McLaren will show off five different special-edition cars at the upcoming 2018 Geneva auto show, but only the car seen here will be in physical attendance; the others will be displayed on screens. Tagged the Carbon Theme, this Senna has been liberated of much of its paint, exposing through its gloss clear-coat finish the intricate carbon-fiber weave that makes up the body of the car. The little splashes of color that are applied serve as a reinterpretation of Ayrton Senna’s yellow, green, and black helmet. Because naming the car after the late Brazilian racing legend wasn’t a big enough gesture.
Exposed carbon-fiber bodies have become something of a trend in supercars (just ask Bugatti), but McLaren Special Operations (MSO) gave the Senna a bit of extra pizazz to set it apart. According to McLaren, the Senna’s body is composed of 67 individual parts and takes close to 1000 hours to craft. Just to paint the sills, rear wing, and front and rear aero pieces in Solar Yellow added nearly 250 hours of labor.
Other spots of color include Laurel Green brake calipers and door struts and satin Memphis Red and Vega Blue center-locking wheel nuts (the left side is red, the right side is blue). The combination of the Laurel Green and Solar Yellow are a direct reference to Senna’s racing helmet, but there’s no explanation of the significance of the blue and red. Our best bet would be a nod to his racing suit, which featured red and blue, or perhaps a call to Brazil’s national flag, which features a blue sky.
Additional visual pop comes via Senna logos and branding on the wing and the front left fender, and the featured wheels are a new option. McLaren calls it a hybrid wheel, as the seven-spoke design uses a combination of forged aluminum and carbon fiber. At 16.5 pounds, the front wheels are approximately 10 percent lighter than the standard wheels.
The interior is less flashy but still maintains the overall motif. The dash, steering wheel, and center tunnel are all crafted in part with carbon fiber. Carbon Black Alcantara adorns the seats, steering wheel, and dash, with Solar Yellow contrast stitching on the wheel and seats. The seats also feature the Senna S logo on the headrests.
The mid-engined heart of the Senna remains untouched. For those who may have forgotten, its power comes from a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that makes 789 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, and that output goes solely to the rear wheels. All 500 examples of the approximately $1 million car are spoken for, but that doesn’t mean the money is done flowing. Just for the customization of this Carbon Theme Senna, the customer had to pay the equivalent of about $414,000.