McLaren's new 620R is a special edition GT4 race car for the street
Back in 2016, McLaren took its awesome 570S sports series street car – which was designed to be the kind of supercar you could drive every day – and turned it into a GT4 race car by gutting it out, then fitting a roll cage, racy suspension, and a few aerodynamic tweaks including a pair of hood nostrils, a bigger splitter, and a big rear wing for cornering downforce.
Now, McLaren in its wisdom has converted the 570S GT4 back into a street car. But it's not the 570S, because that thing was judged a little too cushy and practical. Keeping the aerodynamic mods and low, harsh 32-way adjustable suspension, the team dropped the roll cage, added some carbon-ceramic brakes and then turned its attention to the motor.
McLarens are named after their power output, using the annoying metric horsepower, or German pferdestärke (PS) scale. It's annoying, because there's already a metric unit that converts directly to horsepower: the kilowatt. And pferdestärke are slightly smaller than horsepower; apparently German horses are unionized and only doing 98.6% of the work poor old American horses are putting out. I bet they're getting paid parental leave, too, those saucy nags.
Anyway, McLaren took the 570S motor, which made 562 horsepower, and tuned up the turbos and ECU so it could make 612 horsepower, or 620 PS, allowing the company to give this car a whole new name: 620R. That makes it the most powerful machine in McLaren's Sport series, although the Sport series sits below the Super and Ultimate series...es. And the new GT "tourer" isn't in a series at all.
Are you following? No need to beat yourself up if you're getting a bit lost. McLaren makes a lot of cars. This is essentially a super-harsh, super-racy special edition of the company's entry level sports car, which by anyone else's measure would be a supercar. The doors open upwards, which is all most people really need to see to know that it's a special thing.
In performance terms, it's quick, hitting 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.9 seconds where the 570S takes 3.2. It'll hit 200 km/h (124 mph) from a standstill in 8.1 seconds, and do a top speed of 322 km/h (200 mph). It ships with sticky Pirelli Trofeo R tires, but McLaren has worked with Pirelli to develop a set of racing slicks as well, which fit straight up without needing any further adjustment.
The interior of the 620R is even more spartan and stripped back than that of the 570S, which despite its everyday driver aspirations was still pretty damn focused. Here, the seat belts are replaced with six-point racing harnesses. There's no carpet on the floor. There's no glovebox. There's no stereo, navigation system or air con. Race cars don't have that stuff, so the 620R doesn't either, unless you ask for them, in which case McLaren will put them back at no cost. But don't expect not to be judged for it.
Which leaves us with the exterior. This is a race replica, so you can get it in three McLaren racing colors: orange, white or black, with race livery stuck on top. Or, you can add the graphics in these photos, which are "inspired by the Senna GTR." For my money, it doesn't look all that great on the 620R. Then again, my money's not McLaren money, and you're probably going to want people to know it's not a 570S, because you've paid so much more for it. So hey, you might as well.
Only 350 will be made, at a starting price of £250,000 (US$329,000). Whoa. That's a whopping big bump up from the 570S at £145,000 (US$192,500). Heck, you can get yourself a 720S and move up into the Super series for £220,000 or so (US$284,000).
You'd have to be doing a ton of very serious trackdays to make this thing worthwhile over one of McLaren's slightly softer – but still thoroughly mental – street cars. The suspension will pound your backside, the racing harness will restrict your passenger's selfie angles and every mile you do on the road will be less pleasant. On the other hand, you do get to live out your race car driving fantasies, and when you drop some slicks in and point it at some stripey apexes on track, it'll corner for England. This is a car that'll find its people.