McLaren P1: Born on the Race Track, Groomed for the Road

The McLaren P1 is not for the faint of heart or low in funds. The flagship hypercar from Woking, England, is a barely tamed beast that requires the strength of restraint from the driver outside of a race track. It was first introduced at the 2012 Paris Motor Show and all 375 hand-built cars were sold out in November 2013. Today a used P1 fetches up to $2,800,000, a steep increase from the initial $1,350,000.

McLaren set out to create the best driver’s car in the world. Racing hybrid technology made for the road with an aggressive, bold and futuristic look. There are faster and more expensive cars on the roads, but the P1 leaves its contenders in the dust when it comes to handling and looks. And, yes, there is that feeling that you get when driving it.

Design

Aerodynamics often limit innovative car design. Not so for McLaren. The P1 looks as if it was carved by the wind and airflow is its theme.  This creates a higher downforce than any other production road car has. The perfect lines may look intuitive and natural, but all that harmony, especially visible from a side view, takes high skill, calculation and uncountable hours in the wind tunnel. The carbon fiber shell of the P1 is in organic and artistic flow with McLarens boomerang logo ingeniously woven into it from headlights to doors and all around the body. There is nothing subtle about a P1. Every part of this vehicle is a statement to the history of McLaren and to the thrill of driving.

Performance

The P1’s performance keeps what the looks promise. Imagine taking off in a fighter jet. The acceleration of 186mph (300kmh) in 16.5 seconds will leave a happy smile on your face when you are pushed back into your ergonomic and comfortable seat. To jump from 0 to 62mph (100kmh) takes a mere blink of an eye or 2.8 seconds. The gasoline-electric hybrid produces total of 903 hp with 627 lb-ft of torque out of the 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8. McLaren electronically capped the maximum speed at 217 mph (350kmh).  The fast-shifting automatic 7-speed twin clutch takes all that energy directly to the rear wheels and the adjustable rear wing keeps this powerhouse glued to the road. The P1 has a dry weight of 1,395 kg (3,075 lb) providing it a power-to-weight ratio of 647 bhp/tonne. And, yes, there is a race mode button.

History

As the successor to the legendary F1, McLaren’s P1 had some mighty shoes to fill. It was tested in the Death Valley desert and in the artic circle to cover all bases in all environments. Just as its technology and design, the name was inspired by Formula1 and stands for “position one”. This also connects with the F1, as it was internally named Project 1 or P1.

Future

This summer McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt confirmed the plan to roll out 18 new models in 2025. A new McLaren P1 will be the flagship once again.  The company is investing $1.59 billion into this new lineup and the transition to 100 percent hybrid technology.

“It will be as shocking or surprising as the P1 was”, said Flewitt. “It will be the ultimate expression of McLaren’s technology and performance prowess.”

Bea Israel

Bea Israel is a freelance writer covering stories that she feels passionate about in the fields of automotive, travel, art, wellness, and the culinary world.

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