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McLaren 765LT Spider is brand’s fastest drop-top

‘Long tail’ name comes to limited-build McLaren 765 Spider, orders already in

2 Aug 2021

THE most powerful convertible McLaren to date, the 765LT Spider, will shoot from 0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds and put a roughly half-million-dollar dent in your wallet when it arrives Down Under, although the exact timing to still to be confirmed.


It seems the 765LT Spider is so appealing that money may be irrelevant – particularly as the 2021 allocation of the 765-unit production run has already been exhausted with 2022 orders also filling fast.


The drop-top version of the 765LT (sold out) enjoys all the same performance as the coupe with the same 563kW/800Nm outputs coming courtesy of a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8.


Live in a country with open speed limits and the Spider will carry you to 200km/h from rest in 7.2 seconds and push on to a top of 330km/h.


The carbon-fibre convertible mirrors the coupe’s abilities without any structural compromise – including no additional bracing – and only a minimal 49kg weight increase. 


The retractable hard top and accompanying operating mechanism means the 765LT Spider weighs in at 1388kg – 80kg lighter than a 720S Spider and about 100kg lighter than its closest comparable competitor. 


McLaren Automotive chief engineer James Warner said “the weight delta between 765LT coupe and Spider” was kept to “an absolute minimum”.


“The exacting development of the RHT and the fact the chassis doesn’t need any stiffening ensure that the Spider is in every respect a true driver’s car – extremely track-focused and dynamically the equal of the coupe,” he said.


Balance the weight up against the engine output and the 765LT Spider has a 440kW-per-tonne power/weight ratio which McLaren says is class leading for a convertible.


Speaking of the roof, the electrically operated, one-piece carbon fibre retractable hard-top (RHT) can be erected or folded in just 11 seconds and can be used at speeds of up to 50km/h.


Keep the roof on and occupants can still get the open-air sound of the exhaust thanks to the Spider’s electric back window.


A quad-pipe titanium exhaust system is said to be 40 per cent lighter than a steel equivalent with order weight-saving measures including Formula 1-grade transmission materials and thinner glass in the windows and windscreen.


The Spider also uses the same carbon-fibre aerodynamic package as the coupe but adds an active rear wing calibrated to suit the position of the roof.


McLaren says the 765LT Spider generates 25 per cent more downforce than a standard 720S Spider.


Carry overs from the coupe include the enhanced chassis dynamics with bespoke LT springs and dampers, increased front track width, lower front ride height and unique software programming for linked-hydraulic Proactive Chassis Control II suspension.


It rides on 10-spoke ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels – saving 22kg – wrapped in bespoke Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres.


Comfort and convenience features include a motorsport-inspired interior with carbon-fibre racing seats developed from the Senna, carbon-fibre centre tunnel, exposed carbon-fibre floor and lightweight Alcantara upholstery throughout.


However, air-conditioning and an audio system are not included as standard – to save weight – but can be specified at no additional cost.


The company first adopted the ‘long tail’ name about 25 years ago when its extreme lightweight version of the Le Mans-winning McLaren F1 GTR race car, wearing a stretched body, won the 1997 FIA GT Championship. 


McLaren said that the principles behind that car of “ultra-low weight, enhanced aerodynamics, extreme performance and absolute driver engagement” were revisited in 2015 with the 675LT.


“The new 765LT Spider, like its predecessors, stays true to those ‘long tail’ principles, placing the driver at the very centre of the sensory, dynamic and – especially in this case – auralexperience, the triple-patented retractable hard top roof taking driver engagement to an ever-higher level,” the company said in a statement.

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