McLaren P1 versus LaFerrari, fight!

Article by Anita Panait, on March 11, 2013

We usually witness the rivalry between high-speed car makers McLaren and Ferrari on an F1 racetrack but the carmakers now took their rivalry to the ongoing Geneva Auto Show by unveiling million-euro hybrid hypercars that would compete against each other. Shortly after Ferrari unveiled its hybrid hypercar, McLaren chairman Ron Dennis stepped onto the stand to get a closer look.

Dennis told Nick Gibbs of Automotive News Europe that Ferrari’s LaFerrari would provide an “interesting competition” to McLaren’s P1 when it comes to the Nordschleife, referring to the much coveted record lap time for a production car on the famous Nuerburging track in Germany. The Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1 are similar, on paper.

The Ferrari LaFerrari costs EUR1.41 million ($1.84 million) in Germany while McLaren P1 costs EUR1.06 million. Both hybrid hypercars are exclusive as McLaren is bound to build only 375 examples of the P1 while Ferrari will produce only 499 examples of the LaFerrari.

Although the P1 boasts of a higher output at 903hp compared to the LaFerrari’s 800hp, the difference cannot be seen in acceleration, as both carmakers claim that their hypercars could accelerate from zero to 100km/h from zero in less than three seconds. The P1’s top speed is limited to 350km/h (217mph) while the LaFerrari’s top speed could reach over 350km/h.

The hybrid hypercars provide a first for both carmakers, as they employed their expertise on electric KERs technology in F1 to add a hybrid system, although technology differs slightly between the two cars. McLaren's IPAS system pairs a lightweight electric motor to a 100-kg battery pack, which could be charged from a plug.

The British carmaker said that at city speeds, the P1 could run 20km on electric power only, allowing it to achieve a carbon dioxide emission rating of less than 200g/km. The Ferrari HY-KERS system, meanwhile, reduces the battery pack to just 60kg, but could not be charged externally, resulting in a much higher emissions rating of 330g/km.

Ferrari said in a statement that its “still-impressive” carbon dioxide emission figure was achieved "without resorting to electric-only drive which would not fit the mission of this model," referring to the McLaren P1. McLaren’s hybrid hypercar needs an extra battery boost to make up a displacement shortfall.  The P1 is powered by a development of the 3.8 liter twin-turbo V-8 from the McLaren 12C supercar, while the LaFerrari is powered by a 6.3 liter V-12. Both cars are constructed on a carbon fiber structure to save weight, with McLaren claiming that its vehicle only weighs 1400kg.

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