Soon enough, McLaren will realise that the model we’re all waiting for is a Longtail based on an entry-level Sports Series car. Like the 675LT, it’ll get more power, more aggressive aero, super-sticky tyres and a more focused chassis. It could well be the best car McLaren has ever made.
Until they see sense down in Woking, though, we’ll have to make do with this: the 570S Track Pack. Despite the very promising naming strategy, the Track Pack is not a fully re-engineered version of the 570S in the way a GT3 RS is a comprehensive re-imagining of the Porsche 911. Instead, it’s a box on the options list, one that adds lightweight seats, lighter wheels, Alcantara trim in the cabin and a couple of other bits and pieces. The Track Pack may be a long way from being a full-spec Longtail, then, but it might well be the Sports Series at its very best nonetheless.
The kit costs $114,850 on top of the $746,000ww list price. The 570S is already the lightest car in its sector by a fair margin thanks to its carbon tub and standard-fit carbon- ceramic brakes, but the Track Pack trims away a further 25kg. The bulk of that saving can be attributed to the carbonfibre, fixed-back bucket seats and the lightweight wheels, as well as the Alcantara in place of the heavier leather trim.
The rear wing now sits 12mm higher, although it’s still integral to the bodywork. That more pronounced spoiler, incidentally, will not be available on any other Sports Series model. It adds 29kg of downforce, says McLaren, although you’ II need to be clipping along at 240km/h before it applies that much pressure over the rear axle. Finally, the Track Pack adds the telemetry system that featured on the 675LT and P1. It allows drivers to time themselves on circuit, analyse laps at the end of a session and compare times with other drivers.
The drivetrain is unchanged compared with the 570S, which means the 38-litre twin-turbo V8 still produces 570hp at 7500rpm and 600Nm from 5000 to 6500rpm. The gearbox is a seven-speed twin-clutch item McLaren quotes a 0-100km/h time of 32 seconds and 328km/h flat out. The slim weight saving apparently reduces the 0-200km/h time by a tenth of a second, down to 9.4sec. The bucket seats swallow you whole rather than merely support you. They’re also comfortable enough for longer journeys, although they do make getting in to the cabin a little more awkward and anybody with the thighs of a track cyclist might find them too tight. But the seating position itself is brilliant, just as it is in every modern McLaren.
You sit low and reclined, with your feet way out in front of you. With McLaren’s trademark low scuttle you feel as though you’d see your toes if you were to lift your fee t up and peer along the bonnet. Dynamically, the Track Pack feels just the same as the 570S, of course, but give n that the car is as agile and rewarding as it is, having supportive bucket seats and that more tactile Alcantara- trimmed steering wheel really does make a lot of sense. The 570S is pitched as a sports car, rather than a grand tourer or a day-to-day machine, and those Track Pack elements just make the most of its sports car qualities. In short, this is the best Sports Series yet.
It may be way down on power compared to the new 720S, but the unrelenting way the Track Pack pulls through third and fourth gears suggests it isn’t giving away a single pony to its more expensive brother. It actually feels so frantically fast on the road that you have to build up to full throttle, and even then you aren’t keep it pinned for more than a few seconds at a time. There’s no doubting the car’s performance, but throttle response is a weakness. You need the engine spinning beyond 5000rpm before it becomes responsive enough that you can trim the car’s line using the throttle, and even then it isn’t as good as the best modern turbo engines. The gearbox, too, is a little off the pace of the quickest twin-clutch units out there, but in isolation it’s very difficult to criticise.
It isn’t straight-line performance that earns the Track Pack a five-star rating, though. It’s the perfectly judged ride and handling balance, the detailed and feel some steering and the sheer man-and-machine engagement that it delivers out on the road. It’s huge fun to drive, both at low speeds and at full tilt. On circuit, the Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres are grippy and consistent, while the ceramic brakes bite hard and resist fade really well. What makes the Track Pack, and any 570S for that matter, so much fun on circuit is that chassis balance.
On the way into a corner it wants to oversteer like a 205 GTI – that’s intended as a compliment-which means you can really fling the thing around without having to manage understeer. The Track Pack badging promises proper circuit ability, the car delivers in spades. McLaren might never build a Longtail Sports Series car. That would be a pity, but the 570S Track Pack is so capable and entertaining that it gets very close to owning that same position right at the top of the model range. It actually feels like a 675LT that’s been dialled down by a couple of notches. While the limited edition 675LT came in at $1.4 million, at $860,000 the 570S Track Pack certainly doesn’t feel like half the car.