McLaren Evla Gulf Theme debuts at Speedweek

Goodwood's closed-doors event sees MSO's open-roof special dressed in iconic livery

By Sam Sheehan / Friday, October 16, 2020

McLaren has added its roof and windscreen-less Elva to the list of cars available with a Gulf Theme livery, which has returned to the brand’s option list thanks to the recent partnership between the car and oil firm. The MSO creation is on show at Goodwood Speedweek – the ideal setting for the Elva to demonstrate its active air management system and 815hp twin-turbo V8 to an online audience. 

The open top hypercar is McLaren’s £1.4 million carbon-tubbed tribute to its iconic Can-Am racers of the past, including Bruce McLaren’s winning M6A. It’s running at Goodwood is therefore fitting, even if it is not a racing car and will only be enjoyed by 149 buyers (production cut from the original 399 run due to parts supply limitations and a lack of room on the busy production line, according to McLaren).

It means that the Elva will be an even rarer sight on the road – or more likely showstand. Which is a shame, because there’s plenty of cool technology packed into its unique panels, most notably its air shifting nose design and Gurney flap. As our drive last year showed, the air pressure around your noggin is substantially reduced; lifting your hand above this ‘protected’ zone emphasises the change in airflow and just how much work that front end is doing. The Gulf theme just makes it all that bit cooler, doesn’t it?

The theme isn’t exclusive to McLaren’s seven-figure specials – understandably it is keen to extract as much mileage from its new relationship as possible – although expect the manufacturer to be talking at great length about electrification in the near future. McLaren’s new V6-powered supercar – due out in 2021 – is also the first of its High-Performance Hybrid model range. Rest assured the firm is working as hard on the future as it is celebrating the past.

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