McLaren Special Operations (MSO) unveiled the ‘Albert’ Speedtail, a bespoke commission by North American McLaren retailer, McLaren Beverly Hills. The ‘Albert’ prototype vehicle was developed to validate the concept of the Speedtail’s central seat driving position, testing driver ergonomics and visibility and rear-view camera positions. Originally built with the front panels from a 720S, the ‘Albert’ prototype was the first Speedtail to be driven on public roads. ‘Albert’ is one of the final vehicles in the 106-car Speedtail production run and an homage to the first Speedtail attribute testing vehicle from 2018. Echoing the name of the 1992 McLaren F1 test mules, which were named after the Albert Drive premises in which the F1 was designed and built in Woking, England, the original MVY02 Speedtail prototype vehicle was christened ‘Albert’ as a respectful tribute to its three-seat predecessor.
“The name ‘Albert’ has a special resonance with MSO, as we are the custodians of the McLaren F1 and are based at the Albert Drive premises that McLaren Cars occupied in the 1990s. The Speedtail experience has been an exciting journey for our customers, from visualising their imaginations to realising these inspirations and sharing their delight when unveiling the finished product. ‘Albert’ brings this project to a conclusion and we are thrilled to finish on a high note.” Ansar Ali, Managing Director, McLaren Special Operations. Based on the form of a teardrop, the most aerodynamically efficient shape found in nature, the Speedtail is the apotheosis of the streamlined hypercar, a three-seat Hyper-GT that became the third car in McLaren’s Ultimate Series line-up. With its 1,070-horsepower hybrid powertrain, the Speedtail covers 112 metres per second when travelling at its top speed of 250mph/402kph, making it the fastest McLaren road car to date.
The colours selected for the ‘Albert’ homage are Magnesium Silver – the colour that the F1 road car was first shown in at the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix -and Ueno Grey, the colour of the F1 GTR that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1995. The full design treatment is closely based on the 2018 vinyl ‘camouflage’ wrap. The exterior design ‘camouflage’ was achieved by a simple two-metre vinyl body wrap with design lines printed to represent the optimised airflow over the car. The ‘Albert’ Speedtail carries on this legacy, sporting one of the most complex paint themes ever completed by MSO. The new ‘Albert’ was built in the McLaren Production Centre (MPC) with a 1K gloss visual carbon fibre body. Due to the incredibly complex and detailed nature of the paintwork design, the MSO team completed test panels first to understand process feasibility and worked alongside the visualiser team to refine renders.
Referring to large scale print-outs of the renders, the livery masking was completed by two specialist paint technicians. This had to be completed on the built car, with wheels fitted, to ensure accurate cross-panel alignment of the design as it flows around the vehicle. In total, the masking of the livery required almost two kilometres of fine line-out tape to complete the initial design layout. The six-week painting process required the car to be disassembled to ensure complete accuracy and flawless finish. The paint blend effect was located on the door applique’s outer body panels with the front painted in Ueno Grey and rear in Magnesium Silver. After the first paint application, all body panels were treated and refitted to ensure perfect alignment and only after this the final clearcoat was applied.
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