Written by Marcus Amick
Heritage is an interesting thing. The idea that something has been tried and tested, and endured through the years, makes it highly valuable. On the other hand, all that nostalgia can prove to be a hindrance when trying to remain relevant in today’s fickle world, where everyone is clamoring for the next big trend.
For automakers, the trick is finding a way to take the most exciting elements of that history and craft them into something that will keep people intrigued years down the road. British brand McLaren has taken special notice of this in converting the company’s 50 years of racing heritage into a lineup of bona fide supercars.
“We’re the only company that’s ever won the crown jewel in all four-racing series—the Le Mans, Can Am, Indy 500 and F1. So, we do have a strong history in racing and performance, but we’re also building a brand because the automotive side of the company is essentially new,” Joseph tells Playboy. “In the U.S., a lot of people weren’t aware of the racing heritage as they were in other parts of the world. When we first started talking about the car, we realized that it was more kids who knew about the car than anybody else…because of video games.”
Then again, it’s kind of hard not to be star-struck when you first lay eyes on the low, wide-body profile of a drop-top car like the McLaren 570S, with that swooping shark-like front fascia. Still, nothing captures the true essence of McLaren’s transformation as a brand like having a chance to wheel the 710-horsepower, adrenaline-rushing 720S.
“If you want to go on a track, you can go on a track. If you want an everyday car, you can use it as an everyday car,” says Joseph, speaking of the functionality of the McLaren. “You have some cars that are fun to drive for some periods of time. Our car is fun to drive for all periods of time,” he says. “With some of the other performance cars, you’ll see an average of 1,200 to 1,500 miles a year that customers drive their cars. Our average customer, from the very beginning, was driving over 3,500 [miles] a year.”