Half a century ago, McLaren was a name that dominated the race tracks of Can-Am. Faced with the race’s reputation as the most extreme motorsport event, the company still succeeded in securing the championships not only once, but five times in a row with its high performance sports cars from 1967 to 1971.
Now, McLaren pays tribute to this great part of its history with a limited edition 650S Can-Am automobile. With only 50 units to be produced, the 650S Can-Am is designed with inspiration coming from the race cars of this period when McLaren was the top brand in the Can-Am race tracks.
The Canadian-American Challenge Cup held its first racing competition in the spring of 1966. The racetrack demanded a lot from both the competing drivers and the machines of steel that they were driving.
In this race, the young Bruce McLaren made a name for himself and his company, Bruce McLaren Motor Racing. McLaren eventually became a household name within the racing circles together with Graham Hill, John Surtees and Jackie Stewart.
The Can-Am Racing and McLaren’s exceptional performance also meant plenty of exposure and popularity for the fledging company, which is now one of the biggest names in the industry.
When the company competed with driver Bruce McLaren behind the wheel at Can-Am, it made sure that its racing cars were built from the best technologies and materials that were available at that time.
Since the 650S Can-Am is based on the cars that were produced with the specific purpose of racing in Can-Am, McLaren has made sure that its manufacturing continues the tradition. The only difference is that the 650S Can-Am sports carbon fiber in its construction in place of aluminum and mallite used in the company’s racers in the Can-Am era.
Carbon fiber features prominently in the MonoCell chassis, and is also found in areas such as the bonnet, airbrake, front splitter, rear bumper center, door blades and the sill cover. It is also used to build the car’s louvered front wings, which were built with a design philosophy for augmenting the downforce generated by the car’s aerodynamics.
To save weight and ensure optimal performance, McLaren Special Operations also chose to use lightweight alloys for the wheels. With five spokes and a diamond cut rim, the wheels’ aesthetics is dominated by glossy black finishing.
Aside from carbon fiber and the special alloy, another material in the 650S Can-Am is ceramic – it is combined with carbon to make the standard brake equipment for the 650S Can-Am. Wrapping its wheels are Pirelli P Zero (TM) Corsa tyres.
Rounding up the exteriors is a set of four circular tailpipes made of polished stainless steel. This extraordinary quad-exit exhaust system is designed to emulate the iconic trumpeting of the older models’ exhaust system when aggressive throttling is applied. The sound signature it generates, however, is totally unique to the 650S Can-Am.
How the brand pays homage to the 650S Spider is also evident under the hood and in the car’s performance. The 650S Can-Am can accelerate from zero to 62 mph or 100 kph in just three seconds! Drivers can take the car to a maximum of 204 mph, or 329 kph, thanks to the 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine that gives it its power.
The engine outputs a record horsepower of 641 bhp or 650 PS, and a torque of 678 Nm or 500 lb. ft. Some of the 650S Can-Am’s interior features are also made of carbon fiber, together with leather and the new material, Alcantara, for its upholstery.
There is also a unique dedication plaque on the driver side door as proof of the new 650S Can-Am’s link with its historic cousins. The 650S Can-Am will begin deliveries by spring of next year. Early buyers can already pre-order their units priced at £255,850.
Deliveries are timed to commence together with the 50th anniversary of the first Can-Am race, which took place in Mont Tremblant, Canada. As for its chassis, buyers can choose to have their orders painted in Mars Red, Papaya Spark or Onyx Black.
Mars Red is a tribute to the 1966 competition and the M1B racer that was piloted by McLaren and Chris Amon. Papaya Spark is a new rendering of the McLaren Orange that marked the company’s later competing cars, while Onyx Black is a nod to the default finish in the cars used by McLaren customers competing in the later Can-Am races.
To complete the homage to the Can-Am races, each purchase of the 650S Can-Am comes with the racing livery featured in McLaren cars that participated in that competition.