The McLaren 600LT has debuted at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, with a full suite of technical details and limited production plans. The automaker says it's the lightest, most powerful, and quickest road-legal car in the company's Sports Series. And starting at just below a quarter of a million dollars, it's a relative bargain.

Few companies can claim independence and autosport race winning in the same sentence. McLaren is one of those few companies. The supercar maker has built the dream so many industrialists and hopefuls have had in the past: make road cars to sell to the discerning public so you can fund your racing habit. The latest from the race car dynamo is the McLaren 600LT (or Long Tail).

The term "Long Tail" is how McLaren says "track-focused," and the 600LT is definitely that. It's basically a more performance-oriented version of the 570S. Indeed, McLaren says that only about 25 percent of the 600LT is unique from that model. Most of those changes are to improve aerodynamic downforce and performance metrics.

Those changes pay off with the McLaren 600LT producing 592 bhp (441.5 kW) of umph from its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. Peak horse comes at 7,500 rpm while peak torque, rated at 457 pound-feet (619 Nm), comes at 5,500-6,500 rpm. These numbers give the 600LT a 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time of just 2.8 seconds and a 0-124 mph (199.5 km/h) time of only 8.2 seconds. The aerodynamics produce an incredible 220.5 lb (100 kg) of downforce at 155 mph (249 km/h).

Aiding those numbers are the McLaren 600LT's unique exhaust and aerowing setups. The exhaust gimmick was introduced in June and has the exhaust system coming straight off the engine and porting out the upper rear deck, just over the wing. This aids in downforce. McLaren calls this a "top-exit exhaust system." The shortened pipes also lower back pressure from the exhaust into the engine.

Other changes to the McLaren 600LT versus the 570S are derived from the more upmarket Super Series (think 720S) to include a double wishbone aluminum suspension system and stiffer anti-roll bars. These reduce ride height by 8 mm (0.31 inches) versus the 570S. Retuned steering brings faster responses, and the overall weight of the 600LT is only 2,749 lb (1,247 kg) in its lightest configuration – about 220.5 lb (100 kg) lighter than the 570S.

To keep up with the extreme downforce and more track-focused appeal of the McLaren 600LT, the automaker turned to specially-designed Pirelli P Zero tires for the car. The Trofeo R tires are made to deal with more downforce and circuit cornering speeds than are the tires on the McLaren 675LT which the 600LT replaces.

Braking is also important in a car this fast. The lightweight calipers and ceramic discs are designed to slow the 600LT from 124 mph to a full stop in just 383.9 feet (117 m). Of course, to paraphrase Andretti, only a fool thinks that brakes are for slowing the car down. Instead, the carbon ceramics on the McLaren 600LT are capable of pulling and tilting the car into corners and cooling off quickly afterwards.

The McLaren 600LT will be offered with an MSO Clubsport or Clubsport Pro package, which adds a mere $30,000 or so to the price tag, giving the car extreme lightweight upgrades. These include carbon fiber race seats, some carbon fiber interior points, extended gearshift paddles, and carbon fiber exterior elements plus titanium wheel bolts. The Pro pack adds track harness to MSO spec.

The wheels on the McLaren 600LT are ultra-lightweight aluminum alloy with a 10-spoke as standard and an optional 5-spoke offered as an upgrade. These are the lightest wheels ever fitted to a McLaren Sport Series car, the company says.

Production of the 600LT will begin in October and run for about 12 months. Availability of the car will be limited, although McLaren does not say how many copies will be built. Pricing starts at US$240,000, which will include a Pure McLaren Road Owner Track Day at a race circuit, with expert driving tutoring included.

Source: McLaren

View gallery - 13 images