Chris Harris video: McLaren 12C Spider

Until recently I had no idea what the MP4 bit of a McLaren's name actually stood for. As recently as 1997, it actually denoted 'Marlboro' - which hands welcome retrospective support to my choice of cigarette brand around the same time. When McLaren did the 'West' deal in 1997, the 'M' became McLaren. I bought one pack of Wests, nearly hacked up a lung, and thereafter my fag and race team allegiances were forever separated.

The new Spider tested, the Harris way
The new Spider tested, the Harris way
The 'P4' bit stands for Project Four, which was the name of Ron Dennis's race team at the time he took equity in McLaren.

I have no idea about the 12 bit. Nor the C. I thought the C was for 'coupe', but this Spider is also a 'C', so that's clearly not the answer.

Just as MP4 is no longer the answer for the road cars, which have now quietly dropped the MP4 part of their names, although it is lightly scattered on the car itself.

What's in a name? Not much for me, so long as it's not called a Dong or a Clack-Valve I couldn't really care. I'm far more interested in the way they drive. And the 12C, after a slightly shaky start, is now something to frazzle your head.

After I shot my home video at Ascari, I drove a Spider back down the Rondaroad into Malaga. Looking back, it's hard to think of a machine that could have covered ground at the same rate - the latest powertrain updates have elevated it to a new level. And I was enjoying myself - managing slip levels, using the steering's altering weight to judge speed and grip - but always being reminded that I was driving a car that feels like no other.

Some people dislike the Proactive chassis and its flat-handling - I think it gives the 12C a character all of its own and, under most conditions, provides the driver with more of everything.

Enjoy the vid!



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Comments (110) Join the discussion on the forum

  • 3000GT ANT 24 Oct 2012

    Yeah im first poster! One of my life goals now achieved!

  • raptor600 24 Oct 2012


    Edit: Damn - close second.

  • briancorish 24 Oct 2012

  • hdrflow 24 Oct 2012

    Can admire the engineering that has gone into the 12C but definitely not the looks. Great video as always!

  • Stewart-83 24 Oct 2012

    hdrflow said:
    Can admire the engineering that has gone into the 12C but definitely not the looks. Great video as always!
    Being in the 'metal' does wonders for the 12C. It looks very bland in pictures but in the flesh looks positively brilliant.

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