Five years ago, McLaren Automotive pulled off the wraps of a hybrid concept car at the 2012 ‘Mondial de l’Automobile’ in Paris. The car in question was none other than the McLaren P1, the spiritual successor to the McLaren F1 of the 1990s – which is still considered as the greatest supercar in history.
Five months after the unveiling of the design study, the team at McLaren rolled out the first production model at the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show. With the P1, McLaren is not only raised the bar in supercar performance, but also told the world that they mean business.
Limited to 375 units worldwide, every unit of the P1 was spoken for before the first one was delivered, such was the insatiable demand for the £866,000 (RM4.9 million) hypercar. No two examples of the P1 were the same, thanks to McLaren’s personalisation arm, MSO (McLaren Special Operations).
Pushing the boundaries of internal combustion engines, the P1’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 that pushes out 727 hp and is assisted by a 176 hp electric motor to give a combined output of 903 hp. Century sprint is completed in 2.8 seconds; 0 – 200 km/h in 6.8 seconds and 0 – 300 km/h in 16.5 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 350 km/h.
Those astonishing figures owes credit to the high-tech hybrid wizardry where the electric motor fills in the gaps in performance for the petrol engine in turbo lag or torque dip scenarios. When the battery is at full charge, the P1 is capable of driving purely on electric motor for up to 10 km. Beat that Prius.
Tipping the scale at just 1,395 kg and all 903 hp handled exclusively by the rear wheels, McLaren has poured in great detail towards the aerodynamics of the P1 to keep the car in a straight line. As a result, the McLaren has designed and engineered a car that produces 600 kg of downforce solely from the atmosphere.
In 2015, the P1 spawned an even more limited volume, track-only – P1 GTR. Available exclusively to existing P1 customers, the P1 GTR boasts a track-optimised output of 986 hp with significant weight saving measures to give a power-to-weight ratio of more than 700 hp per tonne. The P1 GTR sits on a fixed ride height, race-prepared suspension, titanium alloy wheels and gets a straight-cut, twin-pipe exhaust system.
Since the P1, McLaren has spawned many amazing supercars and sports cars such as the 675LT, 570S, 540C and more recently the 720S. Although the P1 will forever be enshrined as one of the greatest hypercar of its time, the brand already has plans for its upcoming replacement, internally known as the P15.
Will the next car be better? Knowing McLaren, most definitely. But we got a feeling that the McLaren P1 will be with us for many more years to come and will continue to turn just as many heads as it was first unveiled on stage.