McLaren in the Motherland!

By Charlie Cooksey 

I am no stranger to McLaren. My first memory of the brand was when my father bought me a Guinness World Records book, I was perhaps around 6 or 7 years old, and we were going through it together and learned that the McLaren F1 was listed for breaking a top speed record. 

Fast forward a decade and a half, and I did my first McLaren factory tour in 2016 with my father. Fast forward a few more years from that – 2019, and I was actually driving a McLaren for the first time; the 570s in Bahrain. 

Since then, I’ve driven many of the British supercar brands’ models including the GT and 720s Spider. 

Last month, I was back in the UK and met up with a good friend, Shayan Rahimi, who happens to be an Executive Board Member of the largest supercar club in the Middle East, SuperCarsMajlis. He loves McLaren. So, I arranged a private guided tour of MTC (McLaren Technology Centre) for us. Our tour guide, Amy Woodhouse, was a superstar. There wasn’t anything she didn’t know about the brand or its history. Her passion for McLaren was infectious.

The building that houses MTC is an engineering and architectural marvel – outside and in. Driving past the beautiful lake surrounded by greenery to the building’s entrance is iconic. 

So, what did we see within this high-tech and spotlessly clean supercar factory? Well, we saw historic iconic cars from one of the most successful Formula 1 teams ever. We witnessed the largest trophy collection I have ever seen. We learned about the history of McLaren’s innovative technological advancements over the years. And, the best bit – we observed McLaren’s supersecret no-phones-allowed production and assembly line.

Following our personalised MTC tour I was asked if I’d like to take a McLaren GT for a couple of days to test drive. What a question – I said “yes please”. 

The GT is roomier, more practical, and more refined than its 720S sibling. There’s a good amount of ground clearance (when the nose is lifted). Driving supercars in the UK can be stressful, but this relieved those stresses. I realised that the GCC roads seem more “purpose-built” for such cars.  

The McLaren GT has a mid-engine twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 that produces 612 horsepower, 465 pound-feet of torque, and like every other McLaren has incredibly precise handling. 

The interior is a masterclass in minimalist design. The focus is on the driver, with all of the controls and gauges positioned within easy reach. The materials are top-notch, with leather, Alcantara, and carbon fibre used throughout.

The seats are comfortable and supportive, even on long drives. There is plenty of legroom and headroom for even the tallest occupants. The trunk is also surprisingly spacious, able to accommodate up to 14.8 cubic feet of luggage. I had to cart about a bit of luggage and the GT managed to hold everything – a medium-sized suitcase, extra bags, shopping, and so on. This compared favourably to my experience in Dubai last year with the 720s, where I had to store my luggage in the front seat! 

One of the most striking features of the interior is the panoramic roof. It lets in plenty of natural light and makes the cabin feel airy and spacious.

Overall, the McLaren GT is a truly special car. The interior of the McLaren GT is a luxurious and comfortable place to be, and it is the perfect blend of performance and refinement. It most certainly stood out in my hometown of Horsham, West Sussex. You rarely see supercars in that part of the world – unlike the GCC. 

For bookings and enquiries, contact McLaren Bahrain (80007878).


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