It wasn't exactly a walk in the park.
Yes, the car does feature some modifications but in the grand scheme of things, the changes aren’t extreme at all. Upgraded turbochargers with a freer-flowing exhaust and a tune give this McLaren 943 bhp to the rear tires. A set of sticky (but still street legal) rear tires gets the power to the pavement, but achieving a such a time didn’t come easy.
Brooks Weisblat from DragTimes was along for the trip and captured some outstanding behind-the-scenes footage on how it all went down. The adventure is chronicled in the 25-minute video above, but to summarize the action, hitting the elusive sub-9-second pass was a chore. For starters, Brooks was booted from his first-class seat on the flight north to Atco Dragway in New Jersey, the chosen location for the quarter-mile runs. You know it’s going to be a tough trip when your first-class seat disappears, but we digress.
Gallery: McLaren 8-Second Pass Behind The Scenes
It took two days at the strip to capture the magical 8.99 pass. Conditions were sunny but quite chilly, with temperatures in the low 40-degree Fahrenheit range and minimal humidity. That’s good for making power, but the crew made good use of tire warmers to keep heat in the rear hides. The track was also given a fresh prep, but the first day of runs still couldn’t get the McLaren past the low-9-second range.
Day two brought similar conditions and a quite a few setup changes, including tweaks to tuning and another fresh prep to the surface. The runs were also made without using any traction control, which is astounding because the 720S launched so hard it literally pulled up small portions of the track. Eventually, everything was dialled in and after making a pair of passes dead-on at 9.00, the 8.99 finally happened.
For a street car that has just a few modifications and no special drag racing gear like a transbrake or softer suspension, the ET is simply astounding. Hit the video above to get all the details and tell us what you think in our recently restored comments section below.