McLaren 570GT: PH Fleet


In our recent triple-test you may have heard me say the 570GT wasn't all that on track. The ingredients are there but on Anglesey Circuit the GT felt strangely out of sorts, with front-end numbness you don't sense on the road and impression Brake Steer simply wasn't as good at getting the power down as a 'proper' locking diff. That's fine though. This is the leather-lined luxury end of the Sports Series range. If you crave a sharper drive you'd go for a 570S, right?

Pre-track check part of the McLaren treatment
Pre-track check part of the McLaren treatment
For all that I wasn't going to turn down an invitation to a Pure McLaren track day at Silverstone. Held at circuits across the world, these customer events showcase McLaren Automotive's product and mindset, whether you're a 'prospect' considering defection from another brand, an existing owner or taking your first steps toward competing in a customer race car. I joined the second of the four-day Silverstone programme, garages full of 570 GT4s and P1 GTRs awaiting the weekend sessions suitable inspiration for where ownership of a McLaren road car could eventually lead you. Depending where you do it the basic entry for a day like this comes in at about £1,000.

First step was to get the car to Silverstone for its pre-track check. Running 'your' McLaren at one of these events has certain benefits, not least a restricted number of like-minded owners on track. No fear of some idiot in a GT-R running into you or being humiliated by Caterhams, in other words. Factory support also means you keep your warranty intact.

Once checked your car is held in 'parc ferme' until a similar end-of-day inspection. Track day regulars may consider this unnecessary control freakery; for owners new to the brand and - seemingly in many cases - track driving I'd say it's a comforting introduction to what could be an intimidating experience.

All McLarens more than welcome here!
All McLarens more than welcome here!
The package includes a session of instruction too, the pro drivers familiar faces from press events I've done and including the chap who chaperoned me round Vallelunga in the 720S. Indeed, from these guys to casual attendance by the likes of senior McLaren suits up to and including boss Mike Flewitt you're very much encouraged to feel part of the family. Flewitt and his colleagues are great ambassadors too, happily mixing with owners, chatting over coffees and ready to engage about all matters McLaren. Or just cars, Flewitt eager to share in the excitement over the fully-specced, delivery miles M3 he'd spotted going for a song in the PH classifieds and bought as his new daily.

All good fun and with Anglesey fresh in my mind I didn't have huge expectations, beyond looking forward to finally stretching the 570's legs a bit. Boy was I forced to recalibrate! Silverstone is a fast circuit of course. 168mph along Hangar Straight and into the braking zone for Stowe is a bit serious though. This in the most road-oriented product in the McLaren range. I shouldn't have been surprised that Silverstone's space and flowing corners would be more suited to the Sports Series, but I was shocked at the night and day difference in the way the car felt.

GT feels more at home on a big circuit
GT feels more at home on a big circuit
Through the slower corners at Anglesey it felt like the front tyres were being absolutely murdered, turn-in understeer contained but clearly working the shoulders of the Pirellis very hard indeed. There are slow corners at Silverstone. But plenty of really fast ones too. Trailing the brakes into committed turns like Woodcote helped settle the nose, doing this left-footed (as the pedal arrangement encourages) meaning I could pick up the throttle early to have the turbos spooled up for the exit. On a track more accommodating of such a flowing style the GT is absolutely brilliant and feels astonishingly fast, heat in the exhausts unleashing volleys of bangs and pops I'd not heard before. Lag has been criticised by some as an irritation at road speeds but the explosive lunge towards 8,000rpm with the turbos fully lit is absolutely addictive. And this is meant to be a GT car? All things relative, seemingly.

With everything turned up to Track the damper support means your feedback comes more from steering and seat of the pants than it does sensations of pitch and roll but you can still play with the weight distribution in the corners. As on the road the Brake Steer and stability control are tactful in their interventions, loosening the reins to the mid-way setting introducing a little more mobility and throttle adjustability. I did a couple of laps with everything off and gassed it out of the slower turns to see what would happen, with the caveat this wasn't really the place to be attempting showboating and such pratting about still doesn't come naturally to McLarens. Fast and neat it was then. Really fast and neat. Really, really fast.

Later in the day I got to try out a 570S fitted with figure-hugging fixed seats, ceramic brakes and P Zero Corsa tyres. The faster rack gives it a pointier and more agile feel, the ability to lean harder on brakes and tyres making it seem more playful too. But the GT didn't give as much away to it as I expected. And for the kind of customer who might do most of their driving on the road and treat themselves to one or two such events over the course of their ownership it certainly wasn't disgraced.

Ceramic brakes? Don't need them!
Ceramic brakes? Don't need them!
Especially impressive were the standard iron brakes - repeated big stops didn't see them flinch, the pedal remaining absolutely consistent the whole day. Less grabby on the road, rock solid on the track and a saving of £7,440 over the ceramics? Given they only add 500g per corner to the unsprung weight there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of compromise there, beyond posing points. Elsewhere the tyres are past their best now but given how many laps I did that's not unreasonable. A track setting for the tyre pressure monitors might be handy though - having the pressures corrected by the pit crew when you come in is a nice touch, but if you go for a coffee you have to endure a couple of laps of strident warnings until the tyres get back up to pressure. Which is ruddy annoying, frankly.

And that's about the worst I can say about the experience!

Onboard around Silverstone with the 570GT


FACT SHEET
Car
: McLaren 570GT
Run by: Dan
On fleet since: April
Mileage: 4,195 (or over a quarter or my 'allowance')
List price new: £178,735 (Basic list price of £155,755, plus Elite Ice Silver paint £3,490, Super-Lightweight Forged wheels in Stealth £3,490 + £1,110, red brake calipers £900, Rocket Red badge set, Vehicle Tracking System £630, Sports Exhaust £3,240, Luxury Design 2 package in Saddle Tan and Carbon Black from By McLaren Designer Interiors £2,520, Carbon Fibre Interior Pack £2,500, GT Upgrade Pack £5,020, first aid kit and warning triangle £60)
Last month at a glance: 'GT' or not the 570 proves all supercar at Silverstone

Previous updates:
The joy of specs
Taking delivery
Videoblog
Enjoying the new supercar smell


 


 

 

 

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Comments (9) Join the discussion on the forum

  • gareth29 13 Jun 2017

    Looks like fun!

  • Streetrod 13 Jun 2017

    For the slow McLaren, that looks flipping quick, and good driving by the way

  • Marwood79 14 Jun 2017

    Oh my... What a s*** job you have 😄

  • HeMightBeBanned 14 Jun 2017

    Sounds understeery

  • jason61c 14 Jun 2017

    why would a track day invalidate the warranty?

    Surely the only worry about a gt-r is that it might not keep up with a gt-r on track?

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