Making a track car out of a convertible? Whoâ€™s confused?
If you own a McLaren 570S Spider, then caning round racetracks probably isnâ€™t the main reason you bought it. But what if you want to? Well, you could of course. But youâ€™d be missing vital tenths here and there, and perhaps for some this is a problem that needs addressing. McLaren will now help you address that rather niche problem, and the English company does it by adding over Â£17,000-worth of options.
So to make it track ready, just look at this long list: engine, gearbox mapping, suspension geometry, spring rates, carbon ceramic brakes. And thatâ€™s just a start. Yup, not one of those has been changed at all.
Read more:Â Review: Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus
That means that, as a road car, this remains one of the most accessible and usable supercars you can buy. But where exactly has all that extra money gone then?
Sit inside and you sit in new carbonfibre bucket seats clothed in soft Alcantara. Ahead of you is a fuzzy-rimmed wheel with bare carbon spokes devoid of cluttering switches and buttons. Thereâ€™s carbonfibre everywhere â€“ centre console, gear paddles, door inserts, you name it. Youâ€™re starting to get the picture.
Thereâ€™s also carbon round the IRIS infotainment system and naturally you can set up the telemetry app to record your blistering lap times.
McLaren 570S Spider Track Pack
Engine: 3.8-litre, V8, twin-turbo, petrol
Torque: 443lb ft
Gearbox: 7-spd dual-clutch automatic
Kerb weight: 1465kg
Top speed: 204mph
Economy: 26.6mpg (combined)
CO2, tax band: 249g/km, 37%
Rivals: Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet, Audi R8 Spyder V10 Plus
With the roof up youâ€™re in a seriously refined and enjoyable environment, certainly far more so than youâ€™d imagine looking at the supercar from the outside. With the roof down that continues. You can even lower the rear windscreen and get a bit more engine noise in â€“ enhanced in this Track Pack version by the sports exhaust with stealth styling.
But it must be said, even with that, the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 doesnâ€™t quite have the visceral noise of a V10 in the Audi R8 or the flat-six in the Porsche 911 GT3. It sounds great but itâ€™s not going to really get the juices flowing in the same way as the best of the rest. But it is quick, tuned to really hammer home those 562 horses more and more as revs rise.
But really itâ€™s not the engine thatâ€™s the best bit. The best bit is the chassis. The carbon tub can withstand having the roof taken off and still itâ€™s brilliant. The electrohydraulic steering is sublime and youâ€™re sat low in the tub for pefect balance and visibility. Youâ€™re at the heart of the machine.
The Track Pack overall knocks off 33kg, which is worth having, but itâ€™s not a huge drop in weight. But itâ€™s been done so neatly and it integrates so well with the rest of the car that it almost seems a natural progression. It grips, pivots, turns and fires in a way that few can match let alone beat. And yet itâ€™s also a great car for longer journeys and can even handle a surprising amount of luggage, way beyond the toothbrush and credit card limit of some of the opposition.
McLaren reckons about 10% of buyers will opt for the Track Pack and you might wonder why it wonâ€™t be more. Perhaps one reason is that this is indeed such a surprisingly practical and comfortable conveyance that many buyers want one for actually driving decent distances in comfort, style and pace. Going on the track isnâ€™t why they bought one.
But if that is one of the reasons for purchase, then this is a natural. An open-top supercar that can handle everything from touring to trackdays â€“ that doesnâ€™t like quite such a small niche after all, does it?