MCLAREN splits its automotive offerings into four main categories. There’s the Ultimate Series, which is where you’ll find its most off-the-chain, price-tag-that-will-make-you-cry cars, like the Speedtail, Senna and Elva. There’s the Super Series, where the 720S, 720LT and 765LT live. There’s the new GT contingent, which at the moment contains just one car — the appropriately named McLaren GT. Then there’s the company’s most accessible class — the Sport Series — where cars with ‘only’ 562bhp and 612bhp belong.
The 620R is, says Times Luxx magazine’s David Green in his video review (above), the range-topping piece atop the Sport Series tower. It has an extra 50bhp on the foundational 570S and 570 Spider, without the fire spitting (literally), fang-bearing ferocity of the 600LT. The 620R is based on the 570S GT4, which has been a success for McLaren both financially and on track, winning races in every championship in which it has competed across four continents since its debut in 2017.
McLaren says the 620R is what the 570S GT4 would be if it was freed from the restrictions of various motorsport regulations, as it “retains the DNA of a fully homologated track car yet is free from the restrictions that race regulations apply.”
The 620R’s circuit pace comes from incredible amounts of downforce generated by a huge carbon spoiler at the rear — taken from the 570S GT4 and made road legal by the addition of an extra brake light — which can generate 155kg of downforce at 150mph. There’s also a splitter on the front to add crucial weight at speed over the front wheels.
McLaren offered Green the opportunity to test the 620R both on the road and on the track, at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk. As a car aimed at the big-walleted track-day enthusiast (the 620R costs £250,000), it’s important for it to transition as seamlessly as possible from the road to the track, and McLaren have done that, with easily manipulated 32 way adjustable dampers, and tyres (by Pirelli) that can be swapped for slicks (also by Pirelli) when you get to the track without further mechanical adjustment. McLaren says this is the first time that has been possible on a road-legal car.
On the road the 620R is comfortable, says Green. The seats, taken from the £750,000 Senna, while thin are fairly cosy. Radio and air conditioning are both free options, meaning you can have a couple of creature comforts if you’re willing to take on the extra weight.
In order shed a few kilos (the 620R actually tips the scales a shade heavier than the 600LT, thanks to the rear spoiler) soundproofing is minimal, meaning that you do get the sound of McLaren’s twin-turbo V8 echoing through the cabin. The engine in question is a 3.8-litre unit that is bespoke for the 620R but hasn’t deviated too far from the V8 used in other McLarens.
On the track, however, is where the 620R shines. It doesn’t have the “lairy” nature of the 600LT, says Green, relying more on its downforce to get round corners quickly. There’s also a Senna-inspired “brake booster”, while the 620R’s 612bhp means that it can get to 62mph from standstill in just 2.9 seconds.
Is the 620R, therefore, the perfect track day car? Its quarter-of-a-million-pound pricetag means that it has a number of uber-desirable competitors, says Green, but he thinks that the McLaren will prove popular. Whether or not this is a “baby Senna” is open to debate, but “people really want to experience that speed on a race track that you just can’t get away with on the roads. And this sort of car, when you can drive it to the track, and you don’t need a team of engineers and mechanics to get you on to the track, will be very attractive to some people.”