The 2012 Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris was the event chosen by McLaren Automotive to present the world debut of the brand-new P1 hypercar in pre-production trim, about a year before it goes on sale.
McLaren claims that the P1 draws inspiration from its racing division and its target is to produce the world’s best driving car both on the road and on the track.
“The McLaren P1 will be the result of 50 years of racing and road car heritage”, says McLaren Automotive Executive Chairman Ron Dennis. “Twenty years ago we raised the supercar performance bar with the McLaren F1 and our goal with the McLaren P1 is to redefine it once again.”
As you can see in the video that follows, McLaren managing director Anthony Sheriff claims that top speed wasn’t a top priority – which, given that the 20-year old F1 made its name primarily on its record-breaking top speed, is kind of ironic.
This doesn’t mean that the production version of the P1, which in Paris was displayed in concept form, will be lacking in the speed department. According to program director Paul Mackenzie, its power to weight ratio will be more than 600PS (592HP) per tonne, which, should be enough to give the Ferrari F70 and Porsche 918 Spyder a run for their money.
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 downforce, which results in improved mechanical grip and agility.
McLaren’s huge racing experience is evident in the Formula 1-like Drag Reduction System (DRS), which adjusts the rear wing’s pitch in a straight line to reduce drag and improve performance.
The P1 utilizes a mid-engine layout and a carbon fiber “Monocage” monocoque and roof structure, which is a further development of the “Monocell” chassis used by the MP4-12C.
McLaren said that further details, including the powertrain, will be announced in early 2013, and deliveries will begin late next year on McLaren’s 50th anniversary.
You can view the image gallery and a video of Anthony Sheriff explaining the thinking behind the P1’s creation right after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis