Whilst there will have been some that are confused, or even perturbed, about the lack of a GTE programme announcement at the Geneva Motor Show from McLaren the reality is that the “suprise” unveiling of a GTR version of the Senna hypercar likely points to a somewhat more interesting debate.
Regular DSC readers will be aware of the views of both McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt and Executive Director of the McLaren Technology Group Zak Brown, who have recently been interviewed by the DSC Editor.
Both too, to varying degrees, have referred to a future Le Mans programme, Flewitt saying that GTE was ‘an aspiration’, Brown keen to find a way for the brand to compete for an overall win with a prototype designed to 2020 regulations.
DSC believes that the current situation is that one, but almost certainly not both, is likely to see the light of day in very much the foreseeable future.
The GTR version of the Senna marks intent, or at least potential from the McLaren Automotive side of the business, for a motorsport-relevant version of the Senna.
The ‘LMP1’ part of the debate meanwhile is rather dependent, to some degree at the very least, in the FIA/ACO/IMSA triumvirate finding a solution to a globalised top class in the near future. Any new car though, would be for the 2020/21 season at the earliest (the first for the planned new regulations).
That decision, if it is coming, will need to come fairly quickly if the one unmovable deadline in the debate, the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours, and the 25th anniversary of McLaren’s overall win, is to be met.
Whether the decision is a GTE car to mark that milestone, or a prototype effort for a following season, it’s an announcement that we’ll be waiting for with anticipation.