The McLaren Senna made a top speed run on the 2.7-mile runway at the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds and managed to reach 204.1 miles per hour. This speed didn't quite match the Senna's advertised maximum velocity of 208 mph. Bohmer claims this is the first true effort ever to evaluate how fast the Senna can go in the real world.
The Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds in Merritt Island, Florida, is one of the top places in the world for performing high-speed tests. The concrete runway is 3 miles long, and there's 1,000 feet (304.8 metres) more of asphalt runoff at each end. Over that distance, there's just a quarter inch (6.35 millimetres) of elevation change.
The Senna is McLaren's effort to build an even more potent machine than the earlier P1 but without using the previous model's hybrid tech. The designers equip the new machine with lots of carbon fibre that keeps the dry weight down to 1,198 kilograms. The twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 makes 789 bhp and 590 pound-feet of torque.
In this run, the Senna was only 2 percent away from its advertised top speed, which seems well within the margin of error. Lower temperatures for more efficient operation of the turbos might be enough to achieve the additional 4 mph. As an example of the big difference from the weather conditions, a Porsche 911 GT2 RS made a 211-mph run during its first outing and improved the speed to 219 mph later when circumstances were better.
Gallery: McLaren Senna: First Drive
2019 McLaren Senna Top Speed Testing!
The Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds (JBPG) runway, located in Merritt Island FL. is not only the widest and flattest runway in the world but also close to the longest. For over 10 years, Johnny Bohmer has been performing Straight Line Aerodynamic Testing for many manufacturers and thousands of vehicles here. The all concrete runway is 3 miles long with an additional 1000 ft. asphalt runoff on each end. The runway is also 100 yds. wide with an additional 50ft wide traffic lane on each side and has an elevation variance of only 1⁄4 in. from north to south over the 3 miles making this one of the flattest, large surface concrete platforms in the world. You hardly notice the 24 in. crown in the center of the runway due to the immense width of the surface. In todays’ time, the availability of concrete would make this runway impossible to build. The traction is also substantially better here than any street surface; not as good as a drag strip, but much better than the street.
Johnny Bohmer has developed a program to debunk myths and fact check the manufacturer’s claims of vehicles performance. While testing the vehicles, Johnny’s team will data log each vehicle and record the findings. These have been useful to many manufacturers because of the vehicles ability to drive at speed for 2.5 miles while still have a safe, shut down area. Performance videos will be posted to the public on the recently started, Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds YouTube channel.
The vehicles being tested are timed and speed checked with Garmin and GoPro interior monitoring systems. External timing and speed are performed by the International Mile Racing Association (IMRA) who is a sanctioning body accepted by numerous auto groups and the Guinness Book of World Records. Johnny and his team will routinely test 1⁄2 mile, 1 mile, 1.5 mile, 2 mile, 2.3 mile, 2.5 mile and 2.7 mile distances. Manufacturers come from all over the world to test many types of vehicles at JBPG including sports cars, race cars, tractor trailers, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, fire safety, law enforcement and the list goes on.
On May 4, 2019, Johnny Bohmer had a small group of vehicles testing at JBPG; including the McLaren 720S, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE and Ferrari 599 GTB. The weather conditions that day are listed below.
Dew Point: 22C/72F
Wind: 08 kt / 09 mph Direction: SE Density Alt: +1548
Barometric Pressure: 30.00 Surface Temp: 27.2C/81F
Dew Point: 23C/73F
Wind: 08 kt / 09 mph Direction: SE Density Alt: +2184
Barometric Pressure: 29.95 Surface Temp: 35C/95F
Of the vehicles testing, one we were particularly interested in was a 2019 McLaren Senna. This is the first time that a true top speed test of a McLaren Senna has ever been performed.
The professional driver reached a speed of 204.100 MPH (328.467 KPH) during the 2.7 mile test!
One of the main functions of the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds is to safely determine all aspects of a vehicle’s performance capabilities while determining the accuracy of the manufacturer’s claims. Last but not least, please subscribe to the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds YouTube channel as we continue to perform more testing with some of your favorite vehicles.