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McLaren Poised for GTE Reveal

McLaren poised to announce GTE-spec car at Geneva Motor Show…

Photo: McLaren

McLaren is poised to become the latest manufacturer to join the GTE ranks, with an announcement likely set for the Geneva Motor Show next week. (En Français)

The British manufacturer is expected to reveal details Tuesday of a new GTE car, likely based on the new McLaren Senna, which would mark the automaker’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in 20 years.

Sportscar365 understands the program would likely also include a factory-backed effort in the FIA World Endurance Championship, potentially starting as soon as the 2019/20 season. 

Details of a possible program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship remain unclear at this point, although McLaren Automotive representatives were on-site at both last year’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans and January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

McLaren would join Aston Martin, BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche with factory or works-supported GTE programs in the WEC or at Le Mans.

As first revealed by Sportscar365 last month, an announcement of a new GTE manufacturer has been imminent, with multiple U.S. and European-based sources pointing to McLaren.

The announcement would come three months after confirmation of a McLaren 720S GT3 for 2018 customer deliveries and amid continued discussions of a possible LMP1 program around the FIA and ACO’s proposed 2020/21 regulations.

McLaren has scheduled a press conference in Geneva for 10:45 a.m. CET (4:45 a.m. ET) on Tuesday to formally unveil the road-going Senna, as well as an “additional surprise.”

A total of 500 examples of the $1.03 million Senna supercar (pictured above) will be produced, all of which have already been allocated to customers.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. GrimBrother One

    March 2, 2018 at 11:58 am


  2. jason

    March 2, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Now this is awesome news! Looks like their entry will come right after Ford’s departure. In the WEC at least.

    Who knows what will happen with IMSA. I hope Ford could stay on an extra year in this series. And who knows about McLaren’s deal with the manufacturer support fee.

  3. Jake

    March 2, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Gee, another homologation special in GTE. Start digging the GTE gravesite

    • daedalus

      March 2, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      500 road cars is not a “homologation special” it a normal production number for a million dollar supercar. The road cars are scheduled to begin deliveries in the third quarter of 2018 long before the racecar hits the track.

      GTE will never be a gravesite thanks to BOP. They could like aston martin run their car in GTE for 10 years with a upgrade or two along the way and still be competitive without breaking the bank.

      • Jake

        March 2, 2018 at 1:33 pm

        That is the problem, racing million dollar halo cars in a GT category. Boutique manufacturers like McLaren racing million dollar cars in a category which is predominantly been based on road going cars that are sold on the market year after year with new models every 5-6 years. Its been shown time and time again its not a sustainable venture. BOP can only do so much to balance the two extremes. Eventually those that race to sell cars, not sell a few cars so you can race, leave first. And costs eventually drive the boutique manufacturers out as well. Specially as interest and coverage of drops.

        • CookieMonsterFL

          March 2, 2018 at 2:49 pm

          All the sport needs to convince are the boardrooms for halo cars.

          McLaren understand that they can get beat by cars that cost less than a tenth their car does. But ultimately fans view the cars looks and weigh very little the cost stacked against each other.

          Time and again – especially in the world of hypercars and budgets, the pricetag attached to each car seems to matter very little.

    • RobertB

      March 2, 2018 at 12:57 pm


      • SVT

        March 2, 2018 at 1:35 pm

        You’re kidding right? Have you watched the 24hr Le Mans race over the past 4yrs?

  4. John

    March 2, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Coincidentally, cameras were inside BMW Motorsport HQ today and caught this reaction:

    (spoken figuratively, not literally, of course)

  5. vanillachinchilla

    March 2, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    See i think this really hammers home the big question of what are GT’s and what are prototypes. I’d personally much rather see this car (or a derivative of it) race as a prototype in the top class. I think (hopefully/sounds like) ACO/FIA might be going in this direction, which makes the timing of this GT car curious. I think its kind of inappropriate that these creative, “halo” creations, like this and the Ford GT are basically forced to choose GTE. Lets not forget the original “GT” won/raced for the overall! I think I’d like to see P1 come back down to earth a little bit to embrace cars more like this, and GT become more of the classic GT – with cars that are essentially/close to identical to the road going versions. The GTE cars today are great but they really aren’t GT’s, especially thinking about how the cars are built as race cars first like the GT or the Porsche which has come signifiant divergence with its road cousin to compete with the “Gt-protos”

    • Jake

      March 2, 2018 at 5:59 pm

      Great point about the timing of this…. Zak Brown has said that McLaren are all for the future P1 regulations going towards a GTP style car. That’s where this type of car would belong. So the timing now to put it in GTE is very odd. And I wholeheartedly agree that these types of vehicles don’t belong in the GT category.

      • AudiTT

        March 2, 2018 at 6:14 pm

        GTP is for prototypes with road car styling cues.

        The McLaren Senna is in direct competition with cars like the 488 Pista (GTO) with 500 being produced per year. The beauty of GTE is you can have cars from the M8 and Corvette, to the Ford GT and Senna.

  6. Davy

    March 3, 2018 at 4:49 am

    That is disappointing. The McLarens are so ugly they wouldn’t add anything to the grid.

  7. Marco

    March 3, 2018 at 7:28 am

    “potentially starting as soon as the 2019/20 season.”
    As for WEC, there is no 2019 season. It’s either 2018/2019 or 2020>>. If they were to enter 2019 leg it would be out of contention and they would need drop outs during the superseason (list is full).
    I could be wrong, but i believe this is how it stands now.

  8. Passenger

    March 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Will they join IMSA GTLM? Or just like Aston only in WEC by budget problem?

  9. TF110

    March 4, 2018 at 12:23 am

    This car is stupid. It’s basically a 720S with some new bodywork and center-lock wheels. They should keep it off race tracks in series like the WEC. Its a million dollar plus ‘supercar’. Imagine how much a race version would be! The Ford GT is already pushing it, we don’t need something like this in GTE. They should use a GTE version of the new 720S GT3. That car already has customers lined up and if they offered a conversion kit like the Ferrari 488 GT3, then you have customers who could switch to WEC/ELMS/IMSA etc. This screams like a cash grab because McLaren is failing. So they (poorly) rebody a 720s, call it a Senna, slap a stupidly overpriced tag on it and think by racing it they’ll get some of their name back. That way the saplings that wasted their money on this fugly thing can feel good about their purchase. I bet companies like Aston Martin and BMW are none too pleased about crap like this being allowed. It sets a precedent too that companies can enter nearly race ready cars that have an inherent advantage of street GT’s turned race cars like the M8 or Vantage.

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