Speedtail prototype kicks off real-world testing

Remember that Speedtail mule we talked about before the car's reveal last month? Well, here it is in all its weird-looking glory. We bring it to you for two reasons: firstly, because McLaren says it's due to begin public road testing next month, and there's always the slender chance that you might actually see one (particularly if you live in the Woking area; or near Folkestone). And secondly, because - in the best tradition of early prototypes - it's a bit of a botch job, what with it wearing a 720S nose from the A pillar forward.

The production car's front end will obviously have its own super-slim headlights and a somewhat different air intake arrangement (if only on a superficial design level). But the counterpoint to the Speedtail's own styling is intriguing - if only because it's not inconceivable that someone might prefer 'Albert' to the look of the hyper GT which McLaren actually plans to build in 12 months.

Why Albert? Well, like much else about the Speedtail, that's an homage to the McLaren F1, which also had a test mule named Albert, and was itself designed on the firm's Albert Drive premises. Naturally, that's not the prototype's official name - this is McLaren after all - where presumably every spreadsheet is headed with the far more officious MVY02. (And if you're wondering about that name, it's a combination of Woking's usual MV initials with Y0 signifying the lateral central point in the XYZ axis on CAD.)

Despite its appearance from the front, the attribute prototype sits on a production-specific Speedtail chassis and features the same 1050hp petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain that is expected to propel the car to its much-heralded 250mph top speed. Kenny Brack, McLaren's still fairly new Chief Test Driver, will be the man predominately tasked with that job as the manufacturer goes through the business of 'honing' the performance of its hyper GT.

"The start of real-world testing represents a major step in the development of the McLaren Speedtail. As the first fully representative prototype, 'Albert' will build on the invaluable work still being put in by earlier development cars, allowing us to sign-off vehicle attributes including chassis dynamics; brake performance; damper tuning; tyres; NVH and aspects of ergonomics and comfort. With a huge amount achieved already, the McLaren Speedtail is well on the way to fulfilling its destiny as the greatest McLaren road car ever," commented Ben Gulliver, Head of Vehicle Development.

Alongside Albert, there are apparently four other earlier development mules already built around the concept of a single, centrally-mounted driving seat. According to McLaren, these too will continue testing alongside the more representative prototypes as it undertakes durability testing across Europe, North America and Africa. Delivery of the real thing to its 106 customers remains pencilled in for early 2020.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (17) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Nerdherder 09 Nov 2018

    Best looking Macca so far. I'm not joking. With the section behind the rear wheels shortened it would be even better.

  • Gandahar 09 Nov 2018

    Much prefer this to the Senna as that was just what has gone before but more so,

    The Speedtail is also what has gone before, but as that was only the F1 then that is fine. It is as the F1 would be for 2018 except for the engine has had to go all 21stC planet hugging smile

    It would be interesting to hear what Gordon Murray thinks about the new Speedtail, PH, can you give him a shout and post his thoughts?


    Edited by Gandahar on Friday 9th November 16:52

  • pycraft 09 Nov 2018

    Nerdherder said:
    Best looking Macca so far. I'm not joking. With the section behind the rear wheels shortened it would be even better.
    Yes, but then it'd be called the Speedstump.

  • coppice 10 Nov 2018

    May the church bells ring out then. Good attempt at peak oxymoron in title - real world , another gazillion quid hypercar destined for sale in 10 years time with 600miles on the clock ...

  • DS240 10 Nov 2018

    That front end on a Speedtail is 100% better than what they have actually launched with.

    The featureless blob of a front end they have gone with left me a bit meh about the whole car. I can’t believe how much better this makes the overall car.

    Links to their other models also.

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