And then there were two....
McLaren has released pictures of the spiritual successor to its iconic F1 on the intertubes, effectively unveiling the second of three (plus two) cars that will make up 2013’s most anticipated group test.
So far there is no technical information about the car, but based on rumours and educated guesswork, there are certain assumptions we can make about what the P1 will be packing when it hits the roads sometime next year. The first thing that we can be sure of is that the all-British hypercar will be stuffed with what McLaren will call ‘F1-inspired technology’. The de-rigeur paddle-shift gearbox, carbon brakes and push-rod suspension are likely to be the headliners in that department. Expect a development of the 3.8 litre twin turbo motor that currently resides in the ‘entry level’ £160,000 MP4-12C.
While the company has stated that its aim is simply to ‘make the best road and track car ever’, they won’t want to be too far behind Porsche and Ferrari in the top-trumps stakes
The big questions are: ‘how much power?’, and ‘will it get an F1-style KERS system?’ The answers to those questions are ‘lots and lots’ and ‘yes’. While the company has stated that its aim is simply to ‘make the best road and track car ever’, they won’t want to be too far behind Porsche and Ferrari in the top-trumps stakes, so we can expect at least 800bhp from hydrocarbons and a further 150bhp+ from the KERS system. Weight is likely to be a svelte 1300kg-or-so, making the near-thousand horsepower car a couple of passengers lighter than your 200bhp Golf GTi. Yikes. Active aero will probably feature too, allowing the car to make itself aerodynamically grippy or slippy depending on whether the owner’s trying to impress an attractive young thing with top speed or g-force.
The question that is on every petrolhead’s lips though is ‘will the P1 get three seats?’. Seems an odd one, I’ll admit, but the F1 was as famous for its central driving position with a passenger either side as it was for its record-breaking top speed. Will McLaren repeat the trick and offer what could be the biggest USP of them all? All chatter points to the P1 getting a conventional seating arrangement; I’m not so sure. The pictures show a wide cabin of a very similar shape to the F1 but, despite machinations to the contrary, the P1 is – unlike the F1 – a car designed to sell, not be the finest, no-compromise road car ever made. Will the middle-aged multi-millionaires who will buy it be willing to clumsily clamber out of their car in front of Monaco’s casino for the sake of the perfect driving position? Sadly, I suspect they won’t. I’m not sure McLaren will have the balls to do it, I hope they prove me wrong.
The looks are a subjective thing, but despite what I think is a slightly cheesy incorporation of the McLaren logo in to the design of the lights, I think it looks mega. The front three-quarter is not as wonderfully successful as the rear and profile views, but I have a suspicion that’s more the angle of the shot than the actual design. Apparently it’s also smaller than a 911, so will be magnificently compact in real-life.
The big questions are: ‘how much power?’, and ‘will it get an F1-style KERS system?’ The answers to those questions are ‘lots and lots’ and ‘yes’
This is an important car for McLaren, the difficult second album, a car that will cost an awful lot of money and will go head to head with similarly-priced and performing cars from Ferrari and Porsche as well as the arguably more exclusive Koenigsegg Agera, Pagani Huayra and elusive Aston Martin One-77. Despite the fact that the engine may be a bit ‘dull’ compared to its peers, given how well the MP4-12C is selling, I think the Woking boys will be confident.
Shame I’ll never get to drive any of them!
Price: Likely to knocking on door of a million quid. Probably around £800,000
Power: Somewhere around 950-1000bhp with KERS seems feasible
Pace: Expect a 0-60 time of three seconds or less, and a top speed on the exciting side of 240mph.
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