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Geneva Motor Show 2013: McLaren P1

Pictures. Spec. Pricing. Exciting!

Well, this is it – the first of the big two from Geneva has been revealed – the McLaren P1. Making its public debut next week, McLaren has jumped ahead of Ferrari and their F70/F150 by revealing the P1 in production form early.

The styling has barely changed from the concept seen last year, but we can see a lot more details now with the lighter yellowy orange paint job. McLaren claims that all of the bare carbon parts you can see on the bodywork have an aerodynamic purpose, contributing to a svelte drag factor of 0.34. This is with the rear wing down though – with the massive rear wing drag is increased but there is an incredible 600 kg of downforce, equal to that of a Le Mans race car. That rear wing also has a little trick up its sleeve to allow higher speeds with increased downforce – an F1-style DRS flap.

The P1 uses the carbon fibre tub used as the basis of the 12C, with tweaks befitting the use in the range topping McLaren such as composite components forming part of the core chassis. The bodywork is also all carbon fibre and compared to the 12C the P1 is 83 mm longer, 29 mm lower and 37 mm wider. Weighing in at 1400 kg, the P1 is lighter than the 1700 kg Porsche 918 Spider despite having a similarly trick hybrid powertrain.

Speaking of that powertrain – surely the most important aspect of such a car – it doesn’t disappoint. It uses the same basic 3.8 litre twin turbo V8 as the 12C, but in this application it has many uprated components like a special crankcase and larger turbos contributing to the 727 bhp output. This is combined with a 176 bhp McLaren built electric motor integrated with the engine, which sends the combined 903 bhp and 664 lb/ft of torque through a seven speed Graziano twin clutch gearbox.

Performance figures haven’t been officially released yet, but McLaren estimates the p1 will be around half a second quicker than the 12C to 62 mph and a massive 2.5 seconds quicker to 124 mph. Top speed is 218 mph, lower than most were expecting, but McLaren Automotive managing director Antony Sheriff states that “Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed,” said Sheriff, “but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit. This is the true test of a supercar’s all-round ability and a much more important technical statement.”

At higher speeds the P1 uses the instant torque of the electric motor to boost throttle response, also helping to smooth the gearshifts. At lower speeds the P1 can move purely under electric power, giving surprisingly quick performance for a range of about 12 miles. This has the incredible benefit of making this 903 bhp hypercar suitable for zero-emissions areas in cities.

Inside, the P1 has a very driver-focused layout, with lots of exposed carbon fibre and alcantara, giving the look or a Le Mans racer for the road. Adding to this focus are the manually adjustable seats, steering column and the seat backrests are fixed. So extensive is the use of carbon fibre and the weight savings thereof, the interior carbon surfaces do without a top layer of resin as it saves 1.5 kg and you only get interior carpet if you ask for it.

The P1 will cost £866,000 when it goes on sale from March and deliveries start at the end of 2013.

Images courtesy of McLaren Automotive

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more