evo’s roster of serious drivers was genuinely staggered by the unsexily named McLaren when they first drove it, in particular by its startling acceleration, its grippy yet softly riding chassis and its uncanny ability to cover ground with security and confidence, whatever the weather. Chris Harris was so impressed he described it as ‘the best sports car – perhaps the best road car of any description – I have ever driven’ (evo 155).
There were, however, some caveats, notably with the excessive weight of the gear change paddle action, the anodyne noise of the engine, and the steering feel on turn-in to a corner. The good news is that, spurred on by criticism from evo and others, McLaren set about addressing these problems before the first customer cars left the factory. And the white heat of eCoTY competition is the perfect place to find out if they’ve been successful.