Why did McLaren name its latest supercar Senna?

Ayrton Senna da Silva still looms large over the worlds of motorsport and McLaren. One need only utter the name and a flurry of thoughts related to speed, driving precision, and winning all come rushing to mind. Senna, who died in a tragic accident in 1994, spent the better part of his Formula One career with McLaren, so the two are forever intertwined. That relationship is growing tighter as McLaren is preparing to offer the Senna supercar.

To call your car Senna is a bold move, but McLaren makes bold cars, and the team has many reasons for ascribing such a moniker to a machine like this. Mostly, it’s about passion and an obsession with making the car the best it can be. McLaren say it’s an obsession with detail and a desire to go fast. Senna the man had that, and now Senna the car is built on those principles.

“His values, and his drive and determination, and his quest for excellence, influenced not only his life but the way we do cars at McLaren,” says Dan Parry-Williams, engineering design director for McLaren, in the video above. His passion for the Senna rings loud and clear.

As the Senna undergoes final testing at the Circuito Monteblanco, the engineering and design team is on hand to talk more about this project in this video. Everyone who steps in front of the camera has is proud to be associated with this car. That makes perfect sense, as the Senna grabs a piece of McLaren history and attaches it to a new hypercar.

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This appears to be a beastly machine ready to wear a legendary moniker. It needs to perform well to earn the name Senna, and the early numbers seem to promise that it will do just that. Preliminary numbers show a 0-60 mph time of 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph. More important than those two numbers, or its seven-figure price tag, will be the sort of numbers it can put up at tracks all over the globe.

McLaren will no doubt undergo some exploration in the realm of lap records, and the Senna should help the company forge a fresh path in that arena as well. As Parry-Williams says, McLaren is pushing boundaries it has never pushed before.

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