IndyCar Driver JR Hildebrand Samples the McLaren Elva, Is Absolutely Blown Away

The McLaren Elva Speedster became a Roadster officially back in May of this year, when MSO decided it was time to install a windshield for the car to meet legal requirements in certain U.S. states. Just like its Speedster sibling, the windshield-equipped Elva still doesn’t have a roof, side windows or a rear screen, and it still weighs next to nothing by supercar standards, at just under 2,866 lbs (1,300 kg).
McLaren Elva driven by IndyCar star JR Hildebrand 6 photos
Photo: McLaren
McLaren Elva driven by IndyCar star JR HildebrandMcLaren Elva driven by IndyCar star JR HildebrandMcLaren Elva driven by IndyCar star JR HildebrandMcLaren Elva driven by IndyCar star JR HildebrandMcLaren Elva driven by IndyCar star JR Hildebrand
Altogether, the Elva Roadster weighs only 44 lbs (20 kg) more than the Speedster, because of the windshield, the electronically synchronized rain-sensing wipers, washer jets and sun visors.

Power continues to come from a mid-mounted twin turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine, producing 804 hp (815 ps) and allowing for extraordinary acceleration and handling, which someone like IndyCar star JR Hildebrand would surely appreciate – and he did.

Hildebrand took the Elva out for a spin on the streets of San Francisco and along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), immersing himself in the driving experience. He then walked away saying the Elva is “the ultimate driver’s car,” which is high praise coming from someone with over 12 years of IndyCar racing experience.

“It’s impossibly nimble and lightweight, blurring the boundaries between the car and all of its environment. Get this thing in a tunnel, wick it up to 9,000 rpm, pile on the brakes and bang that downshift – just the snap, crackle and pop that this thing gives you […] It provides the purest sensation of connection to the road,” said the IndyCar driver.

He does however admit that the Elva certainly isn’t for everybody, nor is it for every situation.

McLaren has yet to release performance figures for the windshield-equipped Elva, but the British carmaker insists that acceleration is “comparable” to that of the Speedster version, which can hit 62 mph (100 kph) in just 2.8 seconds.

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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
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Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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