This time no introductions needed – the 570S skills were still fresh in my mind since my first contact on the track no more than six months earlier. But in fact, despite having felt the power of its engine and the incredible grip on the damp track of the Tazio Nuvolari circuit, I did not fully capture what the most powerful Sport Series McLaren has to offer. This second round would not only serve to make me have a clearer picture, but would do something more personal, an intervention in the deep, which would have made my job different forever.
Retreating the wonderful 570S in Monaco, the baby McLaren would have been my company for almost a week that I reckon I had to spend at the wheel from start to finish – and when the engine was turned off, I was probably in front of it admiring it, maybe some steps further so as not to annoy the photographer, but greedy to carve the aerodynamic secrets, to know better what makes a driving experience so visceral. In my previous test drive – that on track – I was able to limit myself to commenting on the feedback obtained by pushing it hard on a circuit only open for me, having only a few minutes available and not being able to really underline the mechanics of the Mc, just pushing the throttle and sticking the curves to the best of my potential.
The ease with which you reach 260 per hour before the hard braking at the end of the straight is disarming, but even more the way it stays on the ground entering a corner faster than you actually dare. We know very well that on the road is another story, and since it’s a supercar that points to a large clientele willing to use it in the daily life, a key point of this second test is just a 360 degree evaluation, where pure performance is just one of the many points to analyze. I put myself in the ca- bin covered in leather and alcantara, stretching my left arm and lowering the door that automatically closes with the so appreciated Soft- Close-Doors device – in that very moment the wind rustle and the road noises are left out and I start to look around with the calm that it takes for a moment to enjoy and live fully like driving a McLaren.
It looks like your typical dream car, with the doors opening upwards. wider and longer than the 650S (which has just passed the torch to the stratospheric 720S), it’s low and unquestionably fast. It also transmits speed even from standing still, thanks to that soft lines games and that constant and redundant appeal to the McLaren logo, easily distinguishable by observing the front lights. It’s a special car, but we already know that, perfectly capable of making emotional even the simplest action or the simplest drive from A to B.
No time to waste here, because the days available are only a few to satiate my hunger for such a masterpiece of engineering. Just like when you leave for holiday, you already think about making up your luggage for coming back home, I disengage the parking brake, put into Drive, and move towards glory on wheels.
My McLaren days have been epic – it’s impossible to forget about that total control of the car when sitting so low in the carbon fiber monocoque. The windscreen surface was the ideal tool from which I wanted to see the rest of the world, with the uprights that go exactly above the front wheels, giving a perfect perception and visibility – a fundamental aspect when attacking an apex with the tachometer next to the red line. The perfect sitting position is a physical condition that makes the driving experience more connected with the car itself and the road: being able to instantly translate the messages your car transmits allows you to keep it down when in another situation you would have lightened your right foot, it allows you to scrape that chaos, so damn accurate, and to touch that limit that never seemed so close.
The 3.8 thrust is an adrenaline injection in the aorta vein, with that twin-turbo V8 screaming like a rocket up to 7500 rpm, the moment the double clutch shoots the next gear and keeps pushing the seat as during take-off – the movement is on a horizontal axis in this case, but the pressure sensation of the internal organs is the same that the NASA pilots are trained to deal with.
Well restraint on the seat and with the hands tightening the steering wheel with alcantara touches, I keep my eyes fixed in the middle of the road, while the number of tums ahead of me rises and I find myself having to put my life in the hands of the braking system with ceramic discs. I’m not disappointed, but I had no doubts, and without the least effort they ask for more, continuing to convey that sense of security, precision and incitement to a speed that the car itself communicates from the very first moment.
The 570 horses push a car body of just 1.313kg, with a turbocharged engine located in mid rear position and traction on the rear wheels only. In most cases, this combination of numbers would result in a dangerous spinning and the consequent loss of torque, speed and therefore performance – not with it. Despite keeping the settings in the middle mode and shifting in manual mode, after some hesitation (by me, of course) I finally go full throttle using the whole torque curve, which reaches 601Nm between 5000 and 6500 rpm. I feel the transition from one gear to the other, only for a sensory input that is transmitted to me along the spine, while there is no uncertainty on it and the digital tachometer expectedly le- ads to the potential loss of my driving license.