I freely admit that I was among the skeptics when McLaren announced the launch of their 765LT supercar back in March 2020. The carmaker is known for the rapid-fire way it churns out new releases from its Woking production facility. In this case, the McLaren 720S had only been on the market for a couple of years and was still making waves as one of the best modern supercars.
Yes, the ‘LT’ designation, short for ‘Long Tail,’ has always stood for something special at McLaren; an extremely track-focused yet road-legal car that’s all about maximum driver engagement. Still, it was hard to see how the British carmaker could top the 720S, especially considering the ‘short’ time frame involved.
Hopefully, you can now understand why I was a non-believer—concluding that, if anything, the 765LT was just going to be a mild upgrade; a rehash of the existing 720S. Well, I am glad to have been proven wrong.
The 765LT has turned out to be quite the revelation, firmly establishing itself as the supercar to beat in a hotly contested segment—and yes, it is so much more than a 720S with a fancy kit and a few extra horsepower.
Proof of Something Special
The McLaren 765LT was made available to motoring journalists in the months following its online launch, and it wasn’t long before the reviews started pouring in. We are not just talking about Social Media influencers who dared not utter a bad word about the car. No. Seasoned veterans in the automotive space were blown away by the car’s blistering turn of pace and searing performance.
Chris Harris of Top Gear described the 765LT as an ‘absolute monster’ and one of the ‘most intense cars McLaren has ever made.’ Car and Driver motoring journalists agreed that the McLaren 765LT is ‘the perfect example of what a track-focused supercar should be.’ The fellows at Gear Patrol concluded that the 765LT is a ‘fighter jet on wheels.’
Clearly, the latest iteration of McLaren’s ‘Long Tail’ specials is one heck of a machine. So how did the lads at the Woking factory dream up such a formidable track weapon?
All about Performance
Uncompromising performance is at the core of the 765LT’s capabilities, and it all starts with the engine—a hardcore 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 unit. It’s the same engine that propels the 720S. However, for the 765LT, it’s been re-engineered and tweaked (in some cases, with parts from the McLaren Senna) to create something decidedly more potent.
How so? How about a thumping 755 hp (765PS) at 7,500 rpm and 590 lb-ft of torque from 5,500 rpm? That is an increase of 45 hp and 22 lb-ft of torque over the 720S. It may not sound like a big jump, but it is still enough to make McLaren’s 765LT the most powerful Long Tail ever. In any case, these numbers only tell a part of the story.
The car weighs only 2,951 lbs (1,339 kg); 176 lbs (80 kg) less than the already lightweight McLaren 720S. That is down to the extensive use of carbon fibre and other lightweight materials.
For example, the all-new, all-titanium quad-exit exhaust system weighs a scant 24 lbs, 40% lighter than if it were made from steel. What’s more? Optimized gear ratios, with a shorter final drive ratio created from Formula 1 grade materials, lend a brutal edge to the car’s already insane acceleration.
The Fluid Design of the 765LT
The supercar’s extreme aerodynamics and overall design language deserve special mention. The car looks like it’s permanently ready to attack the tarmac, even when standing still, thanks to a stance that’s about 5mm lower at the front. It is impossible to miss the aggressively styled carbon-fibre front splitter or boldly sculpted side air intakes inspired by the last LT supercar—the 675LT.
No Long Tail supercar is complete without the signature elongated rear profile, and the 765LT is no exception. The new active rear wing is 20% bigger than the one on the 720S. It also curves upwards towards the middle—a clever design that increases the level of downforce even when it’s not deployed.
That innovative spoiler is part of an aerodynamics package that helps the 765LT generate 25% more downforce than the 720S. This is an absolute necessity to keep the car planted as it struts its stuff on the race tracks.
A New Calibration of Speed
McLaren supercars are no slouches in the speed department. Even the 570S, the ‘baby Mac,’ can hit 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. However, the 765LT takes acceleration to a whole new level with a savage turn of speed that is difficult to comprehend.
The supercar is rear-wheel drive only. However, such is the balance and precise engineering that it will rocket off the line from a standing start and hit 60 mph in 2.4 seconds; that is just where the story begins. Keep your foot on the throttle, and the car will reward you with a time-warping run past the quarter-mile marker in 9.9 seconds at 146.2 mph.
These are insane stats, but it’s been proven that a stock McLaren 765LT can be even quicker. Last year, Brooks Weisblat of the popular automotive YouTube channel Dragtimes took his 765LT to the drag strip for some speed runs. He achieved a quarter-mile time of 9.41 seconds at 150.03 mph, using the street Pirelli PZero tires that came with the car!
The 765LT was even faster on track-oriented Toyo R888R rubber, clocking a time of 9.33 seconds at 150.87 mph. Brooks completed a series of consecutive runs in the low nines, further confirming that this is one of the fastest accelerating cars ever (with an internal combustion engine).
It’s performances like these that place the 765LT ahead of hardcore rivals like the Ferrari 488 Pista, Ford GT, Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS. With the 765LT, McLaren’s racing pedigree and years of experience have blended perfectly to create a potent cocktail of relentless supercar performance, setting a standard that could well be used as a yardstick to judge the new generation of supercars.