Set to start selling in late 2013, the new McLaren P1 ‘ultimate supercar’ will have a power-to-weight ratio of more than 600bhp per tonne. It had just made its public debut at the ongoing Paris Motor Show. This implies that if the P1 is lighter than the MP4-12C then it will have a total output of about 720bhp. McLaren won’t offer any details about the drivetrain, interior or specific performance.
However, the engine is likely to acquire some type of hybrid assistance. McLaren said that the P1 takes its ‘technological and spiritual inspiration’ from its Racing division. In creating this model, the company had set out to accomplish one thing: “To be the best driver’s car in the world on road and track."
The concept P1 displayed at the Paris doesn’t have an interior. However, it describes its exterior to be "more than 95%" of the final production car. McLaren said that the P1 is capable of producing 600kg of downforce at a pace "well below" the car’s maximum speed, a figure that is around five time more than the is generated by the current 12C road car and around the same as the 12C GT3 car.
According to Programme director Paul Mackenzie, the P1 was developed to feel like a "proper racing car" at just the push of a button. It also offers a high level of comfort and refinement. 4WheelsNews has learned that the P1 will feature three separate ride-height modes, with the lowest intended for track work. This last mode guarantees that the model’s side skirts and rear diffuser work smoothly.
It also ensures that the diffuser’s carbon fibre strakes are only two inches higher than the track surface. The P1 makes use of a different core carbon fibre structure, which is referred to as Mono-Cage, to the 12C, which integrates a carbon roll-bar over the cabin. The roll-bar is seen on the vehicle’s exterior. It also comes with an air scoop.
Frank Stephenson, McLaren’s Design Director, wanted an innovative yet functional supercar that is consistent with McLaren’s tradition. With its collaboration with Parry-Williams, they were able to produce a super sports car that is dramatic and honest.
Grounded on the motorsport heritage of McLaren, he developed the McLaren P1 with the help of the aero team, building the surfaces, making them as light, dynamic, and compact as possible. With the aim of giving the car an organic quality and a light and agile look, they exposed the carbon platform and showed the exact passage of air from the door ducts up to the main radiators. They also disintegrated the body’s visual mass and highlighted the cab-forward structure.
Stephenson expressed that he wanted the car to resemble a Le Mans racer with a low body design, open mesh rear and long rear deck. Such platform exposes the mechanicals and helps with the cooling. He also intended to integrate the most intense rear diffuser that was never seen before a road car. Everything in the McLaren P1 is truly there for a great reason.
Taking its inspiration from fighter jet canopies, the glasshouse gives the occupants an experience similar to a pilot’s. It has a deeper windscreen which effectively creates a sensation of airiness and lightness. Impressive visibility was also ensured as it has always been the mantra of the McLaren brand.