The McLaren Speedtail consistently achieved its 403km/h top speed in test runs on a runway. Picture: SUPPLIED
The McLaren Speedtail consistently achieved its 403km/h top speed in test runs on a runway. Picture: SUPPLIED

McLaren's new Speedtail has officially achieved 403km/h — as the factory promised it would when the car was first unveiled in November 2018.

The company's chief test driver, Kenny Brack, recently took the new British supercar up to that speed at the space shuttle landing runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, US — and he did it more than 30 times.

The high-speed tests concluded a programme carried out at several test facilities worldwide, including Idiada in Spain and Papenburg in Germany.

The Speedtail is the successor to the legendary F1 road car of the 1990s which was designed by SA-born Gordon Murray. It is McLaren’s ultimate roadcar, positioned above the 720S and even the extreme, track-focused Senna.

Hand-assembly of the Speedtail has now commenced at the McLaren Production Centre in Woking, UK, with deliveries starting in February. As with the original McLaren F1, only 106 units of the Speedtail will be produced, all of which are already spoken for at a base price of R32.5m.

The car has a central driving seat just like the McLaren F1, with two passenger seats located diagonally to the sides, while access to the three-seater cockpit is gained by power-operated dihedral doors. At almost 5.2m long, the carbon-fibre-bodied three-seat Hyper GT is the most aerodynamically drag efficient McLaren yet and a showcase for the brand’s expertise in lightweight engineering.

With its top speed of 403km/h the Speedtail becomes the fastest McLaren road car to date (faster even than the 391km/h F1), but it’s rolled up with what McLaren describes as an unprecedented blend of craftsmanship, materials innovation and  personalisation.

“It’s fitting that the Speedtail’s high-speed test programme concluded with multiple maximum-speed runs at a location strongly associated with pushing the boundaries of extreme performance and engineering excellence,” said McLaren Automotive CEO, Mike Flewitt. “The Speedtail is a truly extraordinary car that epitomises McLaren’s pioneering spirit and perfectly illustrates our determination to continue to set new benchmarks for supercar and hypercar performance.”

The Speedtail’s petrol-electric hybrid powertrain delivers the greatest power and torque of any McLaren road car, with outputs of 786kW and 1,150Nm. Apart from its top speed, the straight-line acceleration also set new benchmarks for McLaren, with 0-300km/h achieved in less than 13 seconds.

The batteries constantly self-charge when the Speedtail is driven, and a wireless charging pad trickle-charges the vehicle when it's parked.

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