McLaren Senna is Brutally Fast yet Highly Refined on Track

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Capable of lapping Estoril six seconds faster than a 720S, the McLaren Senna is also amazingly easy to live with.

Completing a road test on a car like the McLaren Senna just seems, well, pointless. Sure, pretty much everyone who buys an amazing hypercar like this never sniffs a track with it. But McLaren built this machine to dominate apexes, after all. So in our minds, we should judge it based on that singular ability. Thankfully, the guys at Carfection agree, which is exactly why they spent their review time behind the wheel of a McLaren Senna in an appropriate setting, Spain’s Autódromo do Estoril.

Naturally, slipping behind the wheel of this savage new ride is a bit intimidating. For starters, it looks absolutely menacing. Then there’s 789 raging horsepower and enough downforce to melt your face to deal with. And oh yea, the car’s name, derived from one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. No pressure, right?

McLaren Senna

So you can’t blame test driver Henry Catchpole for being a little nervous. “I am expecting a race car experience,” he admits beforehand. “Expecting to be sensorially [sic] assaulted. I am expecting to find the next quarter of an hour intimidating.” But incredibly enough, he’s none of the above. In fact, he walks away a bit confused.

“The whole experience was remarkably refined,” he recalls. “Don’t get me wrong, the car was certainly race car-fast (and I know that there is still more speed to come) but it wasn’t mind-bogglingly noisy or recalcitrant or snappy or awkward like race cars can often be.”


The McLaren Senna was, in fact, as happy traveling through the pits at low speed as it was screaming all-out around corners. Visibility is good, the cabin somewhat spacious, the steering responsive. That high-tech aero keeps the Senna stable at ludicrous speed, and the braking proves immediate. And in a car capable of lapping the legendary Estoril six seconds faster than a 720S, that level of refinement is nothing short of astonishing.

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Brett Foote has been covering the auto industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ popular Auto Group websites, including Corvette Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among others.

Foote has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles and every other type of automobile, Foote had spent several years running parts for local dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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