The Goodwood Festival of Speed is fairly young in relation to other motorsport events, but it’s become one of the most popular mainly due it being an old fashioned good time. Held on an expansive estate in West Sussex, England, the event consists of short runs in a mix of cars — vintage, racing, production, electric, and so on — just for the sake of doing so.
Though the runs are timed, it’s as low stakes as these things go, but automakers still show up with their latest products to showcase their abilities. The main attraction is the hill climb, a speedy dash up a hay bale-lined incline that’s just over a mile long. It’s got nine turns total and sprints take less than a minute for the faster vehicles. This year, it was McLaren’s Solus GT that scored the quickest time in the famous shootout, a limited-edition track toy that’s as fast as it is stunning.
The Solus GT is the latest vehicle to be part of McLaren Automotive’s Ultimate series, the hyper-exclusive lineup of sports cars that push the limits of the sport carmaker’s limits in terms of engineering, design and performance.
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Based in no small part on the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo concept featured in Sony’s Gran Turismo Sport racing game, the Solus GT is a single-seat rear-wheel drive sports car powered by a mid-mounted 5.2-liter naturally aspirated V10 engine. It gins up 829 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, sending to the rear by way of a 7-speed sequential gearbox. Given that it only weighs just over 2,000 pounds, the McLaren is built to practically fly.
Thankfully, the Solus’s bodywork is designed to provide up to 2,646 lbs of downforce when it’s near top speed, which McLaren claims is over 200 mph. Given that and its 2.5-second 0 to 60 time, it’s easy to see how it managed to scorch Goodwood’s famous hill climb.
Piloted by McLaren factory driver Marvin Kirchhöfer, the Solus GT weaved up the narrow and precarious course in just 45.34 seconds, topping out at 149 mph as it crossed the line and beating all of the day’s participants. It’s not the hill climb’s fastest time, that honor goes to the McMurtry Spéirling, an all-electric prototype that set a 39-second record time last year, but it’s certainly up among the quickest ones.
Those eager to get some seat time in the Solus GT will have to roll over to the McLaren Technology Center in Woking with four or so million dollars in a wheelbarrow for the privilege. Customers who manage to snag one of the 25 build slots will be treated to special track events along with custom gear and a seat molded to their specific shape. I think we’re going to stick to the Gran Turismo version, but it’s fun to dream.
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