McLaren has long been known for its prestigious racing pedigree. However, since the 1990s, the venerable automaker has also sold vehicles to the general public, through outlets such as ours here at McLaren Chicago.
McLaren vehicles provide an incredible experience on the track. However, drivers from the Chicago area sometimes inquire of our team: is it legal to drive a McLaren on public roads?
Street-Legal and Track-Only McLaren Models
Yes, select McLaren models are road legal. The street-legality of a McLaren is determined on a model-by-model basis. While a few of the high-end machines produced by McLaren Automotive are made for purely track-based thrills, many are made to be street-legal as well.
Street-legal McLaren vehicles include the:
Some examples of McLaren models not street-legal in the U.S. are the:
- Elva (original windshield-less model)
- Senna GTR
McLaren models that are solely track-focused are often produced with a road-friendly counterpart, so buyers can choose whether they prefer top-tier track energy or road-legal flexibility. McLaren vehicles can also be converted by specialized third parties to be street legal.
Did you know that there is a McLaren cartoon?
Does the legality of a model for road use differ based on location?
At times, the legality of models for street use differs from state to state. It also differs by country, with the United States seeming to have tighter standard for street use than Europe.
What makes a vehicle legal or illegal for street use?
Elements that affect street legality include the inclusion of specific safety features (such as side-airbags) and proper side mirrors. Sometimes, McLaren chooses to not include these features if they will hurt aerodynamics or increase weight. The original McLaren Elva, for example, uses unique technology that allows it to operate without a windshield. This makes it illegal to drive on American roads, though McLaren has recently announced a model with a windshield that will be U.S.-street-legal.
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