Since the launch of the MP4-12C, McLaren has made it pretty much clear that it plans to establish itself as a serious sports carmaker and gain a full range of models that will cover the entire supercar spectrum.
Now it seems that the British car manufacturer is moving up its schedule, as according to a report from British magazine Autocar, it will launch a successor to the iconic F1 of the 1990s in 2012 – that’s one year earlier than expected. Perhaps the reason is to coincide with the original F1's 20-year anniversary.
We’ve already covered the issue extensively, laying out McLaren’s plans for its future cars that will require a $1 billion investment. They will all be based on the MP4-12C’s carbonfiber chassis, which has been thoroughly developed to underpin various models, but will be quite different in character.
The top-of-the-line F1 successor is code-named P12 and has quite a reputation to live up to. Its Gordon Murray-designed ancestor set new design, weight and performance standards not only for its time but also for many years after: the Bugatti Veyron managed to beat its top speed record many years later.
The P12 will use the MP4-12C’s carbonfiber chassis featuring a mid-engine layout. No details have emerged about the engine yet, but its output will be near the 800HP mark to outshine rivals like the Lamborghini Aventador and Ferrari’s 2012 Enzo successor.
Despite being more powerful, the P12 will weigh about the same as the MP4-12C thanks to the extensive use of carbonfiber and other exotic materials in its construction. Customers will also be asked to shell out more than the €200,000 McLaren asks in Europe for the MP4-12C.
Company insiders have described the car as “revolutionary”. They also claim that, contrary to the MP4-12C that hasn't received glowing reviews about its uninspired design, McLaren’s flagship will make quite an impact style-wise.
The same sources state that certain elements of the 1992 F1 will be retained, although at this point it is not known whether the distinct center driving position will be one of them. Also, unlike the original that sold only 72 road cars, the modern-day F1 will enter regular production, but will be more exclusive than the MP4-12C.