A few weeks ago my first McLaren experience nearly ruined every other car. But note that I’m not just talking about any McLaren because I was lucky enough to hop in a tuned and highly modified 720S from 1016 Industries which adds power, reduces weight and looks absolutely amazing thanks to a complete widebody kit constructed entirely of carbon fiber.
1016 Industries founder Peter Northrop personally drives this 720S daily, which serves as a test bed for his company’s overhauls to a car that already qualifies as one of the best in the world. But you might be wondering how anyone can hope to improve on the Formula 1-derived performance of a McLaren 720S. Well, Northrop walked me all around and through the extensive work that goes into such an eye-catching custom build as we strolled around on a gorgeous day in Malibu.
Test bed for 1016 industries
Northrop rolled up next to my Porsche Cayenne at the base of Las Flores Canyon off the Pacific Coast Highway. Compared to the twin-turbo 4.5-litre V8 powering the SUV, the McLaren’s exhaust note rumbled and grunted as we outlined a shooting plan, but not to the point of excess (no neighbors complained , anyway).
Northrop’s day-to-day has almost everyone stopping and staring, because all that exposed carbon just begs attention. An old man and his grandson even chased us down Hume Road for a closer look. And for me, as a rider obsessed with lightweight bike components, carbon fiber really hits hard, but I also know the limitations of the miracle material, which Northrop happily discussed when showing off the car that serves as its bench seat. personal test for the development of new products.
- Engine/Motor: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
- Power : 986 Wh
- Transmission: RWD
- Transmission: 7-speed automatic
- Carbon fiber everywhere
- Engine dyno’d tuned to 986 horsepower
- Suspension revisions to maintain ride quality
- Aerodynamically optimized for over 200 MPH
- If you have to ask, you can’t afford it
- Classic McLaren Electric Gremlins
- Some tires scrub when cornering on rough roads
Carbon fiber all the way to the wheels
Overall, the car currently wears replacement body panels, doors and fender that shave 420 pounds off the 720S’ already svelte curb weight of around 3,200 pounds. Each door saves 75 pounds on its own, while the only remaining piece of McLaren’s original exterior surrounds the knee-high exhaust tips, which Northrop says causes enough heat for maintaining the factory panel is essential.
On a carbon fiber car, you might expect a titanium exhaust, but Northrop eschewed the more typical lightweight exhaust fabrication in favor of a more refined rumble. Even with a significantly lighter body, it still went ahead and worked on the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 until a dyno test recorded a peak 986 horsepower – at the wheels . 1016 Industries is also revising the suspension to retain McLaren’s famous driving dynamics despite the significant weight savings, while improving unsprung mass with a set of aftermarket wheels shod in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber and, believe it or not, carbon fiber covers with McLaren logo cutouts.
CAD designed and tested in the real world
Northrop has repeatedly joked about its obsession with detail, noting how the carbon fiber weave pattern deliberately runs over body panel gaps to match, from the roofline to the wheels. He described the 2.5-year process of designing, reviewing, printing and testing every component of the 1016 Industries complete kit on his personal 720S, as well as driving over 10,000 miles of daily use for this period. Supercar rallies, city traffic, freeway miles – when I checked the car, numerous bug guts on the front bumpers proved that it had just returned from Las Vegas the day before. Fortunately, the carbon fiber hides flaws and dirt quite well.
Northrop’s team designs each component in CAD first, optimizing aerodynamics so it can cruise over 200 miles per hour with confidence (strictly within the controlled environment of closed tracks, of course) but also to ensure that the lines of the shape still flow smoothly from tip to tail despite the new styling. Where even many OEMs now use fake intakes and air intakes for styling points alone, 1016 Industries channels cooling air from the front end to the engine bay, while even the computer renders the light reflection to ensure the car looks as good as it runs. . And that massive fixed rear wing, instead of the factory-adjustable part, uses modern organically shaped 3D-printed titanium brackets (Northrop admitted the difficulty it took to convince McLaren’s ECU to stop throwing codes on the deletion of the electrically operated rear wing).
Expansion in Los Angeles
Northrop recently moved to Los Angeles after years in Miami and Detroit, a move that has only boosted the popularity of its body kits. He described the Lamborghini Urus as his biggest seller, although 1016 Industries also offers kits for all manner of Ferraris, Porsches and Audis. Forged carbon (as opposed to the more traditional weave) looks great on the front trunk lids and fender flares, mirror caps etc.
The 720S that I drove seems to me the most attractive, however. Although a bit more aggressive than a ‘normal’ 720S, the design still retains Frank Stephenson’s form of aquatic biomimicry – and McLaren’s racing pedigree has always seemed almost too good to be true. Climbing into the cockpit for my first ride with McLaren, I wondered how much a reworked version of the 720S could feel on public roads. Surprisingly, Northrop’s engine tuning creates relatively moderate throttle response with enough modulation for medium cruising, until I mash the pedal several times just to experience the performance potential on tap.
Even with so much weight cut from the body panels, this 720S still retains a balanced suspension that feels somehow solid, not doing little numbness now too hard and firm on rougher roads like Piuma and Stunt, just planted on wide tires and begging for confident cornering. A small steering wheel gives impeccable feedback to the driver, and the gearbox apparently knew when I wanted to brake before me, perfectly timing downshifts with a satisfying throttle kick. On the contrary, the car felt the closest to a Lotus Evora GT I drove on the same roads (then another, later on a track) a few months ago, just over, in every way . Maybe combine the Lotus with a Ligier F4 carplus a bit more comfort than both, more accurately fits the bill.
Without a doubt, a 2,800-pound supercar with up to 986 ponies immediately proves to be too much of a car for public roads. But no one buys a 720S and then adds the full 1016 Industries catalog to prove their savvy, and Northrop will fully admit how much it overbuilt the car to handle far more than the daily average. Once upon a time, when I was driving my first Porsche 911, the owner predicted that I would own one someday. But now that I can put an all-carbon fiber widebody 720S on my record as a taste of the McLaren experience, if any production supercar – let alone a Porsche 911 – might possibly be able to scratch this news itch seems very serious concern for the future of my motoring life.
Sources: 1016industries.com, youtube.com, michelinman.com and ligierautomotive.com.
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