DESIGN AND AERODYNAMICS
‘The air-piercing front bumper separates airflow into four directions, with each path being worked over, under and through the sculpted bodywork. The beautiful organic form, with features including the door tendon and flying buttress work with the fixed rear wing to optimise aerodynamics’
Rob Melville, Chief Designer
- ‘Shrink wrapped’ design maximises efficiency of the airflow over, under and through the bodywork with a fixed aerodynamic package
- Aerodynamically-optimised dihedral doors feature ‘floating’ tendons to channel the flow of clean air
- Elegant flying buttresses provide increased levels of downforce and enhanced cooling
The Sports Series introduces the McLaren design language to the sports car segment for the first time, with tense, ‘shrink wrapped’, body lines marking it out from the competition. Design cues and learnings from models in the Ultimate and Super Series ensure the Sports Series looks every part a true McLaren, but with a clear identity of its own. Key design features include elegant flying buttresses, dihedral doors and a concave rear window to bring a new, unique and exciting look to the sports car segment.
The final design of the 570S Coupé is closely matched to the initial design sketches first proposed by Chief Designer Rob Melville and his team at the outset of the project. Clean, sweeping lines, and an uncluttered exterior have a clear focus on the way air flows over the sculpted panels, channelling air around the tightly packaged glasshouse, over and, in some areas, through the bodywork.
Dynamic styling provides visual presence and is based around functional elements. This approach combines fluid surfaces and strong features to deliver a final aerodynamic shape designed to optimise air flow management in, out and around the vehicle. Weight is minimised through the layering of panels, designed to float above aerodynamic surfaces along with suspended members, supporting the potency of this compact sports car.
FIXED AERODYNAMIC PACKAGE
The front bumper on the Sports Series is crucial to how the air interacts with the bodywork as it travels from the front to the rear. The design dictates how air is controlled before passing over, under and through the vehicle. The front bumper has a pronounced point which generates the centre of pressure, piercing the air to reduce drag and forming four quadrants. The air is divided above and below the bodywork, and also to either side. The strong crease lines along the bonnet add design definition and, more importantly, aid air flow over the doors and into the side air intakes to help cool the high temperature radiators – a principle used in Formula 1™. Below the front bumper are Aero Blades, angled specifically to create an area of high pressure ahead of the low temperature radiators.
At the rear, the sculpted rear fenders merge to form a level rear deck, where the engine plenum cover is visible through open, hexagon shaped mesh vents designed to aid heat evacuation. The trailing edge of the rear deck features an integrated fixed spoiler designed for an optimised balance of drag and downforce. The surfaces leading to the trailing edge have been designed to be as streamlined as possible, ensuring clean airflow to provide enhanced levels of downforce.
DIHEDRAL DOORS FEATURE ‘FLOATING’ TENDONS
Every McLaren road car since the iconic McLaren F1 from the 1990s has included distinctive dihedral doors, and the Sports Series continues the design tradition. The advanced and intricate door design is inspired by those on the McLaren P1™, and features a ‘floating’ tendon which works to channel air into the ultra efficient air intake. This supplements the side intakes that directly feed the HTRs (high temperature radiators) which, in turn allows for smaller side intakes, reducing drag.
Every effort has been made to optimise aerodynamic performance on the Sports Series. An example of this is evident in the design of the wing mirror arms, which improve cooling efficiency by two percent. This aerodynamic gain has been achieved through minimising the cross sectional area of the wing mirror arms while also studying how best the airflow from the vehicle and mirrors interact.
Further evidence aerodynamic efficiency can be seen with a tyre spoiler on the leading edge of the wheel arch and side skirts running down each flank. These work in conjunction to ‘clean’ the airflow as it passes around the front wheel arches and travel rearwards.
The ‘shrink wrapped’ design of McLaren Sports Series carefully channels airflow over every panel. The rear of the glasshouse on the Sports Series features unique floating C-pillars, allowing air to follow the shape of the cabin, and flow beneath. The elegant flying buttress design of the Sports Series Coupé body has been aerodynamically optimised to primarily counteract lift over the roof. The airflow channelled through the buttress equalises the areas of low pressure created by the convex roof, increasing downforce. In addition, this feature also minimises drag, and increases the flow of cool, clean air over the engine bay to optimise powertrain heat management.
A further distinctive feature of the Sports Series Coupé models is a concave rear windscreen which sits between the flying buttresses. Together with new thinner B-pillars, this design ensures excellent visibility from within the Sports Series – something McLaren models are renowned for – especially for a mid-engined sports car where rear and rear-three-quarter vision can often be compromised.
Airflow management is key to the Sports Series, from the front bumper through the integrated rear spoiler. Below this sits an intricate rear diffuser, unrivalled in its class for complexity and effectiveness. Efficiency is maximised with the underside of the Sports Series being completely flat, feeding clean air to the rear of the vehicle and the aggressive diffuser. As in Formula 1™, the careful management of air flowing below the car allows ‘ground effect’ aerodynamic optimisation to ensure further downforce is harnessed.
As standard, the Sports Series uses LED lighting across the range at the front and rear. The design of the front light units reflects the McLaren ‘Speed Mark’ logo, with LED daytime running lights (DRLs) following the edge of the unit to create a distinctive visual signature. The lights are automatically activated and include ‘Follow Me Home’ and ‘Overseas Tourist’ functions. The later allows easy adjustment between left- and right-hand drive markets. The rear light signature incorporates the turn signal, and follows the trailing edge of the rear body panels giving the illusion that the panel is floating.