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OneShift Attends the 2024 McLaren Track Day at Sepang International Circuit

We get to do a few laps around Sepang in the McLaren 750S, Artura and GT.
James Wong
James Wong
17 Apr 2024
Likely being one of the last non-hybrid new McLarens, driving the 750S was almost a holy grail moment...

You’d probably have to do a lot more than Bak Chor Mee to get me out of bed at 3:15am, but it was little hardship to respond to the early morning call for a McLaren track day organised by McLaren Singapore at Sepang International Circuit.

Catching a Malaysian Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur, it was a compact and precisely planned day that started bright and early trackside. We had the chance to try the McLaren GT, Artura and the all-new 750S which was undoubtedly the star of the show.

To recap, the GT is the most road-biased, luxurious McLaren available. The Artura is based on the new McLaren Carbon Fibre Lightweight Architecture (MCLA) and is a plug-in hybrid, a concept that we will very likely see rolled out to the rest of the range soon. Thus, the 750S is probably the last pure non-hybrid car of its lineage, and is the successor to the stunning 720S. We had quite a wide range of McLarens to sample their different flavours on-track, which would be the most exposure I’ve had to the brand in one hit.

I was surprised to learn that we had a dedicated half day session just for the small group of us sleepy journalists. That meant a decent 3 laps in each car, and while we had instructors sitting with us we were given free reign to drive as we wish. I’d hazard a guess that I scared at least one of them enough to give me some instruction on my track craft.

McLaren Artura

The first car I went out in was the Artura. I had a blast with the car on the road for my road test review last year, and I was curious to see how I’d perform on the track, being the first modern McLaren with a downsized 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 as well as a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

Honestly, I did not expect to have this much fun in the Artura. Perhaps it was the way it gently erased away my mistakes with its amazing electric-aided torque, or how planted and calm it felt despite undue provocation. I felt I had to worry less about eking out every last percent from the car and it could still flatter me. Its composure and approachability really left an impression.

While the lack of brake regeneration left one slightly curious on the road, the decision made its benefits felt with the Artura’s incredibly natural brake pedal feel, which is just as good as what I felt in the 750S. It’s a challenge to get hybrids to brake just right and McLaren achieved it in the Artura. And just as I felt a year ago, the V6 sounds brilliant and I daresay every bit as good as the McLaren V8.

McLaren 750S

I was up next in the 750S. Everything feels altogether sharper and more highly strung; it felt like doing serious business next to the more casual atmosphere in the Artura. I instantly felt the engine’s rawer idle and its voracious appetite for revs. It felt more like a skunkworks engine than what’s in the other two McLarens.

Surprisingly, the 750S didn’t feel much faster than the Artura, if at all. But its more agile nature, unencumbered by the weight of the hybrid drivetrain, made it feel purer, a more lethal weapon with a sharper edge. It’s easily the most race-car like McLaren here by quite a margin. Read here for a full first drive review of the 750S.

McLaren GT

Lastly, the GT. It really impressed me, maybe because I felt the stark contrast of its hushed insulated leather-lined interior and the mind-blowing performance on track that was just maybe just one-tenths off the pace of the other two McLarens.

That latter measure still means that the GT would probably outhandle almost everything else in its class. Although I did feel the length of the car more so than the others, as well as the less aggressive braking, it was still very satisfying to drive. It’s like a sports car in luxurious clothes rather than a luxury GT trying to be a sports car.

After the track session we treated ourselves to local zi char near Sepang which was a highlight - Malaysian food always delivers!

I’m grateful to McLaren for the opportunity to drive some of their most amazing models at Sepang. Likely being one of the last non-hybrid new McLarens, driving the 750S was almost a holy grail moment, glorious memories worth growing old with.

Photos by McLaren Singapore

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