A Close Up Look at the McLaren P1™

A Close Up Look at the McLaren P1™

Adrienne Faurote
By Adrienne Faurote March 21, 2013

In the quest for all things luxury, Haute Time is taking a look at a different kind of mechanical beauty with the help of Haute Auto. For all those who love a beautiful tourbillon, the new McLaren P1™, touted as the best driver’s car in the world on road and track, is certain to impress.

A strong emphasis was placed on aerodynamics and the automaker’s proprietary lightweight carbon fibre technology (first introduced in the 1981 Formula 1 MP4/1), resulting in the first carbon-bodied road car. Ron Dennis, the executive chairman of  McLaren Automotive, says; “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.”

So just how is the track being brought to the road? One clear example is the GT3 racecar-level downforce of this model, which improves everything from cornering to braking performance, balance, stability, and driveability. The IPAS petrol-electric powertrain is delivered via a revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, coupled to a single electric motor, collectively known as M838TQ. The combined power output is 916 PS (903 hp), meaning instant throttle response and torque. This model, which can cover more than 10 km in electric-only mode, is surprisingly efficient; its carbon dioxide emissions are less than 200g/km. Going from 0-100 km/h in just three seconds, this model tops off at 350 km/h (217 mph).

The McLaren P1™ boasts racing influences throughout, even incorporating technologies that have been banned in F1 racing due their ability to give a performance advantage. For example, an adjustable rear wing can extend from the bodywork by 120mm on road to maximise the levels of downforce. There’s also an adjustable ride height as part of the new hydro-pneumatic suspension. The RaceActive Chassis Control (RCC) lowers the car by 50mm in Race mode, to produce ground effect aerodynamics. There are also adjustable spring rates, roll control, pitch control and damping.

But rest assured, this model diverges from its F1 inspiration in the level of comfort. Chief design engineer Dan Parry-Williams says, “It’s fast on the racetrack but still fast, comfortable and refined on the road. The brief was to make a refined, fuel efficient car that is faster than anything else on the racetrack but that is also as fast as anything you could use on the road while not compromising ride or comfort.”

Photos courtesy McLaren.