Can the McLaren Senna Beat a GT3 Race Car?

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Sure, the McLaren Senna is an insane supercar with 800 horsepower, but how does it really handle on the track against a bonafide racer? 

The McLaren Senna is the purest connection between car and driver. Or at least that is what the folks at McLaren are saying as they promote the Senna. Considered one of the fastest street legal race cars in the world, the McLaren Senna has become the newest must-have toy for the rich and famous. However, there are those who question if the car is really worth all the hype and money.

In a new episode of Top Gear, host Chris Harris wants to put the Senna to the test and chooses a 650s GT3 race car as the competition.

“The McLaren Senna is as ugly as it is fast,” says Harris. “But how fast is it? Some people say it’s as fast as a GT3 car. We just happen to have a GT3 car here. I wanted to drive them back to back to see how different the supposedly best track machine was compared to a proper racing car.”

McLaren Senna

Harris heads to the Silverstone Circuit in England and jumps on the track with both the Senna and the GT3. And the results are mixed in many areas.

The street-legal McLaren Senna has the bigger engine with 800 horsepower compared to the GT3’s 550 horsepower.

“First impression, the engine is mighty. Absolutely mighty,” Harris says of the Senna. “The system’s very helpful. The aerodynamic grip for the quick stuff is mega. It’s unlike any road car I’ve driven before. You can really lean on the car at high speed.”

650S GT3 Race Car

Yet, Harris is not impressed with certain parts of the handling, especially when compared to the GT3.

“It’s mighty, but I just expected a little more from the front axle,” he says. “The rest of the car is so impressive…After the race car, it feels flabby and unconnected. If that seems like an unfair comparison, it probably is.”

While the power of the Senna wins it, it is unable to compete in several other areas that “proper” race cars excel.

McLaren Senna

And most importantly, the price is not on Senna’s side. At more than $1 million, it dwarfs the $265.000 for the GT3.

“For the price of a Senna, you could buy a GT3 car and do 10 track days a year,” Harris theorizes. “I’ll tell you what. I know what I’d rather drive.”

The video is a fun watch and shows a lot of great in-cabin footage, so it really gives the viewer a POV of driving both cars. Plus, Harris has no shortage of opinions.

Photos: Top Gear 

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Longtime automotive journalist Michael Kinney has been covering the world of cars for over five years and is a familiar site at auto shows from coast to coast. He currently covers Ford Mustangs for The Mustang Source, writes about Porsches for Rennlist, reviews international auto shows for Ford truck Enthusiasts, and offers tips on car careers on HondaTech.

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