Aerodynamic design of McLaren P1 highlighted in interactive site

Article by Anita Panait, on May 6, 2013

McLaren is offering a new experience for McLaren P1 fans and enthusiasts through an interactive Web site called “Designed by Air.” Highlighting the aerodynamic design of the McLaren P1, the Web site provides participants a thorough tour of the McLaren P1 as it is ‘born’ from raw metallic and carbon elements and crafted by airflow.

The interactive online experience takes participants on a journey of a McLaren P1 inside a wind tunnel, underlining the aerodynamic focus of the vehicle’s design. The immersing and engaging journey continues to more sections until it reveals an interactive 3D model that provides more information about its thoroughly designed aerodynamic features.

The online interactive experience, which is inspired by McLaren Automotive Design Director Frank Stephenson’s biomimicry design philosophy, presents the McLaren P1 cruising in different simulated environments -- urban, alpine, highway and track – all of which are aimed at detailing the vehicle’s active aerodynamic systems that adjust and adapt to provide optimum performance for any driving condition.

The ‘Designed by Air’ McLaren P1 online interactive experience is socially enabled and comes with a final section ‘Future Chapters’ that invites participants to ‘like’, share and register ahead of future updates on the McLaren P1’s interior and performance features.

According to Frank Stephenson, Design Director at McLaren Automotive, their main objective with the McLaren P1 was to design the “best driver’s car in the world,” on road and track.

He noted that managing air flow in and around the McLaren P1’s bodywork and optimizing aerodynamics was the key in achieving the goal. He said that this design philosophy resulted to the “highly unique and emotive shape” of the car. The online ‘Designed by Air’ experience is the first of a two-part series telling the story behind the McLaren P1’s design. Online interactive experience can be found at

The marching order for McLaren was clear and straight forward from the very beginning. There was no room for misunderstanding what the objective was. They even stated it in the simplest of terms: To produce the best road and track car in the world. No ifs and buts about it.

To do that, McLaren poured in its resources and all its experience gained from 50 years of producing indisputably superior and best in class cars that exhibit form and quality whether in a controlled environment like a racetrack or in more free-flowing and unregulated road conditions. And so to this end, the new McLaren P1 was conceptualized, perfected, and introduced to the world.

McLaren P1 is a marvel in aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fibre technology. Picture this: the McLaren P1 careens effortlessly on a narrow downhill slope that suddenly turns a corner at the junction, and the McLaren P1, because of its downforce capability that mirrors that of a GT3 race car, still manages to maintain its speed, balance, and cornering maneuverability.

All these are par for the course for a car that is making a strong case for being the best in the world. The McLaren P1 is powered by a 3.8-litre twin-turbo petrol engine, an M838TQ single electric motor, outstanding throttle response, and unprecedented straight-line performance. All these contribute to mindblowing capabilities in the McLaren P1 that the rest of the automotive industry can only dream of. These include top speed of 350km/hr (217 mph), 2.8 seconds for the 0-100 km/h(62 mph), 6.8 seconds for 200 km/h(124 mph), 16.5 seconds for 300 km/h(186 mph), and a combined power output of 916 PS (903 hp).

Press Release


The key to the performance for the McLaren P1™ is aerodynamics, and a new web experience, entitled ‘Designed by Air’, is the first of a two part series telling the extraordinary story behind the car’s design.

The website offers participants a detailed insight as the car is ‘born’ from raw metallic and carbon elements and is crafted by airflow. The journey evolves to unveil the McLaren P1™ within the wind tunnel highlighting the aerodynamic focus of the design.

Expanding into further sections, the story behind the design of the McLaren P1™ reveals an interactive 3D model with further information about the finely honed aerodynamic features. The immersive experience, inspired by McLaren Automotive Design Director Frank Stephenson’s biomimicry design philosophy, showcases the McLaren P1™ in simulated urban, alpine, highway and track environments, detailing how the active aerodynamic systems adjust and adapt to deliver optimum performance for differing driving conditions.

The ‘Designed by Air’ McLaren P1™ experience is socially enabled, with a final section ‘Future Chapters’ inviting users to ‘like’, share and register ahead of future updates on the car’s interior and performance features.

Frank Stephenson, Design Director at McLaren Automotive explains: “Our main objective with the McLaren P1™ was to design the best driver’s car in the world, on road and track. Managing air flow in and around the car’s bodywork and optimising aerodynamics was key in achieving this goal. This design philosophy crafted the highly unique and emotive shape of the car.

“The online ‘Designed by Air’ experience developed for the McLaren P1™ captures the essence and detail of the car’s aerodynamic design in an immersive and engaging way.”

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