Scientist Explains Why the McLaren 720S Is a Spaceship for the Road

The reasons for the 720S’ unparalleled performance are indeed rocket science.

byChris Constantine|


If you were to ask us what the best bang-for-your-buck supercar of the 2010s was, the McLaren 720S would be a great choice. On paper, Mclaren's Super Series supercar seems slightly above average, but in reality the 720S has proven that it can even hang with the hypercars for a fraction of the price, especially on the drag strip. Other than the fact that it's got 700 horsepower ready to light up its rear tires, what makes the 720S so fast?

In a video posted by McLaren's YouTube channel, Ryan W. Conversano, a Technologist in Electric Propulsion at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explains the science behind the 720S' mastery of speed. By modifying Newton's Second Law of Motion (force equals mass times acceleration), Dr. Conversano dissects the car's ridiculous acceleration by dividing the forces pressing on the car (and those exerted by the 720S) by its mass. Don't worry, we didn't pay attention in Physics class either, but Dr. Conversano explains it in terms car enthusiasts can understand. 

Like the new Senna hypercar, the many flowing lines, curves, and inlets of the 720S aren't purely aesthetic. Its body is made to let as much air pass through it as possible, decreasing the car's air resistance (drag) and improving acceleration. Thanks in part to McLaren's use of an ultra-light carbon fiber monocoque chassis in all of its models, the 720S also weighs just 2,829 pounds. A combination of all of these factors contribute to the car's 2.7-second zero-to-60 mph time and 212 mph top speed.

You can watch Dr. Conversano's full analysis of the McLaren 720S in the video below.

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