Less than a year after McLaren revealed its existence to the world, the McLaren Solus GT — a car that owes much of its origins to a virtual concept car for Gran Turismo Sport — has beaten all-comers to win the famous Goodwood Festival of Speed Timed Shootout.
The Solus GT is in effect a production version of the McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo. This was a car created for Gran Turismo’s Vision GT project by then director of design Rob Melville, largely free from real-world constraints.
In virtual form the car sports McLaren’s traditional V8 turbo — as the four-liter M840T unit — driving the rear wheels, combined with individual front-wheel motors to produce 1,134hp. It also features an unusual prostrated driving position.
Following positive reception to the Vision GT car, McLaren gave its design and engineering teams a brief to turn it into a workable real-life track car to be produced as an extremely limited model for exclusive customers.
That meant a more familiar driving position, though the car remains a single-seater, and the battery and motors had to remain in the virtual world as the technology to keep them and meet the target weight of one metric tonne doesn’t yet exist.
The powertrain also has one final major change, with the road engine replaced by a motorsport-derived 5.2-liter V10 based on a Judd endurance engine. This delivers all 830hp to the rear wheels alone.
Despite limited opportunities to practice, following the cancellation of Saturday’s running due to high winds, McLaren factory driver Marvin Kirchhofer was able to pilot the Solus GT into an exclusive club of cars that have recorded a 45-second time up the hill at 45.34s.
That was enough to claim the Timed Shootout by just over a second from Travis Pastrana’s custom-built Subaru Leone GL “Family Huckster”. Another McLaren, the 1976 M26 F1 car driven by Michael Lyons, took third place
It’s McLaren’s second overall victory in the past three events, with the 720S GT3X winning in the hands of Rob Bell in 2021 — in a slightly quicker time.
Deep-pocketed fans of McLaren who are tempted to splash out for a Solus GT based on the run, and excellent noise, are sadly a little late to the table. McLaren sold all 25 examples, each of which is customized to its owner, before it was even revealed.