There was a time when just owning a supercar was enough.
Sure, there were companies taking the latest and greatest offerings from Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini and the like, and making them their own for those with extra money to burn and a need to stand out, but for the vast majority of supercar buyers, the factory specification more than sufficed.
For the most part this still rings true today, but since the advent of social media, the art of supercar personalization has been taken to a whole new level. For many, it’s an absolute must.
Some buyers are content with a wrap, wheels, suspension and an exhaust – upgrades that pretty much any custom shop anywhere in the world can now take care of – while others take things a step further, putting their supercar under the knife for a wide-body conversion. In any other year, right about now we’d have had more than our fill of these creations from the annual SEMA Show – some stunning, others shocking.
As the demand for supercar personalization has grown, so to has the business around it. Speccing your car from factory to your own taste has become the norm, as have special limited edition models.
But just because supercar manufacturers are getting in on the act doesn’t mean that boutique aftermarket companies aren’t thriving in this sector anymore. In fact, it’s only making ultra-exclusive machines like this Novitec N-Largo McLaren 720S even more prevalent.
So who is Novitec? Based in Bavaria, Germany, the company was founded 31 years ago by Wolfgang Hagedorn. Novitec got its start producing aftermarket styling and tuning parts for Fiats and, soon after, Alfa Romeos, but in 2003 its focus turned to high-end Italian cars. First it was Ferraris, then in 2007, Maseratis, and in 2013, Lamborghinis. In 2020, you can purchase single parts through to complete car packages from Novitec, with its product range now extending beyond Italian carmakers to McLaren, Rolls-Royce, and Tesla models too.
This specific car has just been completed in South Africa by Kyalami-based RACE!, and it really is something special – just 15 Novitec 720S N-Largo kits were produced and all were pre-sold before it went public.
A few nights before seeing the completed car, I popped by the RACE! shop where the team was busy finishing off the build. I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity, because the chance of me seeing another McLaren like this in person is pretty much zero – let alone with an MSO (McLaren Special Operations) Senna parked alongside.
With the Novitec kit, lightweight moulded carbon fiber body parts are used to add an extra 2.3-inches to the front end and a not-so-subtle 5.1-inches to the rear. Carbon side skirts have also been added to the mix, as have mirror covers, and a new hood and roof scoop.
Around the back, the added girth is hard to miss – the vented rear fenders stare you squarely in the face.
What makes the N-Largo kit even more special is the fact that it was wind tunnel-tested and optimised before being put into production, allowing it to at least maintain the aerodynamic, performance and cooling fundamentals that make the 720S a supercar in the first place. A larger carbon wing, which is actually said to increase downforce, is included, and a diffuser, center rear air intake, and engine cover are all on the upgrade list too.
As for the paint, this is not a McLaren color option. Both the retained (original) bodywork and Novitec parts have been sprayed in a custom silver hue featuring plenty of metallic flake.
The Novitec forged wheels – 20×9-inch with 245/30R20 tyres up front, and 21×12-inch with 325/25R21 tyres out back – are custom-made by Vossen in the USA, and sit tight but functionally under the fenders thanks to a 30mm drop via Novitec sport springs.
A Novitec exhaust is standard fare with the N-Largo, but RACE! opted to go with a Fabspeed de-cat system featuring anti-thermal blankets, an x-pipe, and those beautiful burnt tips.
RACE! also installed a Novitec ECU, which raises output from the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine to 592kW (806hp) – hence the ‘806NL’ badges – and 878Nm of torque. Novitec says this equates to a 0-100km/h sprint in just 2.7-seconds, 0-200-km/h in 7.5-seconds, and a top speed of 346km/h (215mph).
As you’d expect, the interior accents match the exterior, so the cockpit is a nice place to be when you’re doing 300km/h+.
The Novitec N-Largo McLaren 720S is a prime example of how far you can go with your supercar. This particular example’s South African businessman owner really loves ultra-rare machines, including previously a white Zonda F Clubsport and an extravagant Mansory Bugatti Veyron, which was a one of one, built just for him. In his garage today he also has two Liberty Walk Lamborghinis, one a Huracán and the other an Aventador.
Personally, I love this Novitec McLaren, but I’m keen to hear your thoughts on modified and limited edition builds of already rather exclusive cars. Are they cool, or just pretentious and attention-seeking?