The “Longtail” moniker was born more than two decades ago. It was conceived with a simple idea: create the purest version of a championship winning car. The McLaren F1 GTR “Longtail” was an evolution of the only car to ever win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in its first attempt. Add power while significantly reducing weight. Increase aerodynamic efficiency. Improve braking performance, shift speeds, mechanical grip. These engineering principles developed 20 years ago stay true to the current McLaren Longtail offering – the 600LT.
You can only reach a fraction of a McLaren 600LT’s potential on the streets of Beverly Hills. Enough to get the idea of what the car is capable of, while keeping in mind that safety is always the priority on public roads. The bumper to bumper dread is the reality for most Angelinos. Stop light to stop light, constant change of lanes, bridge a gap – repeat. So, it’s nice to know that the 600LT handles that aspect with the best of them. Though, to truly grasp the capabilities of this car, we need to head to the private playground in the desert known as The Thermal Club… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
While opening the dihedral doors on the 600LT, it sheds light into the sparse, purposeful cabin. The first time I dropped into the super light carbon fiber bucket seat, I felt connected to the bare carbon chassis. With the push of a button, my sensations were dialed up to 11. The vibrations of the engine traveled through my spine. The steering is noticeably heavier. There is no forward creep when I let off the brake pedal. She’s light, but strong. I get it. I’m in an LT.
The first opportunity I had to smash the 600LT pedal to the floor was at Thermal Club. I laughed out loud as I took a few pulls of the right paddle. It was enough to get me to my first breaking zone; 4th gear, 3rd gear, 2nd gear, a snap and a pop between each shift. The speed of the 600LT in a straight line is remarkable and shines in the corners. This is the first road car I have driven where the cornering limitations are beyond belief. With the handling mode set to Track, the 600LT is pancake flat through the sweeping turns. Lap after lap, my neck muscles began to give way before the super sticky Pirelli Trofeo R tires. Combine the stomach dropping acceleration with the handling of a track car, and the added brakes of a supercar…you’ve discovered the recipe for the 600LT.
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