London: McLaren is turning fantasy into fact.
The McLaren Solus GT is the real-life version of a McLaren Vision concept car that was featured in the Gran Turismo Sport video game. Legal to drive only on a track, the Solus GT debuted on August 19 at the Quail car show during Monterey car week in Carmel, Calif.
Started in 2013, the vision concept component of the popular video game features futuristic but fictional cars from the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini. Many production vehicles from Bugatti and Porsche are often featured in other video games such as CSR Racing and Forza. But the McLaren Vision GT that debuted in 2017 is the first from the brand to go from game to garage.
“It keeps the original concept of the Vision car, but this is a lot more sophisticated now: a very clean, good design,” says Kazunori Yamauchi, CEO of Polyphony Digital, which created Gran Turismo. Yamauchi, onsite during a media preview on August 18 notes that the progression from virtual reality to real life complements the consumer progression for many gamers.
“Many Gran Turismo players ultimately become loyal customers of sports cars,” he says. “When a player falls in love with cars, about 20 years down the line they are able to buy that car. In the supercar world, there is a genre of customers who is actually a Gran Turismo customer.”
Despite having the name GT, which can sometimes stand for “grand touring,” the Solus GT is primed for anything but a casual cruise. Its naturally aspirated V10 engine gets 829bhp (840hp) and promises a zero-to-60 mph sprint time of less than 2.5 seconds. Top speed is 200 mph.
Owners who are especially keen to live out their Formula One fantasies can purchase an FIA-homologated race suit, a helmet, a bespoke Head and Neck Support (HANS) device, and a driver-development coaching program. The neck support is particularly important, says Bruno Senna, the professional racing driver who has driven the Solus GT prototypes for testing purposes. Driving the Solus GT is “a whole different planet” compared to driving other high-powered McLarens such as the Senna, he says. “This is the closest you can get to a top-end race car,” he said. “It’s friendly to drive but”-definitely for the people who buy it”-they will need a coach.”
McLaren used 3D-printed titanium components comprising the halo cockpit-protection structure and roll hoop. All the carbon fiber and titanium help the car achieve a feather weight of just over 1 ton, or 2,205 pounds. McLaren will make just 25 of the Solus GT, which”-unlike the exclusive-to-the-US McLaren Sabre”-is being sold globally. Pricing starts at $3.6 million. Deliveries will start in 2023.