The McLaren Solus GT Is the Ultimate Billionaire’s Toy With a Jet-Fighter Cockpit
Powered by a naturally aspirated V10 that revs to 10K, the Solus GT has one seat and a fighter jet-style canopy.
We cover a lot of ultra-limited, unobtanium supercars here at The Drive because, well, the supercar makers of the world keep building ‘em. But I genuinely cannot remember one quite as hardcore and factually awesome as the McLaren Solus GT. In short, it's a one-seater, V10 track special that makes the Senna look straight-up pedestrian.
It’s been modeled after the company’s Vision Gran Turismo video game car that was designed and engineered without any road or race restrictions in mind. Just like that virtual machine, then, the Solus GT is a track-only affair. Its fantasy roots also mean it has a central, single seat accessed via an extremely cool fighter jet-style canopy that slides forward to open.
Like something you’d see blasting around Le Mans, the wheels are covered in aerodynamic pods while the carbon suspension arm shrouds are exposed and, of course, shaped in an aerodynamically beneficial way. Inside those carbon shrouds are double wishbones with inboard torsion bar damping—pushrods up front, pullrods out back.
A Formula 1 halo-style cockpit protector is made of 3D-printed titanium and incorporates a rear-view screen. There are radiators in the side pods, while an intake integrated into the roll hoop cover is said to create induction noise as well as keep the engine cool.
And about that engine. For the first time in, like, forever, McLaren has eschewed the twin-turbo V8. Instead, the Solus GT is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 that—get this—revs to 10,000 rpm. Producing “in excess of” 829 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, McLaren describes this engine as “unique," and a company spokesperson told me that it was co-developed with Judd Power. You may or may not know that name for the firm's truly incredible-sounding F1 and endurance racing engines.
What's more, the power plant is a load-bearing part of the chassis, a first for any production McLaren “production” car. Of course, it's built on a unique monocoque made of carbon fiber that helps the entire car weigh less than 2,205 pounds (about 200 pounds less than the current Mazda MX-5).
The result of strapping a big stinkin’ V10 to a car that weighs this little is zero to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and a top speed exceeding 200 mph. In terms of lap times, McLaren says it's the most capable car it’s made outside of single-seat racers, and that its drive is "close to the engagement and sensation of driving a Formula 1 car."
A seven-speed sequential transmission with straight-cut gears, a multi-plate carbon fiber clutch, bespoke casting, and bespoke casing has been mounted behind the engine and is attached to the rear suspension parts.
Six-piston monoblock brake calipers with carbon fiber pads and rotors take care of deceleration, and front-rear brake bias can be adjusted on the fly by the driver. Eighteen-inch forged aluminum centerlock wheels are wrapped in “Le Mans Prototype-spec” tires. McLaren says both slick and wet compounds are available.
Thanks to a whole lot of aero work, chief of which includes a fixed twin-element rear wing, the Solus GT can create more than 2,645 pounds of downforce—at least 440 pounds more than it weighs.
Buyers will receive a full racing driver experience including a fixed seat molded to the shape of their body, radio-enabled ear inserts, a custom FIA-homologated race suit, helmet, HANS device, an F1-inspired steering wheel new and unique to this car, along with a driver coaching program.
As well as being able to configure their Solus GT to their heart's desire when it comes to aesthetics, buyers will also be able to partake in prototype drives that McLaren says “can influence the driving characteristics of the car ahead of production.” This means every Solus GT built could very well drive differently depending on its specific owner’s preferences, skill level, and driving style.
Not that there are going to be very many. McLaren is building just 25 and, bad news, they’re all sold out. The lucky 25 Solus GT buyers can expect the first deliveries to happen in 2023.
Got a tip or question for the author about the McLaren Solus GT? You can reach him here: firstname.lastname@example.org