Published on September 9th, 2020 | by Joshua Chin0
McLaren Unveils Hardcore, Track-Focused 620R
This lightweight, hardcore, road-legal track car is only limited to 225 units.
Turning already blisteringly fast supercars into factory-produced track weapons is certainly a good business model as McLaren has launched yet another limited edition race-car-for-the-road in the form of the McLaren 620R.
What is essentially a road-going version of McLaren’s 570S GT4-spec race car that has been winning races since its appearance on track in 2017, the Woking-based company has apparently produced this road-legal version of the track car ‘in response to repeated customer request’ looking for a supercar that ‘is the perfect choice for an enthusiast wanting an authentic motorsport driving sensation – and performance to match – on both track and road’.
Being as it is a homologated race car for the road, the 620R utilises the same M838TE 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 as seen on the racing car. However free from racing regulations and restrictions, this power plant now churns out an impressive 620 PS and 620 Nm of torque, hence the name 620R. Mated to a 7 speed Seamless Shift dual-clutch transmission with integrated Intertia Push technology, 0-100 km/h is dispensed with in just 2.9 seconds while 0-200 km/h takes just 8.1 seconds. The top speed of the 620R is 200 mph (322 km/h)
Braking performance is handled by 6-pot aluminium callipers in the front and 4-pot callipers out back biting on carbon ceramic disks.
On the handling front, motorsport-spec adjustable coilover dampers in addition to a whole host of other lightweight, stiffened performance parts has supposedly improved the 620R’s handling prowess above and beyond its ordinary 570S counterpart. The Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tires wrapped around the staggered 19 and 20 inch wheel setup probably help the McLaren become the track-weapon it is too.
A raised carbon fibre rear spoiler adapted from the GT4 race car to meet road homologation standards sets out to be the distinguishing exterior feature of the 620R. Working in tandem with the redesigned front bumper, splitter and bonnet, this reworked aerodynamics package is said add an extra 250 kg of downforce to this featherweight 1,282 kg supercar during circuit running.
Speaking of that featherweight figure, it comes as no surprise that nearly every creature comfort like air conditioning, the IRIS infotainment system, the Bower and Wilkins audio system has been stripped out in the weight reduction process. Even the glovebox and floor mats were casualties of the crash diet. That being said, McLaren were keen to point out that some elements of practicality remain. The stowage compartment under the front bonnet remains fully functional and in McLaren’s words could be used for ‘for crash helmets or luggage’.
No official word yet on the price of this track-weapon of a supercar. Safe to say though as only 225 are to be made, and all of them can (and will) be customised through the McLaren Special Operations personalisation programme, the final cost of these cars won’t be cheap.
PRESS RELEASE: The McLaren 620R is the first car in its class to offer true motorsport credentials in a fully road-legal package. The limited-edition coupé evolves the competition specification of the McLaren 570S GT4 to deliver a race-car experience on either track or road.
“The McLaren 570S GT4 is a first-class GT race car that, having won races in every championship it has competed in since its first appearance in 2017, is attracting an increasing number of customer racing teams. In response to repeated customer requests, we have homologated that class-leading package for the road in the McLaren 620R, a limited-edition, 620PS superlight coupé that is the perfect choice for an enthusiast wanting an authentic motorsport driving sensation – and performance to match – on both track and road.”
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive.
McLaren has enjoyed significant GT race success with Customer Racing teams and in recent seasons the 570S GT4 has been instrumental in adding to that record of success. Since the customer debut in 2017, the car has become the most successful GT race car built by McLaren, achieving more race wins and podiums than any other to date; in 2019, the 570S GT4 competed in championships on four continents. As the ultimate track-focused, track-ready but roadgoing McLaren Sports Series model, the McLaren 620R – a car destined to be both rare and collectable, thanks to its limited production run – celebrates the achievements of the 570S GT4
The McLaren 620R is a unique proposition, delivering a pure motorsport experience in a road car with authenticity: it looks like a race car, handles like a race car, performs like a race car and feels like a race car. The result overall is a seamless transition from race to road – and vice versa. Exclusive and extreme in equal measure, the McLaren 620R retains the DNA of a fully homologated track car yet is free from the restrictions that race regulations apply.
A high level of commonality with a 570S GT4 race car has been integral to the development of the 620R from very outset. They have the same, single-piece carbon fibre Monocell II chassis providing the foundations for the strength and light weight of the car, with a targeted lightest dry weight of 1,282kg. This carbon fibre core – a McLaren signature that in different guises features in every car in the company’s range – also underpins the dynamic precision and composure for which McLarens are renowned. These characteristics have been enhanced in the 620R by the inclusion of the GT4’s adjustable aerodynamic elements, race-derived suspension components and powertrain recalibration to increase power and performance.
The 620R has the same M838TE 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine used in the GT4 car, but with a significant difference in power output; freedom from racing regulations has allowed the engine ECU and turbocharger management to be reconfigured to achieve 620PS (610bhp), making this the most powerful Sports Series car yet. The engine also develops torque of 620Nm (457lb ft) and even with lap times more important than sheer top speed, the combined outputs helps to deliver benchmark performance figures of 0-100km/h (62mph) in 2.9 seconds and 0-200km/h (124mph) in 8.1 seconds. Maximum speed is 322km/h (200mph).
The use of stiffer powertrain mounts reduces drivetrain forces under acceleration, minimising the effect of inertia under high load, while the 7-speed Seamless Shift Gearbox (SSG) delivers super-fast shift times, further aided in Track mode by McLaren’s Inertia Push technology, which converts built-up flywheel energy into a momentary burst of torque on upshift. For added drama on the road the driver can select Sport mode and hear the upshift ‘crack’ created by a split-second cut of the ignition spark during a gearshift.
Fitment of the GT4’s two-way manually adjustable coilover motorsport dampers, which feature 32 clicks of adjustment per corner for compression and rebound rates, adds to the 620R’s motorsport credentials. These enable the driver to optimise the 602R’s handling for any given circuit according to track surface, camber, weather conditions and the type and frequency of corners. Drivers can also adjust the suspension to their driving style, choosing for example a preference for precise body control or the ability to ride kerbs. The dampers also help to bring weight down overall, being more than 6kg lighter than the regular Sports Series units.
Customers who do not want the focused, motorsport damper set-up can instead choose the adaptive dampers that are standard across the Sports Series. These incorporate cabin-adjustable Normal, Sport and Track modes and also allow the fitment of vehicle lift to raise the nose of the car to accommodate road conditions in urban driving.
The suspension which features lightweight aluminium wishbones and uprights and stiffer anti-roll bars and springs than fitted on a regular Sports Series model, is further enhanced by swapping rubber top mounts for solid stainless steel alternatives to provide noticeable improvements in steering control and feedback, above and beyond the very high standards enjoyed in all McLaren cars.
Stopping power comes from McLaren’s latest lightweight braking system, which in the track-focused set-up on the new 620R comprises carbon ceramic discs (390mm front, 380mm rear) and 6-piston forged aluminium calipers on the front axle and 380mm discs and 4-piston calipers at the rear. The brakes are resistant to fade even after repeated hard-driven circuit laps and a revised vacuum pump and brake booster technology from the McLaren Senna breeds driver confidence through sharper pedal response, enhanced modularity and pedal consistency. The 620R’s brakes are additionally cooled by more efficient airflow from the 620R’s race-perfected front-end aerodynamic diveplanes.
The braking performance is unsurprisingly also extremely impressive on the road, where the 620R runs as standard with Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tyres, but drivers who swap to the optional, full-slick motorsport tyres when they arrive on circuit will experience a whole new level of braking. Specially developed for McLaren by Pirelli’s Motorsport team, the slick tyres are optimised to complement the motorsport brakes and race-derived suspension of the 620R. They unlock a contact patch 8% larger than that of the road tyre, increasing lateral G-forces and enabling quicker lap times.
This is the first time that a road-legal car with 19-inch front wheels and 20-inch rear wheels has been engineered to be able to run on slick tyres without the need for additional mechanical adjustment. This means that if weather conditions allow, owners can on arrival at a circuit either fit a second set of wheels or change tyres and go straight out on track without further delay.
High levels of mechanical grip are an essential part of the 620R’s track parentage, but it is the car’s aerodynamic performance that elevates it to the status of a road-legal GT4 racer. The adjustable carbon fibre rear wing has the same profile as the wing of the 570S GT4. Raised 32cm (12.5in) into the cleaner airflow above the vehicle to increase downforce while minimising drag, the wing is road legal thanks to its newly incorporated third brake light. Customers will receive their cars with the wing set to the least aggressive of its three available angles, optimising front/rear balance for road driving. The more aggressive angles increase rear downforce still further, contributing to a maximum of 185kg (408lbs) and enabling even quicker circuit-running.
While the rear wing quite literally stands out as an obvious distinguishing feature on the 620R, it is not the only component adapted from the GT4’s aggressive track specification to meet road homologation standards. The front bumper, splitter and bonnet have been redesigned – the splitter retaining pronounced aero blades and cut-out – while the carbon fibre bonnet has twin nostrils to aid downforce and clean up the airflow over the top of the car. The bonnet remains fully-functional, opening to reveal a stowage compartment for crash helmets or luggage. A total of 65kg (143lbs) of downforce at the front of the car is aided by dive planes that create vortices of low-pressure air at track level and help accelerate airflow along the car’s sides, as well as significantly aiding brake-cooling.
Both the adjustable damper and rear wing settings are factory positioned to provide breathtaking all-round ability on road and track, but the McLaren Automotive development team has designed the 620R to be accessible to all levels of driving experience so that novices and race-winners alike can exploit the car’s extensive abilities to their own limits: for the first time in a road-going McLaren, a driver can be their own race engineer and customise the settings of the car to a track as well as their preferred driving style.
The performance, feel, feedback and handling characteristics of the 620R will leave a driver in no doubt that it is a race car at heart, but there are other obvious clues that are apparent before the engine is even started. The interior clearly and immediately stands out as track-inspired – any GT4 race driver will feel instantly at home. As with any serious circuit car, it is as much about what has been stripped out as what has been included – the 620R does not have a floor carpet or a glovebox. Air-conditioning, IRIS Navigation and an audio system are also missing from the standard specification, although all can be selected. A lightweight Bowers & Wilkins upgraded audio system is available as a cost option.
Driver and passenger are secured in super-lightweight carbon fibre racing seats by six-point racing harnesses, fitted as standard. Key ‘track touchpoints’ include the red 12 o’clock mark on the steering wheel and door pull straps to aid door closure when a driver is held in place by the harnesses. Structural carbon fibre elements such as extended shift paddles, steering wheel spokes and centre console enhance the sense of being in the cabin of a race car. The centre console, mounted on a carbon fibre tunnel that connects to the rear bulkhead, also made from carbon fibre, is raised for ease of use when driving on track.
Each 620R can be configured to be distinctively individual. Single elements, for example the colour of the brake calipers, can be chosen as a solus specification; alternatively, buyers can opt for upgrade packs such as the Gloss Finish Visual Carbon Fibre Exterior Pack, which adds visual drama to everything from the side intakes to the door mirror casings. McLaren Special Operations (MSO) provides further personalisation choices, with a range of MSO Defined Exterior options that includes a titanium SuperSports Exhaust with Nano Black Exhaust Finisher and MSO Defined interior upgrades that incorporate a choice of harness colour.
All three exterior colours available as standard on the 620R are inspired by GT4 race cars – McLaren Orange (with white racing stripes), Silica White (orange stripes) or Onyx Black (orange stripes) – and each can be optioned with race number decals and/or partner decals. Further body colours are available in the MSO line-build palette.