Coming up with a new car is a paingstainkinly complex process that doesn’t stop at it getting ready for production. The company’s latest has to be launched as well, and in a fitting environment with enough tires for Chris Harris to murder. So when they launched the 570S, McLaren basically moved to Portugal for a month to do it right.
Using the miracles of rapid prototyping and the looming shadow of Ron Dennis as a catalyst, what starts out as a combination of a few sketches on some notebook paper and various target numbers in important heads quickly gets turned into highly disguised mules running round and round in closed test tracks.
When those cars can turn and stop well enough to hit the road, their more McLaren-looking evolutions get busy and cover hundreds of thousands of miles driving from the deserts of Arizona to the Arctic Circle in Sweden and back. You’re not supposed to see those either. Only prototypes wearing ‘XP’ or ‘VP’ (standing for experimental and validation) stickers are deemed worthy of the public’s eye.
Since the first member of the Sport Series is their most important car by far, McLaren didn’t take any chances with the 570S’ launch.
Organizing such a gig for about 200 journalists and 60 dealers coming from all over the planet is no walk in the park, so they sent down a crew of fifty McLaren people to the coast of Portugal for a month to keep everything in order, booking most of a local five-star hotel in the process. I didn’t hear anybody complaining about the view.
McLaren only had a fleet of twenty pre-production cars to play with, plus the one they put on the roof terrace. Seriously.
They also parked a 675LT in front of the main entrance which no, we could not drive, and even managed to jam the prototype 650S Can Am into a room under the hotel restaurant, which we couldn’t photograph because it had the wrong seats. Blue ones.
Letting journalists drive a mid-engined supercar on public roads is one thing. They should all know the rules and be able to find the button for the front lift in just in case those front spitters need saving. But McLaren also rented out the rather challenging Portimao Circuit for our hooning pleasure. Did I mention that the 570S is a fast car?
All in all, these bright machines covered over 37,000 hard miles during the month. It took 3,170 gallons of premium unleaded, 10 sets of brake pads and a whopping 100 sets of Pirelli P Zero Corsas to send out the message about the McLaren 570S.
Those four hundred tires also had to make it back to the UK for recycling after Portugal was done with them. As for the cars, somehow, they all survived. Being pre-production models means McLaren will most likely keep some in one piece for future events while others will get disassembled and upgraded to their next specification.
That resulting new model will have the same carbon fiber tub and 3.8 twin-turbo V8, I can promise you that.
A moment of silence, please. May their sacrifice never be forgotten.
Photo credit: McLaren
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