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Video: McLaren Solus GT makes 2023 Festival of Speed debut

14th July 2023
Ethan Jupp

The McLaren Solus GT really is a moment in time for this genre of car. The class of track-only special cropped up just over 15 years ago, when the likes of Ferrari and Ascari started building extreme machines simply too hot for the road. They were effectively road cars with the cats chopped off, with added wings, slicks, cages, buckets and harnesses. Fast-forward to 2023 and the sum total of all the Solus GT shares with its supercar siblings – themselves very fast, high-tech cars, and indeed the basis for track-only models – is its badges. This is a car we fear sticking number plates to would be a struggle even for Lanzante.

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So it should come as no surprise that when it hit the Hill at the 2023 Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard half the crowd were slack-jawed, the other wondering what the point was. Quite often the answer that question is ‘because we can’. Consider also that there are whispers that a Solus at full chat could keep an F1 car honest. We might just see tomorrow when the action picks up again.

So what parts comprise a McLaren Solus GT? Well, at its very core is an entirely bespoke carbon chassis, to which is bolted a naturally-aspirated V10 producing 840PS (618kW), powering the rear wheels via a seven-speed sequential transmission and revving up to over 10,000rpm.

That chassis is very low and thin, designed to carry one low-slung occupant in the middle, with a canopy instead of a door. That’s probably the Solus’ party piece, for even when it's closed its thinness looks absolutely mental. It makes an Artura’s glasshouse look like that of a Hummer. Obviously, the insectoid bodywork draped between the wheels and that central body is amazing too, guiding the air around and through the car to reduce drag and produce up to 1,200kg of downforce.

That’s roughly 200kg more than the Solus is supposed to weigh at a standstill. Looking at it on the Hill, it’s like the Aliens have finally revealed themselves and this is their elite fighter craft, featuring Judd power.

On the Hill that mill sounds absolutely magnificent and the pace really is there to see. Just 25 lucky buyers will be getting their hands on a Solus. Do you like what you see so far?

Photography by Toby Wales and Jordan Butters.

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  • McLaren

  • Solus GT

  • FOS 2023

  • Festival of Speed

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