Paris 2012: McLaren P1
So, McLaren has finally built a true successor to the F1 - just don't ask how fast it'll go, right?
The F1, of course, introduced the idea of all-carbon construction, actual 200mph-plus (quite a bit plus) performance and was the very embodiment of McLaren's fastidious, OCD approach to supercar construction. The 12C that's followed is a mainstream product in comparison but the P1 is the spirit of the F1, moved on two decades.
So it weighs as much as a Caterham and is powered by a 1.6-litre direct injection turbo like every hot hatch here at the show then? Um, probably not. The one figure they do let slip is a target power to weight ratio of over 600hp per tonne. For the record a Veyron Supersport is 666hp per tonne (someone had some fun there), a Pagani Huayra 540hp per tonne.
The idea for the P1 is that owners will be able to drive to the track in relative comfort, put a helmet on and then enjoy aero-enhanced performance equivalent to a 12C GT3 car. A pretty wide performance envelope but the kind of engineering challenge McLaren enjoys. They don't really do nostalgia at Woking but there are a couple of emotional nods to the F1 too, gold-plated heat shielding and the roof vent among them.
And the looks? Function first, says McLaren. Attack is the best form of defence, eh?
We'll have to wait until early next year before we'll get some numbers and further details about the powertrain, sales starting not long after and first deliveries by the end of the year. And with this, art deco Rollers, the return of the Bentley Boysto the racetrack, the new F-Type and the Range Rover it's been a pretty good show for the Brits!
The missing rear addenda appears and yup makes it look complete, still not convinced by McLarens chosen paint scheme, but hell who buys this sort of car for the paint of the launch car.
Rear Wing makes all the difference.
Can't wait to see it in the metal/ cf.
Given the tech in the 12C, I'm sure this will be one of the best handling cars ever made. Whether that comes at the expense of a genuinely 'thrilling' driving experience or not will be the deciding factor in determining if this car will reach the praise and admiration of it's predecessor.
This however looks much, much more becoming and the active aero sounds enticing.
I really hope this doesn't suffer the same fate as the 12C, it sure looks the part. Please McLaren, just get your figures right and if you're not chasing top figures, make sure it embarasses a GT-R at speeds under 150mph - it's not like you don't have the brains to pull it off.