McLaren took the wraps off its most extreme road car ever today at the Paris auto show. Dubbed P1, the all-new sports car is a successor to the legendary F1 road car from the 1990s.
Like the F1, the McLaren P1 is a mid-engine sports car with a carbon-fiber body shell. In fact, it’s nothing more than a shell, as McLaren called this version of the P1 a “design study.” A production version of the P1 will be shown at the Geneva auto show next spring.
McLaren officials say that no more than 500 examples of the P1 will be built, and insist this newest flagship will far eclipse the acceleration, cornering, and stopping capabilities of the F1 when it reaches production next year. While the F1’s lore is impossible to dispute, the real test for the upcoming P1 will not only be whether or not it is deemed a worthy spiritual successor its ancestor, but how it compares to impending hypercars like Ferrari’s “new” Enzo and Porsche’s 918 Spyder. One thing is certain: the renaissance for hypercars is near.
Though McLaren won’t tell us what engine the P1 uses, it has confirmed its power-to-weight ratio will exceed 600hp per ton. The F1 with is feather weight 1140kg (2500lbs) curb weight and V12 engine producing 627 hp, developed 550bhp per ton. For a comparison the Bugatti Veyron? Closer to 650bhp.
As the P1 uses the MP4-12C’s wheelbase and carbon tub, we can reasonably assume it employs some iteration of the 12C’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 – no room for a V12, we suspect. So what does that mean for power? Well, we know the P1 has all manner of tricks to reduce weight – aluminum panels, lighter wheels and more – but we also know it uses a KERS system, which means it’ll get a battery.
With heavy battery offsetting expensive lightweight materials, let’s assume the P1 weighs the same as an MP4-12C: just over 1400kg. Which means, to achieve 600bhp per ton, it’ll have to make around 850bhp. If 100bhp of that is provided by the KERS, that means the V8 will need to generate about 750bhp. Hold on tight.
The P1’s also excels in terms of its aerodynamic performance. Even below the car’s top speed, which will exceed 200 mph (320 km/h), the P1 generates 600 kg (1,323 lbs) of down force, which results in improved mechanical grip and agility.
Expect a price tag of somewhere around 800,000 pounds which works out to just under 1.3 million US, so remember that ownership is a privilege not a right and start saving. 😉