How to experience McLaren; iDriveSoCal’s Professor, Clinton Quan, recently enjoyed his second opportunity to drive one of the finest street machines made. That’s right… it’s not his first time!
What’s that you say? You’d like to drive a McLaren too… really? Well, first get in line because you are far from alone in your desire. With that said, the Professor maintains that it’s really not that hard to be given the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one of the most exclusive supercars in production.
Click play below to hear how the Professor enjoys supercars without the super-purchase and says you can do the exact same thing. It’s only in this iDriveSoCal Podcast!
Recording date – September 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA
Exotic Access: 101
Clinton Quan: This event, it’s called the McLaren Forward Sports Series Tour and the “sports series” is for the 570S and they’re really promoting the Spider so all three of the vehicles on display were Spiders.
They had a green, a black, and a white one. I was the very first one there so I got to pick which one I wanted to drive.
They, he, let me drive it pretty much as fast as I wanted. Pretty high speeds, we’ll just say that.
Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capital of these fine United States of America, southern California. Tom Smith here and joining me is our good buddy, pal, chum, amigo, compadre, comrade, Clinton Quan, “The Professor.” Say, “Hello,” Clinton.
Clinton Quan: Hi, Tom.
Tom Smith: Yay, yay. The crowd goes wild. Ahhhhh.
Today’s podcast is The Professor’s McLaren experience. How did you get hooked up with this one by the way?
“Do you know how much you and me and Bernadette would have to fight to see who gets to go on those test drives?”
Clinton Quan: A friend of mine invited me to the event.
Tom Smith: Alright.
Clinton Quan: So I signed up as soon as he sent me the invitation.
Tom Smith: So, Professor is the Professor and he’s a contributor for iDriveSoCal because he’s got automotive in his veins and he gets invited to all the craziest stuff. Sometimes he gets in and gets special treatment by way of iDriveSoCal but the truth is, he gets special treatment for all kinds of automotive things just because.
I don’t really know why, just because he’s been…
You know what? You’re almost like the guy or gal that, over the years, cut their way in the line to the most exclusive clubs for so long that they just started thinking.
Step One: Play the Part
“Well, you’re supposed to be here, right? You’re… Come on in!” And it’s like, dude, what do you…? You’re driving a three-hundred-thousand-dollar car around LA for fun? I mean, you gotta, if you’re not…
Clinton Quan: About two hundred thousand.
Tom Smith: Whatever. If you’re not listening to this podcast on iDriveSoCal.com and looking at the pictures on this podcast post, you have to do yourself a favor and check it out because The Professor got invited to this thing and there’s literally four brand new, gorgeous McLarens parked in front of the Metropolis Hotel?
Clinton Quan: Metropolis downtown. It’s not a hotel. It’s next to the Indigo Hotel. These are condominiums.
Tom Smith: Okay, so, a million dollars worth of exotic supercars parked right in front of each other and…
Clinton Quan: Yes. There were three of them.
Tom Smith: Okay. And there was The Prof … there was blue, black, white, and green?
“He noticed I was very interested in the vehicle so he asked me if I wanted to attend the event…”
Clinton Quan: No, it was green, black, and white. There was no blue.
Tom Smith: Oh, okay. Caught my eye different in the sun or whatever.
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: So, the McLaren event you got yourself invited to and, I’m pretty sure that we’re safe to just give McLaren all kinds of love because I’m not quite sure that we’re gonna get any McLaren dealer partners for iDriveSoCal podcast. Maybe?
Clinton Quan: No.
Tom Smith: That would be fun!
Do you know how much you and me and Bernadette would have to fight to see who gets to go on those test drives? It’d be like, “Na, I’m goin’.” “I’m goin’!” “Na, Na … ” I would just trump you guys and be like, “No, I’m going. My podcast. I’m gonna go talk about myself.”
Step Two: Be Cool – and Smart!
Clinton Quan: Well, I’ve driven the McLaren twice already so…
Tom Smith: Well, I’ve never driven it. So, at any rate, you get invited to this thing by way of your buddy. You go … Tell us about the day. Tell us a brief intro on how you got invited because I’m sure other people would love to take notes and try to elbow their way into some of the same clubs that you’ve gotten yourself into over the years and …
Clinton Quan: Well, the first time I ever got to drive a McLaren, I was at the Greystone Mansion Concours L’Elegance and McLaren is one of the sponsors for the event so I was talking to the gentleman there for McLaren and he…
Tom Smith: And he said, “Yeah, we’re probably gonna sell you five or six in your lifetime so why don’t you … Here’s the keys. Have fun.”
Clinton Quan: He noticed I was very interested in the vehicle so he asked me if I wanted to attend the event and it was basically thirty people that got to attend this event and I got to drive the McLaren out in Calabasas on the highway.
“McLaren or Aston Martin or Ferrari. That’s how I’ve gotten invited to drive all these various sports cars.”
Tom Smith: Who’s not interested in the vehicle?
Clinton Quan: Well, I think that they’re looking for people that actually know the car.
Tom Smith: Yeah, I know. He appreciated your rap, your game, and he’s like, “Alright, this guy knows his stuff. He’s drooled over this one long enough I guess we’ll give him the keys.”
Clinton Quan: Someone who seems a little more serious.
Tom Smith: Yeah. Yeah.
Step Three: Show Up
But I mean, geez, if you’re a manufacturer’s rep or you’re a salesperson for a two-hundred-plus-thousand-dollar car I think you’re pretty discriminating about who you invite to get behind the wheel.
Clinton Quan: Yes, I would think so.
Tom Smith: So… anyway. Keep on listening. If you want to get invited to these things like The Professor does just keep on listening to the iDriveSoCal podcast and take notes and I’m sure…
Clinton Quan: Go to more events.
Tom Smith: …over time The Professor will slip enough little hints out and you, yourself, may be getting invited to McLaren events. I sure am not but, you know …
Clinton Quan: McLaren or Aston Martin or Ferrari. That’s how I’ve gotten invited to drive all these various sports cars.
“I got to drive the 570S Spider on the Arroyo Seco Parkway from downtown LA to Pasadena and, for those of you who don’t know, that’s LA’s first freeway.”
Tom Smith: Not to drop names at all. Oh excuse me, let me pick that name up, dust it off a little bit. Did you hear what I said? Should I say it again?
Clinton Quan: So, this event, it’s called the McLaren Forward Sports Series Tour and the “sports series” is for the 570S and they’re really promoting the Spider so all three of the vehicles on display were Spiders. As you mentioned earlier, they had a green, a black, and a white one. I was the very first one there so I got to pick which one I wanted to drive.
Tom Smith: Shocker
Clinton Quan: And there was no designated route and they told me I could take any route I wanted so, obviously
Tom Smith: Like someone in the Midwest staking out Walmart that’s giving away dollar… First person in line gets the 65 inch big screen for five bucks! Professor’s in line 3 weeks early, camping out.
Clinton Quan: There’s a registered time slot.
Step Four: Arrive Early
Tom Smith: But, yeah, I’m sure…
Clinton Quan: I got the first time slot. I registered online.
Tom Smith: Okay. Of course. Of course. Sorry to interrupt, I just… You were early? Really? That’s… surprising. Not at all. Sorry, continue.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, I got to drive the 570S Spider on the Arroyo Seco Parkway from downtown LA to Pasadena and, for those of you who don’t know, that’s LA’s first freeway.
Tom Smith: Really? I didn’t know that.
Clinton Quan: Oh yeah. That’s the freeway connecting downtown to LA’s first suburb, Pasadena
Tom Smith: So…
Clinton Quan: That’s the freeway that’s very narrow and windy, three lanes.
Tom Smith: Oh shoot, you know what, I think I was on that today.
“…if someone’s with you, they know how fast you went so why can’t you just say it?”
Clinton Quan: I think you would remember.
Tom Smith: Maybe I wasn’t? Okay. So, here’s my thing though, exotic super car means super tight suspension, means super low to the ground, means, me personally, if I ever am blessed, lucky, gracious enough to drive one, much less own one, LA county is probably never going to be a place that I drive it just ’cause the roads are not that good.
Clinton Quan: I was so impressed with how well this car handles and the smoothness of the ride
Tom Smith: I’m not sayin’ the car. I’m not sayin’ the car at all. I’m sayin’ our roads in Los Angeles County are so bad, so pot-holey, so…
Clinton Quan: That’s true.
Tom Smith: …under-maintained that I wouldn’t take a vehicle of that stature. I had a four-door, well, that’s duplicitous, I had a sport’s sedan that I wound up getting rid of because I felt like I was driving a log wagon every day. Now, that was my daily driver and…
Enjoy the Ride
Obviously, this isn’t a daily driver but all I’m sayin’ is, if I’m drivin’ a McLaren, I wanna do it on, I don’t know, OC roads ’cause they’re just better roads. They’re smoother roads.
Clinton Quan: That’s true.
Tom Smith: I’m not sayin’ anything about the car ride. I’m sure the car drove awesome but, at any rate. The drive took place where it took place.
Clinton Quan: The point I was trying to make was that even though you could feel, there’s so many bumps on the road and it’s not a smooth road, it was incredible how smooth the ride was in this car going at really high speeds and I’m not gonna say how fast it was but…
Tom Smith: Why? Did you have somebody with you or were you solo?
Clinton Quan: Oh no, there’s someone with me.
Tom Smith: Okay.
Clinton Quan: But…
“They provided breakfast… It was a really fun morning with the McLaren 570S. They also had a cocktail reception in the evening…”
Tom Smith: Well then why can’t, if someone’s with you, they know how fast you went so why can’t you just say it?
Clinton Quan: They, he, let me drive it pretty much as fast as I wanted.
Tom Smith: You said you hit triple digits, didn’t you? Just say it! Whatever, dude!
Clinton Quan: Pretty high speeds, we’ll just say that.
Tom Smith: Come on, I’m gonna start doing some podcasts with LAPD. I’ll make sure to tell them that you did over a hundred on, is it Arroyo Seco Highway?
Clinton Quan: Parkway.
Tom Smith: Parkway. Alright.
Clinton Quan: Arroyo Seco Parkway.
Tom Smith: The Professor did that. That’s okay. Professors got a fuzz buster by the way, ladies and gentleman. I didn’t even know that those things still worked with all the technology out there but I guess they do and it’s an Escort. The old Fuzz Buster Escort.
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
Clinton Quan: Yes. Escort radar.
Tom Smith: You got a CB too?
Clinton Quan: No, I do not.
Tom Smith: Breaker 1-9 for a Smokey report, good buddy.
Clinton Quan: No.
Tom Smith: No? Smokey and the Bandit kinda thing?
Clinton Quan: No. No.
Tom Smith: We could get CBs for iDriveSoCal? That could be our first live broadcast instead of a podcast. We could do it on CBs. Alright, that would be… Whatever. I can’t stop interrupting you on this one. So, what is the rest of the day look like? You got there early? And then what?
“There is a time slot but you go where you want to go. I talked to someone else who drove on the 10.”
Clinton Quan: They had a reception on one of the upper floors of the Metropolis and they gave a tour of a couple of the units. They provided breakfast as well and got to take a number of photos with all the vehicles. It was a really fun morning with the McLaren 570S. They also had a cocktail reception in the evening, however, I didn’t attend the evening event.
Tom Smith: Okay. Okay, but back up. You got there early. They had breakfast. The cars were on display right in front of the Metropolis Condominium Complex next to the… who hotel?
Clinton Quan: Next to the Indigo Hotel.
Tom Smith: The Indigo Hotel. Is this on Wilshire? Where is this?
Clinton Quan: This is just a little bit north of LA Live.
Tom Smith: Okay, so you get there and you’re one of… how many people are going to show up for this thing?
Clinton Quan: For this event? I don’t know.
Tom Smith: Oh, because it was timed and you just show up for your time slot and…
Clinton Quan: I mean, there is a limit to the number of people ’cause you only have three cars and if each one and each person is spending thirty, forty-five minutes, yeah…
Tom Smith: Okay so you got there, you had some food, you got to go for a drive but you had a chaperone with you. The chaperone is like, “Go nuts.”
Clinton Quan: You get to pick the route.
Tom Smith: Oh really?
Clinton Quan: Yeah. So that’s …
Tom Smith: So they just give you a time, like that? Did you have to tell them what route you wanted previous? Did they say, “Hey, A, B, C, or D routes.” Or…?
Clinton Quan: Oh, I told ’em. No, no. You drive wherever you want to go. There is a time slot but you go where you want to go. I talked to someone else who drove on the 10.
“It’s a race car for the streets, essentially, that’s what it is, or a track car for the streets.”
Tom Smith: Okay, so you… what’d they say, “Come back in twenty minutes?” Or, “Come back in… ” What? How does it work?
Clinton Quan: Well, he’s with you so he’ll say, “Okay, it’s probably time we turn around now.”
Tom Smith: Okay.
Clinton Quan: Yeah. So, I took it all the way up to pas…
Tom Smith: What, so you got to Paso or…
Clinton Quan: Once I got to Pasadena and then I turned around.
Tom Smith: I was joking. I said, “Paso.” Like Paso Robles, Templeton, and you said Pasadena.
Clinton Quan: I wouldn’t mind driving to Paso Robles.
Tom Smith: I’m sure you wouldn’t. I wouldn’t either.
Clinton Quan: I wouldn’t mind spending the whole day with the car.
Tom Smith: So, all in, you were driving for how long?
Clinton Quan: Oh, it was probably a good half an hour.
Street-Legal Race Car
Tom Smith: Okay. Very nice. I mean, if you were to go rent one of those things, a half an hour cost ya … eight hundred bucks, a thousand bucks ’cause you can’t do it for a half an hour, right? You’d have to rent it for a half a day or somethin’. That’s probably gonna be a grand, right?
Clinton Quan: Probably. Yes, yes, yes.
Tom Smith: So, beautiful thing. Alright, well, that’s one of the benefits of being The Professor.
Clinton Quan: It’s quite an experience driving a McLaren 570S.
Tom Smith: And then you did not stick around, yeah I mean, do we need to talk around the, “So, what’d you think of the inside of the car. What’d you think about the outside of the car?” “It was awesome, it was perfect, it was awesome, it was perfect. It was fast, it was awesome, it was perfect. Thank you very much.” “Top 3?” “It was awesome, it was perfect, it was fast.”
“…their entry-level McLaren would pretty much be the top of the line sports car for most manufacturers…”
Clinton Quan: Well, the interior is very basic. There’s nothing luxurious about it.
Tom Smith: I know. Well, it’s a race car. I mean…
Clinton Quan: It’s a race car for the streets, essentially, that’s what it is, or a track car for the streets.
Tom Smith: It’s a race car with brake lights and turn signals.
Clinton Quan: It’s all about performance.
Tom Smith: It is a gorgeous car. Again, if you haven’t checked out the pictures you have to do so because they were just that special.
Clinton Quan: And in terms of the exterior design, I would say it’s my favorite McLaren, more so than the 720.
Tom Smith: Okay. I don’t know my McLarens that well. Do they, how many, what’s…?
Clinton Quan: This is the entry-level McLaren.
Tom Smith: Okay, and what does their model lineup look like year in, year out? Does it fluctuate? Is it always so many models?
Clinton Quan: Well, they come out with special editions as well. They have a new one called the 600LT so that’s a little step up above the 570S but this is called their “sports series” so this is, what is their entry-level McLaren would pretty much be the top of the line sports car for most manufacturers such as the Porsche 911 Turbo, right, unless you go up to the Porsche 918 but that’s…
Tom Smith: But its McLaren. They make how many cars a year?
Clinton Quan: Yeah, so…
Tom Smith: So, I mean, McLaren is exotic, supercar, specific manufacturer. How many models do they have, say, 2018, 2019?
“Love the sound of this car. It’s got a 3.8 liter V6, twin turbo, five hundred and sixty-two horsepower.”
Clinton Quan: Pretty much, it would be…
Tom Smith: Two, three?
Clinton Quan: …three. You’ve got the 570, the 720, and then the P1.
Tom Smith: Okay, and, the 570s what you drove.
Clinton Quan: Yes.
Tom Smith: Starting price is a buck ninety.
Clinton Quan: It’s about a hundred-and-ninety-thousand, starting price.
Tom Smith: Okay, and then you gotta buy seats, steering wheel, and add the tires too?
Clinton Quan: Depends on how much carbon fiber you want, I guess, on the interior.
Tom Smith: But, so, a buck ninety starting price and then you can probably go up to, what, on that car? Add an extra hundred thousand in accessories? Who knows?
Clinton Quan: I don’t know that much but I would think maybe another fifty thousand? Sixty thousand? I’m guessing.
McLaren 720 & P1
Tom Smith: And then the next one up that they offer is, what?
Clinton Quan: The 720 which has seven hundred ten horsepower. I believe that one’s around three hundred thousand, I believe.
Tom Smith: And then, what is there, the P1 you said, or the P2?
Clinton Quan: The P1. That’s their hypercar, that’s like a very exclusive, limited, vehicle. In a whole ‘nother…
Tom Smith: How much?
Clinton Quan: …whole ‘nother level of, probably, its gotta be over a million I’m guessing. Yeah.
Tom Smith: Shazam!
“…what’s amazing is that the Spider, McLaren says that it only weighs about a hundred more pounds than the hardtop…”
Clinton Quan: Once you’re at that price level…
Tom Smith: It just doesn’t matter?
Clinton Quan: It doesn’t matter. Why even ask. If you have to ask, you can’t… But I love the way the 570 looks and I think it’s a beautiful looking, exotic sports car.
Tom Smith: Sound?
Clinton Quan: Oh! Love the sound. Love the sound of this car. It’s got a 3.8 liter V6, twin turbo, five hundred and sixty-two horsepower. Five hundred and sixty-two horsepower…
Tom Smith: 3.8 V6, twin turbo, five hundred and…
Clinton Quan: …sixty-two horsepower.
Tom Smith: What torque?
Clinton Quan: Four hundred, forty-three-pound feet of torque.
Tom Smith: Gosh and the weight of that car has gotta be nothin’, right?
Clinton Quan: Oh, it’s very light-weight.
Tom Smith: I mean, as far as the power to weight ratio…
If You Have the Chance…
Clinton Quan: Yeah, and that’s why it’s so fast. Zero to sixty in under three seconds and what’s amazing is that the Spider, McLaren says that it only weighs about a hundred more pounds than the hardtop and that’s really remarkable because it’s got a motor. It’s a retractable hardtop and for it to only weigh a hundred pounds more is pretty amazing.
Tom Smith: It’s probably mostly the motor then, that extra hundred pounds is, because I betcha the top’s nothin’.
Clinton Quan: Yep. That’s correct.
“Incredible experience though, if you have the chance, take advantage of it.”
Tom Smith: So, this car’s rear wheel drive or all?
Clinton Quan: This is rear wheel drive.
Tom Smith: Silly question, why don’t they drift these cars?
Nah, I’m not even gonna respond to that one. You’re stupid, Tom. Alright, anything else to add, Professor?
Clinton Quan: Incredible experience though, if you have the chance, take advantage of it.
Tom Smith: Yeah, if yeah have the chance to drive a two-hundred-thousand-dollar exotic supercar, The Professor suggests you go ahead and give it a whirl. Thanks, Clinton. For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith. Thank you for listening.