I devoted a great amount of time to the Speedtail in Geneva. I kept going back to the McLaren stand to get some nice shots, to get all the best angles and to get the lighting right. It was tricky because the car was covered in people all the time.
I walked in the PalExpo in the morning and I made straight for the McLaren stand, the Speedtail was already surrounded by the people and, right away, I was told I wasn’t allowed to sit in the car because it is a prototype. So I waited, and then I waited some more. And then some more and then finally I managed to take a couple of decent photographs.
Then Richard Mille arrived. The good news is this helped a little bit because it redirected everyone’s attention away from the car for a while, the bad news is that this diverted my attention too, because I’m a huge fan of Richard Mille watches. When I went back to the car, there still was quite a crowd around it and so I went for a coffee.
After a little while, I went back and saw that Nicki Shields was there. Now, Nicki is my favourite TV personality and I absolutely adore her, which means that when she’s around, she cast too big of a shadow for me to pay attention to anything else. Luckily, she was there to do some filming with the car as well, and so my attention was back to the Speedtail. But by the time her work was done, a friend of mine arrived, to do some filming, and so I helped him because I’m a good soul.
When he was done with his film, he left and when I got back to the car three people from a Qatari TV broadcaster were doing a piece to camera. So I waited, and then waited some more and I grabbed a few quick pictures again. I wanted to do some filming but I got a call from a friend who works for a Japanese carmaker, I won’t say the name and I can only tell you it begins with S and ends with Uzuki, and he asked me to join him at the stand for a coffee because there was important news about something or other.
Then, in the late afternoon after 9 coffees, I finally managed to do (almost) everything I had in mind.
The McLaren Speedtail is a 2-door coupe, the spiritual successor to the McLaren F1, and the first thing you notice is how long it is, over 5 metres (5,137 mm).
It is built with something called “electrochromic” glass, which brightens or darkens at the push of a button. There are no sun visors and there are no door mirrors as the Speedtail uses pop-out HD cameras that only appear after you’ve turned the engine on. They also retract automatically in what the company calls “Velocity mode”, to increase its aerodynamic efficiency. You’ll notice that the front wheels and back wheels are different because the front wheels are covered by static carbon fibre covers to reduce drag.
Inside it has the same 3-seat layout as the McLaren F1. The driver sits at the exact centre of the car while the other two passengers will sit behind him/her to his/her left and right.
McLaren only revealed some of the figures about this car but not all of them, so what we know for certain is that this car is a hybrid of sorts with 1,035 hp and a top speed of 402.3 kph (250 mph) and 0-300 kph (186 mph) time of 12.8 seconds. Just like the original McLaren F1, the production of the Speedtail is limited to 106 units only.
It was love at first sight.
this article was previously published in my tribe on Drive Tribe, Game Changers