The winner of the design competition among students of Royal College of Art’s vehicle design course to build a minimalist McLaren supercar is Teeravit Hanharutaivan. His winning proposal was of an MP4-S, a single-seater for “urban and track racing” use that he built with the use of a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic tub.
We first learned about this competition from Autocar at the start of 2011 when McLaren launched a contest for the best design proposal for a small, stripped-out supercar. McLaren design boss Frank Stephenson managed this ‘Autopure’ competition. He had said previously that before the decade ends, serious work on a totally re-imagined minimalist supercar may be carried out.
McLaren wanted the students to base their proposals for a small vehicle on the brand’s ethos of “everything for a reason” and its emphasis on the social and environmental trends for upcoming vehicles. After students submitted their work at the McLaren Technology Centre, five finalists were chosen. They then built highly finished 3D models. Stephenson selected Hanharutaivan’s design, which is significantly stripped so that it has no dashboard and instead, it uses a head-up display.
Marianna Merenmies’ McLaren JetSet was one of the finalists. She said that her design was focused on aerodynamic efficiency. She said that the challenge was to make a sustainable vehicle that would be liked by high-end customers.
The JetSet is powered by an electric motor and is an ultra-light single-seater with widespread use of carbonfibre in the chassis, body and wheels. Its length is 3.7m and its height is 1.03m and it has a proposed drag coefficient of 0.20. It is expected to be priced at £50,000.