It's hard to improve on the McLaren 720S, but Miami-based 1016 Industries has found a way. The company has produced a carbon-fiber body kit that shaves 400 lb off the McLaren's curb weight, and CEO Peter Northrop recently showed it off on "Jay Leno's Garage."
This isn't a bolt-on affair. As Northrop explains in the video, every panel on the 720S was replaced. While McLaren uses carbon fiber extensively, not every factory component is made from the lightweight material. For example, replacing the stock doors with carbon-fiber components saved 75 lb, Northrop, a former engineer with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis) said.
Because while the stock 720S is a low-volume car, it's still a production vehicle that has to be designed with ease of manufacturing in mind. As an aftermarket tuner, 1016 Industries focused purely on reducing weight, changing the lay-up of the carbon fiber in specific areas to maximize strength while minimizing weight.
1016 Industries modified McLaren 720S on Jay Leno's Garage
"This is already a car that does things that it's not supposed to do," Northrop said of the 720S. So it was particularly tempting to see how much further it could be taken in terms of performance, he said.
It was also easier to develop a body kit because the rear quarter panels were designed to be easily removed, Northrop said. That's because they need to be removed to access the engine, which is good for tuners, but not great for owners who need an oil change. And 1016 can even deliver body kits more quickly than McLaren can deliver replacement body panels, Northrop claims.
Some compromises were required. The kit was tested for aerodynamic performance with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, which actually led to the addition of a non-functional roof scoop. It doesn't draw air into the engine (as on the McLaren 765LT), as one might expect, but it does reduce wind noise. The fixed rear wing produces real downforce, but required a complicated software workaround because the stock movable wing was tied to the operation of the suspension and transmission.
And while the bodywork is carbon fiber, the wheels aren't. The extra weight savings compared to the aluminum wheels used wasn't worth the added cost of manufacturing custom wheel barrels for the wide-body McLaren's offset, Northrop explained, adding that metal handles loads better and produces a nicer ride than carbon wheels.
The twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 isn't stock. Northrop claims 1016 has extracted 1,150 hp out of this engine, primarily by modifying the turbos.
There are plenty of other geeky details of this thoughtfully modified McLaren to pore over. Watch the full video for more.