Legendary Racer Inspired The McLaren Senna Namesake


What’s in a name? The McLaren Senna hypercar was actually named after one of the most well-known and greatest racing drivers to have ever lived.

To name a vehicle after one of the best racers of all time automatically sets a pretty high expectation. It’s a bold decision and a bold statement at that, as well. Such is the case with the McLaren Senna. This track-focused beast doesn’t even appear as though it should be on the streets. However, I digress. So, let’s go back to the beginning.

The McLaren Senna hypercar was named after the late Ayrton Senna, a legendary Formula One driver who was tragically killed in a 1994 race. Senna spent a period of his racing career at McLaren, from 1988 through 1993. During that time, he won three Formula One world championships for the British brand. The decision to put his name on one of the company’s top-tier performance vehicles was a well thought-out decision – and not one that was made overnight.

Though it may not be the most gorgeous of its lineup (due to its slightly awkward appearance), the Senna certainly is one of the most brutally quick vehicles out there.

It is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that puts out a whopping 789 horses and 590 lb-ft of torque. If you take a closer look at the car’s extreme exterior, you will probably notice just how meticulously this hypercar was produced. Every part of its sharp exterior was designed to enhanced its overall aerodynamics for the ultimate performance.

CarBuzz reports that, ” Some may argue the hypercar’s polarizing looks doesn’t do the late racing driver justice and accuse McLaren of capitalizing on Senna’s legacy.”

In a new video, however, the designers and engineers behind the McLaren Senna explain why the name was actually used.

"“His values, and his drive and determination, and his quest for excellence influenced not only his life, but the way we do cars in McLaren,” said Dan Parry-Williams, McLaren’s engineering design director.“There’s the famous recording of him saying, when you think you’ve done the most you possibly can, you can reach a little higher, go a little further. That does exemplify our approach to this car with pushing boundaries we’ve not pushed before. It’s going to be the most engaging of any car we’ve done so far.”"

Marcut Waite, chief engineer for McLaren, explained that Aryton had an obsession for detail and a desire to go fast – two things that were pretty hand-in-hand with the Senna hypercar.

Powertrain and vehicle engineering director Richard Farquhar went on to say that Ayrton had an “unwavering determination to go beyond the limit”. Farquhar also touched upon the Ayrton’s focus to reach the highest levels in his sport and keep going.

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Take a look at McLaren’s video below explaining how the iconic Senna got its name and what it means to the team behind it. In this clip, we find out just how the engineers created a car that really lives up to the legendary F1 racer.

Do you know of any other cars that were named after important people or places? Comment below and share your knowledge with us and the rest of the readers.