Alex Misoyannis • Reckon the McLaren 600LT is still too soft for you? McLaren has come to the rescue with the debut of the 620R, a road-legal version of its 570S GT4 race car.
Mounted behind the passengers is the same 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine used by the core line-up and ‘regular’ GT4 car, though the lack of racing regulations mean it’s allowed to produce a stonking 456kW of power – or 620PS, thus its name – and 620Nm of torque. (Two reasons to call it a 620R...)
Drive is sent to the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox – enough to enable a 0-100km/h sprint time of 2.9 seconds, and an 8.1-second run from 0-200km/h. Top speed is pinned at 322km/h.
The gearbox features ‘Inertia Push’ technology, which converts accumulated flywheel momentum into a momentary torque boost during upshifts. Stiffer powertrain mounts also aid in reducing flex and stress under acceleration.
Tipping the scales at 1282kg (dry) thanks to its Monocell II carbon-fibre structure, the 620R shares many of its parts with the GT4 racer, including a hardcore aerodynamics package consisting of a reworked front bumper, front splitter, dual-vented front bonnet and race-inspired dive planes, which combine to provide 65kg of downforce.
Also lifted from the GT4 is the mammoth rear wing, mounted 32cm above the body to improve downforce on the track. It’s available in three different configurations – adjusted by your McLaren dealer – the most extreme of which provides up to 185kg of rear downforce at 250km/h.
The 620R rides on motorsport-inspired coilover suspension, with 32-mode, manually-adjustable dampers that save 6kg over standard Sports Series models’ units.
Lighter aluminium wishbones and uprights, stiffer anti-roll bars, solid stainless-steel top mounts and firmer springs over the core Sports Series lineup also feature.
Lightweight 19-inch front and 20-inch rear alloy wheels are fitted as standard, and are wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R semi-slick tyres. Customers can option track-only, full-slick race tyres - the first of their kind ever fitted to staggered wheel diameters like the 620R’s – which offer an 8 per cent larger contact patch over their road-legal equivalent.
Stopping duties are handled by carbon-ceramic brake discs clamped by aluminium brake calipers, measuring 390mm and six pistons up front, and 380mm and four pistons at the rear.
Inside, ‘unnecessary’ interior elements have been stripped out for a more track-oriented feel, including the glovebox, floor carpets, air conditioning system, infotainment display and sound system - however, the latter three can be re-added at no extra cost.
In case the hardcore focus of the car wasn’t already obvious, McLaren has fitted the 620R with lightweight carbon-fibre bucket seats, six-point harnesses, red 12 o’clock steering wheel marker, door pull straps and carbon-fibre trim aplenty.
As with all McLarens, a range of options are on offer, including a bold MSO-designed roof scoop for improved engine cooling, titanium exhaust and a Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system that - confusingly - adds weight.
Just 350 McLaren 620Rs will be built, with production set to commence in January.
Will the McLaren 620R come to Australia?
Australian opportunities for the 620R are still to be confirmed, and with only a relative handful to be built, it's unlikely we'll see many here – if any at all.
The 620R will cost £250,000 in the UK, which comes to just over $480,000 Australian dollars.