Final, fastest and by far the rarest of the Sports Series McLarens is thoroughly engaging and rewarding
A few years back, McLaren entered the lucrative GT4 race arena and its 570S-based race car has done fine business ever since, winning on four continents and selling in triple-digit quantities.
I raced one at Spa and loved all bar two aspects: first, GT4 regs pegged its engine back to a tepid 320kW just to give the others a chance; and once done, I had to leave it at the track.
Both of which problems this new 620R is here to solve. In broadest-brush terms, it is a street-legal GT4 car with an engine wound up to 455kW. Contrary to what you might think, it is not a 600LT turned up to 11 but a distinct programme aimed at bringing as much of the GT4 experience to the street as possible without it being hideous to drive, which, with race-grade ground clearance, spring rate and suspension camber, the GT4 would likely be.
With a replacement due in 2021, it is also the last of the Sports Series McLarens. Just 225 will be built, down from the 350 originally mooted because, says McLaren, Covid-19 has delayed production and it needs the line for the new car. However, it is also true that the 620R is by no means sold out.
Key attributes include fitment of the GT4’s two manually adjustable passive shock absorbers (with 32 clicks for bump and rebound), bespoke springs and bars, solid top mounts and the option of a bespoke Pirelli slick in addition to standard Trofeo R rubber.
The adjustable rear wing is essentially the GT4’s with softened radii for homologation purposes, while a new front bumper, splitter and (carbonfibre) bonnet contribute to 185kg of downforce at 240km/h.
Inside, there are race harnesses as well as inertia-reel belts and carbon used for elements such as the shift paddles, steering wheel spokes and centre console. The lightest dry weight for the car is 1282kg.
On the road, the 620R is good enough. There are plenty of pure road cars that ride far worse and noise levels are acceptable. The new bonnet scoops hurt luggage space, but you’ll still be able to go away in it. And it is rather rapid: its 0-100km/h time matches the deranged 720S’s, and by 200km/h it has lost only 0.3sec to its 75kW-stronger big sibling.
On slicks on the track, you can barely believe the 620R is road legal despite the fact that the rubber is significantly harder than the race tyres, which are fit only for the bin after about an hour. Even this very durable slick will not only take around three seconds off your lap time on a typical circuit compared with a Trofeo R, transforming your traction, braking and grip, but it’ll last significantly longer, too.
But the 620R is not a racing car, and for reasons of ride height, suspension geometry and spring rate, it never could be. One of McLaren’s people guesstimated to me that the GT4 and 620R would lap in similar times, despite the former being a minimum of 110kW down on power. But so long as you can crack the conundrum of how you get your slicks to the circuit, the 620R would still be an absolutely epic track-day weapon. It’s super-quick, delightfully involving and fall-off-log easy to drive with the safety systems engaged, although far better balanced and rewarding without. I enjoyed every second.
So what are people are paying for?
Well it’s the fact that this will be McLaren Automotive’s scarcest road car in its decade-long history. There are over twice as many Sennas in existence as there will be 620Rs, and even the legendary P1 is relatively common by comparison.
And that makes the 620R not just a very special car, but a quite exceptionally rare one, too.
McLaren 620R specification
Where Norfolk, UK Price Estimated $600,000+ On sale now Engine V8, 3799cc, turbo, petrol Power 455kW at 7500rpm Torque 620Nm at 5500rpm Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic Kerb weight 1386kg Top speed 320km/h 0-100km/h 2.9sec Rivals Ferrari 488 Pista, Porsche 911 GT2 RS