McLaren Eyes Lewis Hamilton Wannabes With $250,000 Road-to-Track Racer

(Bloomberg) -- Formula 1 race team and supercar maker McLaren is aiming to win over wealthy drivers keen to prove themselves on the track with its latest model -- the 185,500-pound ($250,000) circuit-ready 600LT.

Street-legal but capable of sprinting to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds, the 600LT is a match for the company’s 675LT road and race model, which cost 75,000 pounds more and was built in limited numbers through 2016. That makes the new car an entry-level auto by the U.K. group’s rarefied standards.

Would-be Lewis Hamiltons may want to shell out rather more to get the full track experience, with one upgrade adding light-weight carbon-fiber seats and interiors for about 24,000 pounds. Another 4,000 pounds buys a six-point safety harness, a wise purchase before putting a car that can reach speeds of 204mph through its paces.

“The price point is very different to any LT that we’ve done before,” McLaren Chief Financial Officer Paul Buddin said in an interview. “We hope to welcome new customers to the brand, more younger people as well.”

Track Performance

The 570S, the baseline model in the McLaren Sport Series lineup that the 600LT joins, was designed equally for road and track use, whereas the new car leans “75-25” toward the race circuit, Buddin said. “The LT just takes everything a little bit harder, a little bit faster and more away from road use and into track performance,” he said.

Beyond it’s sheer pace, the 600LT comes with aesthetic and engineering appeal in the form of a unique top-exit exhaust system featuring twin pipes that protrude from below the back window. Unveiled Thursday at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, the car also has what McLaren calls an “elongated silhouette” (though it’s just 74 millimeters or 2.9 inches longer than the 570S) that’s led it to be badged as an LT or “Longtail.”

The name harks back to the F1 GTR, the racing variant of the auto with which McLaren made the leap from Formula 1 to street models in the early 1990s and which ranked as the world’s fastest road car at the time.

Woking, England-based McLaren, whose race team ranks second only to Ferrari NV in Formula 1 driver-championship wins, aims to build 4,300 cars this year, up from 3,340 in 2017 as it seeks to grow beyond its former niche status. The total should swell to 6,000 by 2025, helped by the introduction of 18 new models and variants, according to a statement Thursday.

All McLaren cars will be hybrids by that year, possibly barring the top-end Ultimate range, and the company will invest 1.2 billion pounds in the new models and a plant in Sheffield, northern England. A fully electric prototype is under development but there are no launch plans right now, Buddin said.

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