Motor sport

McLaren Solus GT turns virtual into 200mph rule-breaking reality

I understand that the engine is not McLaren’s own design, but one created for it by Engine Developments Ltd, better known to most people as Judd. And it would seem linked to the GV V10 engine which was first used in sports car racing in 2004 and has since provided Judd customers with numerous podium places at Le Mans and won the European Le Mans series. So while it might not be a McLaren engine per se, it should definitely prove to be more than enough.

But in fact, and perhaps unusually for such cars where on-track performance always seems the ultimate goal, the Solus GT seems to want to appeal as much for its sci-fi design as for its racing engineering. There are pretty meaningless performance claims (0-62mph in 2.5 seconds, top speed over 200mph for what they’re worth very little), but you won’t find any claims anywhere that it is “as fast as a Formula 1 car” or similar. And there are two clear reasons for this, the first and most obvious being that it won’t. Not even close. Heavier, less powerful and with a fraction of the downforce of the real thing, the Solus clearly wouldn’t see which way a modern F1 had gone, as if that mattered. No lap times, even simulations, are claimed. Instead, its goal is to bring all the looks, power and performance of an imaginary car designed without rules to the PlayStation generation and make it real.

That’s why it’s a single seater and why you get to the cockpit not through something as trivial as a door, but by sliding the canopy forward and going over it, at the way of a jet fighter. Once inside, the controls are much like those of a Formula racing car with information displayed via a steering wheel-mounted digital display. Rear vision is achieved through a camera system.