has driven in the past, the Senna dares you to brake later and later into the turns, waiting to points where he expected to blow right through the turn, but the McLaren was happy to get slowed down in every situation.
“Getting to the bottom of the car’s staggering reserves of lateral grip, high speed stability and braking power; that’s a process in which I suspect you could be engaged for years.”
Crank up your speakers and enjoy!