McLaren Solus GT styling meticulously dissected by former P1 designer

McLaren revealed the radical Solus GT last summer. The single-seat, track-only race car looks unlike any other model from the automaker, making it the perfect candidate for Frank Stephenson, a former Ferrari and McLaren designer, to be torn down and dissected.

The car first appeared in Sports Gran Turismo a few years ago before McLaren turned digital designs into actual models. The Solus hasn’t changed much, though McLaren has had to rework the cockpit layout. However, there are a few other stylistic elements that Stephenson will rework.

The front view highlights a large opening designed to channel air under the vehicle. However, it also reveals that the floating fenders don’t actually float, featuring the struts holding them in place – something Stephenson will tweak. He also took issue with the narrow canopy, which made the proportions of the car invisible from this angle. He widens the base or compresses the top of the cockpit canopy to give it a more flowing look.

Along the sides, Stephenson will work to cover the wheels. For him, the open wheels show a futuristic car design. The rear of the car is all business, with a large opening in the rear allowing air under the car body to escape. Stephenson said he would change the taillight design, giving it a slight bend to match the contours of the body. He also noted how the car’s underbody cavities hide the inside of the wheels from view, adding to its sleek styling.

Design-wise, the Solus GT has a naturally aspirated 5.2-liter V10 engine. It produces 829 horsepower (619 kilowatts) and 479 pound-feet (650 Newton-meters) of torque, which can send the car to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in 2.5 seconds. The car weighs less than 2,205 pounds (1,000 kilograms), but its aero-focused body can generate more than 2,646 lbs (1,200 kg) of downforce.

McLaren will make just 25 Solus GT supercars, with owners receiving racing suits, helmets and HANS kits. The Solus’ bold design is eye-catching, but Stephenson’s keen eye finds a few problems in the car’s impeccable styling.

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