An extreme McLaren design concept born in the virtual racing world.Now made real. And ultra-rare. There will only ever be 25 Solus GTs. Rendered possible through McLaren’s position at the apex of motorsport, supercar and hypercar development – this is a pure expression of track driving focus and engagement. A single seater. With central closed cockpit and jet aircraft-style canopy. A ground-up design set free from the compromises of road and race regulations. The unique monocoque houses a naturally aspirated 5.2 litre V10 engine that revs beyond 10,000rpm and generates more than 840PS. In a ruthlessly pared down machine that weighs less than 1,000kg and generates 1,200kg of downforce. It’s as close to the experience and feel of driving a Formula 1 car as you can get.
A DESIGN JOURNEY FROM FANTASY TO REALITY
The radical exterior design of Solus GT is unswervingly faithful to its virtual inspiration. And to McLaren’s ‘everything for a reason’ design ethos. Carved by proven aerodynamic principles. Honed with Computational Fluid Dynamics [CFD] and exhaustive wind tunnel testing. The sense of fantasy transformed into reality is powerfully present in numerous features. The dramatic sliding glass canopy that arcs forward to allow access to the centrally positioned single seat. The aerodynamic pods that shroud each wheel. The epic front splitter that feeds air into ground-effect tunnels before it flows out through the rear diffuser. The motorsport-inspired intake above the cockpit feeding cool air into the engine. Solus GT blurs the boundaries between fantasy and reality.
It began as an audacious, extreme concept sketch. Solus GT then launched into the hot competition of the gaming world with Gran Turismo SPORT in 2017, where it raced to virtual victories. It was from these totally uncompromising roots that the hyper-exclusive track car was born. Untainted by rules or regulations. Straight from the world of imagination to raw, tactile reality.
AERO AT THE APEX
Shaped by proven aerodynamic principles from the start, this is a sports-prototype racing package in every facet and detail. Pure technical sculpture, the carbon fibre body is shrink-wrapped over extreme high-performance engineering elements.
There’s a trademark McLaren ‘hammerhead’ nose and teardrop cockpit with wrap-around canopy screen providing a 180-degree view of the track. There are dramatic wheel pods that help reduce weight and manipulate airflow to minimise turbulence behind each tyre. At the rear you find a full clamshell that allows easy access to the engine bay. Its super-low trailing edges minimise base pressure and cut drag. These are techniques pioneered on the Speedtail hyper-GT.
A twin-element fixed rear wing is one of many visually stunning features on Solus GT. It’s formal beauty is equally functional. Maximising downforce over the rear, working in close harmony with high-downforce ground effect and low pitch sensitivity from the motorsport-derived suspension. This show-stopping feature removes the need for active front and rear wings and helps to reduce weight. Together these innovative and extreme aerodynamic measures create downforce that exceeds the weight of the car and minimises drag. Straight-line performance and cornering prowess are taken to the next level.
A SINGULAR INTERIOR
The unique drama of driving Solus GT begins before the 5.2 Litre V10 engine is started. Entering the cockpit is a vivid experience in itself. A sliding canopy is opened using a finely engineered mechanical lever, and the whole design glides forward in a shallow arc to reveal the single seat cockpit. It’s more fighter jet than car. With cutting-edge safety innovations straight from motorsport, the canopy is reinforced by a halo-like structure. Driver safety is paramount.
Naturally, every last detail of the interior is focused on the driving experience. Taking you as close to the feel of Formula 1 as its possible to go. Built for extreme track performance, it’s a completely bespoke environment. The moulded seat is fitted with a 6-point harness and shaped using a process taken straight from the top level of motorsport. A phenolic resin-based system with micro-bead technology is used to shape a mould, from which each unique seat is then created. It’s the ultimate way to ensure complete comfort, even during the most intense track sessions.
The seat itself is fixed securely in place. The pedal box, however, is fully adjustable – just as in a purpose built racing car. The difference with Solus GT is that you can adjust the pedals easily while seated in the car.
Straight ahead is the carbon fibre steering wheel, which houses most of the primary controls and a TFT display. Everything you need in the heat of the moment is there at a glance or at your fingertips. A comprehensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is fitted to provide true comfort, lap after lap. Above the driver’s head are the ignition switches and a plumbed-in fire extinguisher. Here you’ll also see the rear view display that streams images in real time from a camera mounted on the roll hoop. This provides a clear, wide- angle view to allow traffic to pass on slow-down laps or while manoeuvring in the pit-lane.
LIKE A FORMULA 1 CAR FOR ENTHUSIASTS
Open the graceful canopy and step into the single seat interior. Each Solus GT owner experiences a personal seat fitting. This means the driving position is spot-on and fine-tuned thanks to the adjustable pedal box. Race ready. Beyond the Formula 1 inspired steering wheel, through the curving glass bubble, is a panoramic symmetrical 180-degree view of the track. Perfected by the central driving position. The sculpted wheel pods help the driver to position Solus GT with pinpoint accuracy.
The depth of ability and the sensory overload delivered by this Formula 1-style car for enthusiasts are such that McLaren has created a total ‘racing driver experience’. It starts with the individual seat fitting, but also includes an FIA-homologated race suit, helmet and HANS [head and neck safety] device, plus radio communication technology. We make sure that every second can be savoured.
Every single McLaren since 1981 has been based around a super-light, rigid carbon-fibre monocoque. Solus GT is no exception. It’s how we achieve race- winning, thrilling cars for track and road. Solus GT uses specialist low volume production methods, including a carbon ‘pre-preg’ process that achieves massive structural strength, extreme light weight and the highest uniformity of finish.
CARBON FIBRE TO THE CORE
Solus GT draws most of its inspiration from motorsport. The ruthless pursuit of lightness runs through every fibre of its radical construction. The carbon fibre monocoque is shaped with Formula 1 and sportscar racing technologies. Front and rear impact structures are carbon fibre. The complex curves and forms of the body are carbon fibre – carefully honed and shaped to deliver maximum stability and aerodynamic efficiency.
Although carbon fibre is the dominant material in the creation of Solus GT – straight from the top-tier of motorsport – the halo cockpit protection system and roll hoop are 3D printed titanium. This advanced technique allows for precision tailored design, but also reduces weight.
IN PURSUIT OF THE LIGHT
Solus GT was born in the virtual world. Where everyday constraints and compromises count for nothing. It’s the first ever car to make the leap from screen to track and in doing so loses nothing of the original concept. The unswerving pursuit of lightness has created a McLaren that weighs less than 1000kg. Why should fantasy be weighed down by reality?
The 5.2 litre V10 engine that powers Solus GT is unique. Its crank, capacity, air intake and exhaust system are all bespoke. There are barrel throttles for each individual cylinder – a technology that is strictly for track use and delivers razor-edge throttle response. The camshaft and ancillary systems are gear driven, so the engine is free from chains and belts. Many components are low-volume and machined. In keeping with its pure motorsport lineage, the engine is fixed directly to the monocoque – it’s a structural part of the chassis. This is an approach rarely seen in production cars, but in an extreme track racer it delivers vital strength and rigidity. And a rush of detailed feedback to the driver that means 100% engagement.
Solus GT’s wild engine is controlled using a 7-speed sequential gearbox using racing-style straight cut gears, and a carbon fibre clutch with automated software. It provides a balance of aggressive shifting and user-friendliness. The results of this bespoke, single-minded combination are a 0 – 100km/h [62mph] in a target of 2.5 seconds and a maximum speed beyond 200mph. But it’s the feel and sound and experience that will be remembered most clearly. Eclipsing even these incredible statistics.
Start the engine and force and a force of nature explodes into life. A racing derrived 5.2 Litre V10 that revs beyond 10,000rpm. Every component is designed to maximise performance. Responsiveness. Drive engagement – the feel of Formula 1