“Every racing driver starts racing because he enjoys driving cars…”
– Bruce McLaren
When I first heard about the McLaren Light Suit, my fertile imagination wandered off in the direction of a ‘Suit of Lights’ as worn by suave matadors. However, sense prevailed as Bruce McLaren was a down-to-Earth Kiwi.
“To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one’s ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
– Bruce McLaren died aged 32 years racing his Can-Am M8D prototype at Goodwood in 1970.
- McLaren Automotive and Sparco collaborate to offer world’s lightest race suit weighing in at just 590 grams (size EU 52 or 42 inch chest)
- FIA-certified driver race suit available in bespoke colour options and designs
- Meticulously hand-crafted; each garment takes 12 hours to construct
The Pursuit of Light
McLaren Automotive is known for its continuous pursuit of light weight technology. True to that principle, they offer a bespoke item for McLaren fans, racers and track-day drivers alike: the Sparco McLaren SP16+ is a race suit designed like no other. With the whole suit weighing at least 10 per cent less than any other, the Sparco McLaren SP16+ is the lightest race suit to be approved by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) at just 590 grams (size EURO 52 or 42 inch chest).
For more than 50 years, McLaren has pursued weight optimisation in their cars. Concurrently, for the past 40 years, it has been the guiding concept at Sparco – a company synonymous with motorsport safety and style. Sparco was also founded by racing drivers like McLaren with a passion to advance their sport. The drivers from Turin introduced their first fireproof suit in 1977.
Now, in partnership, these two racing companies have collaborated with their respective weight-saving technologies to create the lightest race suit in the world. McLaren F1 Racing Team drivers have been wearing the kit since 2016 but now, the Light Suit can now be ordered by McLaren Automotive customers.
Like the Formula 1 race suits, your Sparco McLaren SP16+ will be entirely hand-made in Italy, each taking more than 12 hours to construct. Just like McLaren’s snazzy road cars, your suit can be personalised to order, with a selection of bespoke colours and options including side pockets, phone pocket and belt.
“The true cost of luxury is the choice that it affords…”
To this end, the McLaren journey extends a bit more; the customer can match his or her suit to the livery of their race team or any other designs.
The SP16+ boasts an ultra-slim zip, seamless Nomex wrists and ankles, reduced neck and shoulder pads and ultra-thin thread for the stitching – all of which have contributed to weight reduction; microgram by microgram.
A special two-layer construction of fireproof material reduces weight even further, while ensuring the garment remains exceptionally breathable and comfortable to wear.
The Sparco McLaren SP16+ race suit costs from £2,344 plus taxes. Bespoke options at additional cost start from £250 plus taxes.
Featured items worn by Bruno Senna
The McLaren Track Wear range starts from £30 plus taxes with the McLaren Shield RW-9 Underwear Balaclava.
McLaren Bell HP7 Helmet: £2,568 plus taxes;
McLaren SP16 Race Suit: from £2,344 plus taxes;
Bespoke McLaren Shield RW-9 Underwear Top: £155 plus taxes;
McLaren RB-8 Racing Shoes (Smooth Leather): £232 plus taxes;
McLaren RG-7 Racing Gloves (Grey – available in black): £224 plus taxes.
Previous McLaren Articles on AlphaLuxe
McLaren 600LT Debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed
McLaren Automotive and Richard Mille Reveal First Watch
McLaren Senna extreme road hypercar
Double Whammy from Dubai
McLaren 570GT MSO Collection in Historic LeMans XP Green
McLaren P1 Electric Car
Climbing in the McLaren F1
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He was former CEO of PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).