From 12C to Senna – McLaren history at #76MM

17th March 2018
Bob Murray

Of all the (very many) McLarens racing around the Motor Circuit for the 76th Members’ Meeting one of them will stand out… for going rather slowly. In fact, it is potentially the fastest of all of them but for the world dynamic debut of the new McLaren Senna, driver Andy Palmer says a gentle drive will be the order of the day…


“If this car isn’t back at Woking for more testing on Monday morning I would get fired,” the McLaren line director tells GRR.

The Senna, McLaren’s new Ultimate Series road-legal track car, is making its UK debut and the MM will be the first time anyone has seen the car, named after McLaren’s late great F1 champion Ayrton Senna, in action anywhere. 

With its emphasis on lightweight, pure V8 power (all 789bhp of it) and simple rear drive, the Senna most closely recalls the McLaren F1 of the 1990s. On a circuit Woking’s most uncompromised track car can deliver a top speed of 211mph, 0-124mph in 6.8 seconds and corner with the benefit of 800kg of downforce courtesy of that gigantic rear wing.


But just to prove it’s all just as capable on the road Andy Palmer drove it to Goodwood and planned to drive it home again after its moment in the Sussex spotlight.

“It was a very good rundown here, via Guildford and Haslemere,” Andy tells us. “I had it in Comfort setting and the car was brilliant. Although it is very much a track car you don’t need a pit crew to manage it so we believe owners will drive it on the road, to and from circuits exactly as I have done for the Members’ Meeting.”

Andy says he has racked up 1,000 miles in this black VP (verification prototype) already – including runs to pick up his daughters from school. “I have two daughters and they fight over who I will pick up first. It will be easier with BP23…” The three-seat BP23 is due to be unveiled later this year. 


The Senna will lead a parade of nine McLarens around the circuit to mark seven years of Britain’s supercar powerhouse, McLaren Automotive. It was 2011 that the first MP4-12C came to Goodwood and all the models since have played a role in Goodwood’s motorsport events, as well as being recognisable from road tests and Top Gear. Many of the cars, collectively worth around £6m, are part of McLaren’s heritage fleet.

Other cars in the McLaren parade

2011 silver 12C job one – the very first car.

12C Spyder 50th anniversary edition, 50 examples of which were made in 2013.

650S Spyder, resplendent in orange.

P100V, P1, 2013, the most famous P1 around and a car worth around £4m.

650S Long Tail in Napier Green – actual car that got the fastest lap at Dunsfold for Top Gear.

570GT Sports Series 2018, with new Sport Pack.

570S Spyder, 2018.

720S Lantana purple, the second generation Super Series.

Photography by Tom Shaxson, James Lynch and Pete Summers

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    Members' Meeting

    Gallery: Unexpected winter testing for McLaren Senna at 76MM

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    Members' Meeting

    Video: The world dynamic debut of McLaren Senna at 76MM

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    First Drive: McLaren Senna prototype