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New 804bhp £1.4 million McLaren Elva shows off retro livery

The new McLaren Elva has been shown off in a retro-inspired livery, while the novel wind deflector system has been explained in a Facebook video

New images of the McLaren Elva have been released, showing the car in a new retro-inspired livery created by the Woking based company’s Special Operations division (MSO). 

MSO has decked out the £1.425 million speedster - which accelerates faster than its track-based Senna hypercar sibling and weighs less than any modern McLaren road car - in a livery inspired by the M6A racer.

Piloted to the 1967 Can-Am title by Bruce McLaren himself, it would be the first of five consecutive championship victories in the series for the team.

The M6A was the first McLaren to be finished in the brand’s now iconic orange livery, one mirrored by the Elva M6A Theme. It also features a numbered roundel and retro graphics along the side, including Bruce’s signature. The open cockpit is finished with cream seats highlighted with orange contrast stitching. 

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The Elva has no windscreen, instead using clever aerodynamic tricks to prevent buffeting for the two occupants. The detail behind this was highlighted in a video presented by Director of Engineering Design, Dan Parry-Williams. 

Parry-Williams explains how air sucked into the front air intake is channeled upwards through a vent in the top of the front clamshell. This provides a barrier of air which forces the oncoming breeze over the top of the cockpit, removing the buffeting. At higher speeds, this can be further aided by a small spoiler which deploys to direct more air away from the driver and passenger. But if you prefer having a little extra protection from the elements, McLaren offers a conventional screen, too.

The Elva completes the trio of the brand’s current Ultimate Series models, each of which is designed with a specific purpose. While the Senna’s aim is to lap race tracks at the fastest speed possible, and the Longtail’s is to cover continents at unrivalled speed and comfort, the Elva is all about delivering peak driving enjoyment. 

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The name originates from the McLaren-Elva M1A; a Bruce McLaren-designed racing car that competed to Group 7 regulations in international motorsport in the 1960s and ‘70s. The Elva’s design is a nod to that car, too: The sleek shape features exaggerated curved wheelarches and enlarged air inlets just behind the cockpit. Like the racer, there’s no roof, windscreen or side windows. There are, however, a tiny pair of doors to ease access. 

Lacking any obvious break from inside to out, many of the carbon fibre body panels flow seamlessly into the car’s cockpit. The front clamshell blends into the top of the dashboard, while the panel between the rear buttresses drops down between the seats into the centre console. 

The seats are constructed from carbon fibre and can be trimmed in a waterproofed leather, while the instrument panel moves with the adjustable steering wheel to give the driver an optimum view. McLaren’s usual portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system sits in the centre of the dash, while a digital instrument panel displays the important driving functions. In order to trim further kilos, a sound system is only optional.

As with every other current McLaren, the Elva features a mid-mounted turbocharged V8 engine. The 4.0-litre unit is closely related to the Senna, but at 804bhp, the Elva makes 15bhp more; a result of a combination of improved cooling and a new lightweight exhaust system crafted from Inconel and titanium. Drive is transmitted to the rear wheels through a seven-speed semi-automatic transmission.

The result is a 0-62mph time of less than three seconds. At 6.7 seconds, the 0-124mph time undercuts the Senna’s by a tenth.

The Elva features McLaren’s carbon-composite tub, hydraulic active suspension and carbon-ceramic brake discs. While its official weight is still to be certified, McLaren says it’ll be the lightest modern McLaren.

Like the other Ultimate Series McLarens, production numbers will be limited. Just 399 are to be produced, making it slightly rarer than the Senna (500 units) but available in greater numbers than the 106-run of Speedtails.

Do you like the look of the new McLaren Elva? Let us know your thoughts below...

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