How it Works

McLaren Tech Club reveals how the windscreen-less Elva uses its air canopy

The hood vent on the Elva plays a big role in driver comfort.

Photo courtesy of McLaren

Say what? Yes, the McLaren Elva has no windscreen, but its air canopy keeps you comfortable. That folks is a marvel of modern engineering.

In the first episode of the McLaren Tech Club series, Director of Engineering Design, Dan Parry-Williams shares the secrets behind the new supercar's engineering that make the Elva a comfortable drive, event at 70 mph.

"With absolutely nothing between you and the wind coming at you, would it be possible to create a virtual canopy? That was the challenge we set ourselves with the design of the new Elva," said Parry-Williams.

Mclaren Elva The Elva has a rear spoiler.Photo courtesy of McLaren

Designers crafted the Elva with the directive of creating a vehicle that punctuated the pleasure of driving. To get to the rawness of the driving experience, McLaren's team cleared the vehicle of anything that wasn't a necessity, including the windscreen.

The team set off to try their hand creating a what Parry-Williams calls a "virtual canopy". In essence, could the team manage the flow of air over the hood of the car in a way to create a near-bubble that would hone that "perfect" driving experience?

The answer was yes.

Enter the active air management system.

Air flows through the front of the car via the air dam and splitter to a hook shaped duct on the hood. When the air exits the vehicle, it is pushed out, away from the driver and passenger, and up at a high rate of speed.

McLaren Elva This graphic shows how the Elva responds in a wind tunnel.Photo courtesy of McLaren

Like two storm fronts clashing, the forced air meets the air surrounding the car, rushing toward the traditional driver's area. At their intersection, the forward forced air is bent backwards by the strength of the rushing air and moves across the top of the Elva where a traditional roof would sit.

"If you're sitting in the car with the system deployed at, let's say, 100 km/h you can sit here in relative calm. Your hair, if you have hair," said the balding Parry-Williams, "is unruffled."

At higher speeds, a gurney rises from the vent at the front of the car, to further assist with wind control. Higher speeds are welcome, of course, thanks to the car's twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine yielding 803 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.

The entire system can be shut off from inside the car.

At the rear of the Elva is a full width carbon fiber active spoiler that changes position to maintain aerodynamic balance. It can become an airbrake and add stopping power when needed.

McLaren Tech Club - Episode 1 - How the Elva keeps your comfortable at 70mph without a windscreen www.youtube.com

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Automotive toys

McLaren and LEGO team up on two new models

The automaker released two LEGO models for the holiday season.

McLaren

McLaren cars are among the quickest and most sought after vehicles on the planet, but not everyone can swallow their six-figure price tags. There's good news, though. Those of us who aren't able to get in the driver's seat can pick up the new LEGO kits and build our own mini-McLarens at home. The automaker partnered with the toy brand to offer two models for the holidays.

McLaren The open-top McLaren Elva in LEGO form.McLaren

McLaren is also offering auto-themed luggage from Tumi and a special line of clothing, but that's not why where here. We're most interested in the LEGO versions of the McLaren Elva and McLaren Senna GTR. However, with hundreds of pieces each, these aren't the simplest of toys. The Senna GTR LEGO replica comes in 830 pieces and features a V8 engine with moving pistons, opening dihedral doors, and a deep blue livery.

The McLaren Elva is *only* 263 pieces and replicates the cleverly designed, super-aerodynamic open-top car. McLaren says that the real car uses aero to shelter its occupants from wind. There is no windshield and no windows on the car, both of which are details that look great in the blocky LEGO format.

McLaren McLaren also worked with Tumi to develop car-themed luggage.McLaren

If you're itching to hand-assemble either McLaren LEGO model at home, the Senna costs $49.99 and the Elva costs $19.99.

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Supercharged V8 pickup

Watch the Ram TRX Lap the Nürburgring

The TRX looked awkward but completed the lap.

BTGDale via YouTube

The Ram TRX is a cartoonish truck with specs that would make most people shy away. Its size, sound, and imposing appearance live up to the hype laid out on the spec sheet, and its Hellcat-derived powertrain demands attention. The truck is one heck of an off-roader, too, but a recent YouTube video proves it can dance on a racetrack, too, though not as gracefully as the low-slung cars it passes.



The YouTubers took the TRX to the imposing Nüburgring in Germany to test its mettle on track. Unsurprisingly, the big Ram rolls over kerbs and is able to blast past several cars on the track. The biggest problem for the truck is its brakes, which end up cooked halfway through the lap. In between a few blasts of NSFW language, we can hear the driver note that his brake pedal is "about halfway to the floor," though he did retain some functionality after letting things cool off. The 6,400-pound truck would likely cook all but the most hardcore motorsport brakes.

The truck appears unmodified and looks to have just over 1,000 miles on the clock for the lap. Of course, the TRX looks about as at home on a track as a Mini Cooper would rock crawling, but the truck's 4.5-second 0-60 mph and 702 horsepower from its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 are more impressive than many sports cars.

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