The astonishing new McLaren P1 has a clear goal - to be the best driver's car
in the world on road and track. To achieve this objective, McLaren is using all
of its 50 years of racing experience and success, especially in the fields of
aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber technology.
The result is a car that has an unprecedented amount of downforce for a road vehicle: similar levels to a GT3 racing car and yet with even greater ground effect. This downforce not only boosts cornering and braking performance. It also helps balance, stability and driveability at all speeds.
"McLaren introduced the carbon fiber chassis to the world of Formula 1 in 1981 with the MP4/1, and we had the first carbon-bodied road car," says McLaren Automotive Executive Chairman Ron Dennis. "We have always been at the cutting edge of vehicle aerodynamics, and all of this experience has gone into the new McLaren P1. Twenty years ago, with the McLaren F1, we raised the supercar performance bar. With the McLaren P1, we have redefined it once more."
The best driver's car in the world must also have exceptional straight-line performance and instant throttle response. To deliver this, the McLaren P1 uses an innovative IPAS petrol-electric powertrain comprising a substantially revised 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, coupled to a single electric motor, collectively known as M838TQ. Combined power output is 916 hp. As important as absolute power is the electric motor's ability to provide instant torque, making the powertrain superbly responsive. It is also amazingly efficient. Carbon dioxide emissions are less than 200g/km, and it can cover more than 6 miles (10 km) in electric-only mode.
Top speed is electronically limited to 217 mph (350 km/h), with the 0-60 mph standing start acceleration taking less than three seconds. The McLaren P1 will power from rest to 125 mph in less than seven seconds, and on to 180 mph in less than 17 seconds - a full five seconds quicker than the McLaren F1.
The astonishing technology developed for the McLaren P1 includes active aerodynamics and adjustable suspension - both now banned in Formula 1, due to being seen to give a performance advantage. Airflow is optimised around the body through the use of an active wing and underbody devices. The adjustable rear wing can extend from the bodywork by 120mm on road, up to 300mm on the race track, maximising the levels of downforce. The wing is directly inspired by Formula 1 design, with the intersection of the double element rear wing and design of the endplates being the same as that on the 2008 championship winning MP4-23.
In addition, the McLaren P1 also features adjustable ride height as part of the new hydro-pneumatic suspension. The revolutionary RaceActive Chassis Control (RCC) can lower the car by 50mm in Race mode, to produce ground effect aerodynamics. It also features adaptive spring rates, roll control, pitch control and damping, all providing a huge range of adjustment, making the McLaren P1 perfect for either road or track. In Race mode, the spring rates stiffen by 300 per cent, allowing the McLaren P1 to corner at more than 2g.
The McLaren P1's competitors are the Porsche 918 Spyder and the Ferrari LaFerrari.