McLaren Teases Sports Series, Looks Back at Street Car Heritage

By Winding Road Staff

December 18, 2014

Today McLaren released another image of the upcoming Sports Series, giving us a full view of a crossed-up prototype in minimal camouflage.
Set to go toe-to-toe with the likes of the Audi R8, Porsche 911 and Mercedes-AMG GT, the Sports Series will be McLaren’s “entry level” offering, slotting below the 650S with a cost of around $180,000.
The Sports Series is expected to use a carbon fiber monocoque with a detuned version of the twin turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 found in the MP4-12C, 650S and P1 mounted amidships and hooked to a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox. Hit the gallery to check out the latest teaser image, as well as photos of the M6GT, in high resolution.
Reflecting on its road car history, McLaren also offered a brief retrospective on its first street car, the M6GT. A road-going version of its M6A Can-Am car, only three or four examples M6GT would ultimately be produced:
Following the huge success of the M6A, Mclaren’s first Can-Am championship winning car, the team announced their plans to join the Group 4 Series of 1969.  The event was a fast paced, glamorous affair, including hugely well-established names such as Ferrari, Porsche and Alfa Romeo.  But most significantly for McLaren, this competition was a Grand Touring series.  To enter the field Bruce and his team would need to make their first road worthy car, a completely unexpected venture for the small racing team.
As with most of their projects there was no holding back and Bruce’s ambitions were a tall order.  It was to have the fastest top speed of any road car in the world, and with the fastest acceleration.  This was to be more than a homologation exercise, Bruce had intentions to evolve the race team into a fully-fledged sports car manufacturer.
And so, McLaren set out building the M6GT.
Based on its Can-Am predecessors it was built round a monocoque chassis with aluminum panelling over steel bulkheads and weighed in at just 800kg, which is little more than a classic Mini.  Pushing it to speeds in excess of 165mph, with a zero to 100mph time of eight seconds, was the 370bhp, Bartz-tuned, Chevrolet 5.7-litre LT1 engine.  And with its wider rear wheels making carrying a spare virtually impossible and almost no luggage space, Bruce had built a road car working sideways from his Championship winning racing cars.  The M6GT was a pure racing car with a street legal body.
Sadly the M6GT project died with Bruce in 1970 with just three, possibly four, examples built.  However, Bruce's aspirations for McLaren to become a bonafide sports car company were not forgotten.  The ambition and ethos applied in the creation of the M6GT have remained within the company.  As we prepare to complete our range of performance road cars with the McLaren Sports Series, 45 years on, Bruce’s vision is realized. 
We'll have more on the McLaren Sports Series as updates become available, so keep an eye on this space.