The lines between digital and physical realities are getting more blurred every day. From currencies to art pieces and now hypercars. The McLaren concept that debuted in the Gran Turismo Sport video game has been transformed into a limited edition, single-seater track toy as the Solus GT.
The Woking-based manufacturer has used its combined experience across various forms of motorsport to bring the Solus GT to life. Its bodywork combines elements of LMP1 prototypes and Formula 1 with enclosed wheels and a covered cockpit, shrink-wrapped around the engineering package.
The Solus GT features two full-length venturi tunnels for ground effect aerodynamics. At the front, it has a hammer-head design to split the oncoming air with wheel pods in each corner. The F1-style double wishbone pushrod suspension at the front is in the open, leaving a clean channel for the air to flow towards the radiators mounted in the side-pods.
At the back, we see a twin-element high-downforce rear wing up top, and a full-width rear diffuser underneath. The rear suspension setup uses a double-wishbone pullrod setup. The massive rear wing works in tandem with the ground effect and the racing suspension to negate the need for active aero elements that help keep the weight down.
Altogether, the Solus GT aero-package can generate over 1,200kg of downforce. That’s more than the weight of the car, which weighs just under 1,000kg.
To give customers a true racing-driver experience, the Solus GT has a fighter-jet-styled sliding canopy to access the cockpit. There is a roof-scoop just above the cockpit, also inspired by motorsports.
Nearly all of the bodywork is made from carbon fibre, while some parts of the chassis are made from 3D-printed titanium. McLaren has developed a bespoke monocoque structure with a low-volume, carbon ‘pre-reg’ process for increased strength. The engine and gearbox are stressed chassis members, just like a racecar. The driver’s seat is fixed in place, moulded to match the body of the customer for a perfect fit.
Propelling the Solus GT is a 5.2-litre naturally-aspirated V10 engine that will scream all the way to 10,000rpm. Since it does not need to conform to any NVH regulations for a production vehicle, it could be built without limitations. The specialist engine components are entirely gear-driven with no chains or belts for the ancillary systems. It gets a seven-speed sequential gearbox motorsport-derived straight-cut gears and a carbon fibre clutch. The rear clamshell provides easy access to the bespoke engine for the Solus GT.
The projected output of this brilliant powertrain is said to be higher than 840PS and 650Nm. That should be enough for a 0 to 100kph time of 2.5 seconds and a top speed higher than 320kph. Those may not be the biggest claims out there, but pretty impressive with all that downforce pushing it down into the tarmac.
McLaren has fitted the Solus GT with 18-inch forged aluminium wheels with centre-locking nuts that fit snugly into those beautiful wheel pods. These wheels will be wrapped in track-only slick tyres. It has racing brakes with 6-piston monobloc machined aluminium callipers and carbon brake discs and pads.
Inside the cockpit of this futuristic racecar, the driver finds themselves in a bubble. The wraparound glass offers a 180-degree line of sight from the central seating position. Since the seat is fixed in place, the pedals and steering wheel are adjustable. There is a roof-mounted display for a wide-angle view from the rear camera since there are no wing mirrors on the Solus GT. The only other thing on there is the engine on/off switch. The rest of the vehicle controls are operated via the motorsport-derived steering wheel with an integrated display.
Since it is made for customers and not necessarily for professional single-seater racing drivers, the Solus GT offers the comfort of an HVAC system with vents on either side of the steering wheel. As part of the bespoke MSO experience, customers can also personalise the look of the cockpit.
Only 25 units of the Solus GT were commissioned for customers and every single one has been sold. The lucky batch of buyers has also been part of the car’s development when it comes to the finer details of the driving experience. The Solus GT isn’t quite finished yet either, and it is currently in the track-testing stage of development. Customer deliveries are expected to begin in 2023. It has debuted in the flesh at the Monterey Car Week for the target audience to explore it in person.
Are you amazed by the McLaren Solus GT? Is this the future of single-seater racing? What other GT Sport racing concept would you like to be brought to the real world? Share your answers in the comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons blog for more cool updates from the car world. You can also follow us on Instagram for more automotive content.