What you see above is a car. More specifically, it is the first teaser image of McLaren’s new supercar, which will be unveiled at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.
If it is the successor to the iconic F1 (perhaps in concept form), as the rumor mill suggests, then it is being revealed at least a year earlier than originally expected. It could be because company boss Ron Dennis, who is famous (or shall we say notorious) for his perfectionism wanted its launch to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the F1.
From what little is visible in the teaser image, the new model appears to feature headlights similar to the MP4-12C and a more aggressive front bumper with side air intakes and as far as we can tell, a bubble roof.
This is because the new model will most likely feature a roof air intake similar to its predecessor. Unlike that car, though, which sold only around 100 units, the new model will enter regular production, albeit at a quite limited rate considering that McLaren has put a cap of 4,000 units on its annual output.
Code-named P12, it will be built around the same “monocell” carbon fiber chassis that was first used in the MP4-12C. It will also be mid-engined, most likely with a higher performance version of the existing 3.8-liter turbocharged V8 with at least 800HP. McLaren CEO Anthony Sheriff has already ruled out V12s, though some sources claim that a V10 is possible.
Another rumor suggests that the P12 will also feature a KERS kinetic energy recovering system. This will reduce fuel consumption and boost performance at the same time, as well as stress McLaren’s involvement in Formula 1. It’s a solution that will also be used by Ferrari in its Enzo-replacing “F70”, which will be, along with Porsche’s 918 Spyder, in P12’s sights.
As in the MP4-12C, the suspension will do away with conventional roll bars and use an electronically-controlled hydraulic system. Power will be transmitted to the rear wheels via a double-clutch gearbox and carbon ceramic brakes are expected to be fitted as standard.
The MP4-12C has taken quite some flak for its styling, which most have commented as not being exciting enough. The P12 will be the work of Frank Stephenson, who has the new Mini, Fiat 500, Maserati MC12 and Ferrari F430, among other things, to show in his resume.
Despite joining McLaren in 2008, Car magazine reports that the MP4-12C design was at a pretty advanced state already and thus, Stephenson made only minor changes. He has been involved in the P12 right from the start, though, so despite using a common chassis we expect a more dramatic shape, as befits McLaren’s range topper and the record-breaking F1 successor.
By Andrew Tsaousis