Mac's the Life : McLaren's Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

By DavidKhoo, 28 December 2022

Sepang Circuit, Malaysia - Without a community, cars are just that... cars. Without exception, it is the camaraderie forged between like-minded people that makes any activity interesting.

The newly-formed McLaren Owners Club Singapore (or MOCS for short) recently took to the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia for its inaugural track session, with plenty of lepak and la-kopi sessions in-between the fast-road runs and furious makan meetings.

When you connect over a common interest, there's a greater willingness to learn and share, as opposed to being forced together in a work or official environment. 

McLaren owners certainly demonstrated they're a well-grounded bunch that aren't only able to posh-things-up for the lux, lush meals, but will gladly go-casual as well.

We'd already driven the Artura at the Ascari Race Resort earlier this year, so reluctantly handed the reins over to our writer, who also used the GT for his orientation laps.

For Jay, this occasion on track was particularly significant because it was to be his first track outing... and he's lucky enough to have been able to turn the wheels of several different McLaren sportscars in anger to boot!

However, this feature isn't about us, but about the 765LT, or specifically about two of the MOCS members who took the beast around the Sepang Circuit: serial McLaren owner Eugene owns the Chicane Grey example, while Stewart Hine is considering getting into one to keep his McLaren Senna company.

Eugene Goh, McLaren 765LT

TopGear Singapore : This isn't your first McLaren. What is it about McLaren that you love so much?

Eugene : I've had 2 other McLarens before the 765LT, a 650S Spider and a 720S. I love how McLarens are a combination of innovation, technology and high performance.

I particularly love how the brand disrupted the supercar scene a decade ago with its extensive use of carbonfibre and other lightweight materials.

Driven hard, they feel phenomenal, in particular the steering and the brakes. The extra rigidity from the carbon tub makes a big difference in how they handle too. I also like the bandwidth they offer with the ability to separately set handling and powertrain modes.

TopGear Singapore : How big is the 765LT leap over the regular models?

Eugene : It's quite a big leap from the 720S. When I first drove the LT, it felt almost like witchcraft when you consider how different it is from the 'regular' 720S. If I was blindfolded, put into the 765LT and made to drive it, I would not have guessed it is derived from the 720S – that's how different it feels!

It's very visceral, with a lot more vibration and mechanical sensations coming through into the cabin, which makes it feel like a proper race-car. The steering also has more feel, which is no mean feat considering how good the 720S' steering already feels.

However, the most thrilling part about the 765LT is its powertrain, which when coupled with the shorter gear ratios, really transforms the driving experience. If one feels the power delivery and acceleration of the 720S is fierce, the 765LT takes it to another level and is ballistic!

TopGear Singapore : Now that you've had a chance to hammer it on track for a few sessions, is the Longtail everything you thought it would be?

Eugene : Absolutely. On the track, you get to experience its full personality. I'm really happy with my decision to spec the car with the carbon Senna seats and the five-point harness with the titanium rollover bars, because the track is where this car really shines and these options significantly add to the overall experience, as do the new Pirelli PZero MC1 Trofeo-R tyres.

TopGear Singapore : This is the first big MOCS outing. How is club life?

Eugene : MOCS is off to a great start and this big trip is the first major drive event for the club and it's been really well organised.

The support from Eurokars Supersports has been tremendous and it's wonderful to see the club committee members working so well with the dealership to pull this together.

MOCS isn't a big car club and it's unlikely to ever be one, so we can take advantage of this to build strong bonds amongst the membership with a sense of family and community that is perhaps harder to achieve with larger car clubs.

It's been fun getting to know more McLaren owners through the club and sharing our experiences with the cars, but as always there's also a lot of talk on food and travel.

Stewart Hine, McLaren Senna

TopGear Singapore : This isn't your first McLaren. In fact, you've had the 650S and Senna, as well as spent some time with the GT, and now you're enjoying a day of red-mist driving with the 765LT. What is it about McLaren that you love so much? The people? The cars?

Stewart : I still miss the 650S. I miss what an animal it was on the track. It took a long time to tame. The Senna was a massive yet rewarding step. I’ve still to tame her…she demands 200 per cent concentration.

But you're right, I’ve had time in the GT, which is one of the most pleasant supercars I’ve ever driven. Yet it performs at a level on track which surprises you.

Now, the 765LT is on a whole'nother level. I want one. I need one. It’s everything I want in a car. Really. It’s a Senna without the stress! 

But to tell you the truth, it’s not the cars that keep me coming back to McLaren, it’s the people. We’re like one big family. And that’s very special to me. 

TopGear Singapore : How big is the LT leap over the regular models? What about compared to the Senna?

Stewart : Great question. When McLaren put the ‘LT’ into a model it adds a wow factor both on the road and the track. Just look and listen to the exhausts on the 600 and 765LTs.

The Senna on the other hand doubles down on the wow factor on the track. Every upgrade and design element is to make it the fastest car around any track you're on. It’s breathtaking.  

TopGear Singapore : Now that you've had a chance to hammer it on track,  is the Longtail everything you thought it would be?

Stewart : It’s a whole lot more, because it performs at a level close to that of the Senna on track. And the fact it can be quite civil on the road makes it extremely appealing. 

TopGear Singapore : This is the first big MOCS outing. How is club life?

Stewart : You know when you see an old friend after many years and the conversation picks up like you’d seen each other only yesterday? It’s like that... we just gel. This makes club life very rewarding.

It’s nice to be able to arrange an impromptu supper drive into Malaysia and get almost a dozen members to join you with only a day's notice.

I guess we’re all looking for an excuse to drive.

PHOTOS McLaren / Jay Tee