McLaren’s P1 is getting closer and close to the final production version following its dramatic reveal at last year’s Paris Motor Show. Over the following months, new images have been slowly trickling out of the McLaren Technology Centre, taunting us with more and more little details.
Getting access to the car itself seemed virtually impossible – but Speedhunters were recently granted exclusive access to the P1 at McLaren’s base in Los Angeles before it left to go on its world tour.
McLaren’s LA showroom was closed down for the night, though it still clearly displayed the treasures within. But we were interested in what was out back…
At McLaren’s nearby storage facility, the P1 was guarded by a whole platoon of MP4-12Cs waiting to be delivered into the hands of expectant customers.
The 12C is hardy a staid looking car, but in the company of the exotic P1 it has to be said they seemed almost pedestrian!
It’s all in the lines of course. The bodywork of the P1 looks like it’s been draped over the car in gaseous form and then solidified into this sinuous, curvaceous shape.
I now find it unbelievable to think that it was the rear that I initially didn’t appreciate.
I think it was the F1-style extreme downward and inward tapering of the main body compared the large outboard fenders. Now, it’s my favourite part! It’s the combination of the curves with the rounded-off geometry of the rear end…
…and the way that the LED tail-lights gracefully trace their way around the inner edge of the wheel arches. It’s just stunning – and pure sci-fi.
The P1 gets more attractive each time I see it, especially in this kind of diffused light. The deep orange is achingly attractive, and serves to highlight the raw carbon components.
Everything about the P1 screams McLaren attention to detail and bespoke craftsmanship.
From the integration of the McLaren ‘swoosh’ icon into multiple areas of the body, like the obvious headlights…
…or the less obvious rear intakes.
There isn’t a straight line on the car. It’s a continuous riot of swooping and arcing carbon, moulded into these organic shapes.
The stretched hexagon-pattern grille over the rear accentuates the modern feel of the car – this is definitely not a car looking to the past for inspiration.
The deep cut-outs along the door-line hint at the serious aero power that’s going on though, over and under the skin. Downforce numbers are likely to be huge, and there are rumours of racecar-beating laptimes in testing.
The rear wing sits tucked away at the back, perfectly flush with the bodywork when not deployed.
The gull-wing doors hinge out and up on two pivots, with this being the roof-mounted part that extends the reach of the doors and makes for easier access. With the big cut-outs and outboard panels, the doors are wide old things…
Carbon is embedded in the DNA of the P1, from the monocoque outwards. Obvious ancillaries like the mirrors are expected, but even the window surrounds are also raw, unpainted composite.
The hexagon motif returns on the grille for the upper central brake light in compressed form.
And how about the bespoke McLaren-embossed rubber mounted on this P1?
The P1 is all about extreme performance: a KERS package will boost power to near 800hp, and pushrod suspension, adaptive dampers, hydraulic anti-roll control and advanced traction control in combination with the aerodynamics will keep all four wheels of the P1 firmly on the ground.
The interior was off-limits during our visit, as the cockpit was still being finalised. Some dash and interior shots have now been released, and further obsessive details put in the public domain – particularly the ones to do with weight saving. The cockpit carbon fibre has had its top layer of resin removed to save precious kilograms and interior carpet is only an option!
The P1′s official production car debut will be at next month’s Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland – I can’t wait to see the final evolution of this stunning car before it goes on general sale.
Words: Jonathan Moore
Images: Larry Chen
Easily the single most beautiful achievement of modern carbon molding techniques. this car is art, and it will be god-tier fast. McLaren know how to fucking engineer a car.
i was a fan of the McLaren from years back i even have personal pictures of the xp4( which the f1 was modeled after) while it was being loded into its trailer after a show in cali.
but when i heard Mercedes bought McLaren i almost cried than when i saw the first production i did cry it SUCKED.
but i must say.......you have redeemed yourselves........
amazingly i love this one more than the f1 (sorry xp4)but this car is by far the most gorgeous thing on 4 wheels
AND THERE EVEN BRANDED
GOD YOU GUYS ROCK
thank you for the amazing job and craftsmanship
Raymond D Root
I wasn't a fan of McLaren's design, but this... God.. this is gorgeous, most sexy car ever! And it reminds me TRON movie, futuristic enough:)
at first i wasnt too keen on it...but its slowly growing on me!!
please do the rest of the car after Geneva!
The McLaren MP4-12C is the fastest prodoction car I've ever seen round a track, it is perfect on corners, it's grip has pushed the limits of what was conceivable in my mind. And now, I really don't know what to think about the P1, it is sertainely going to be faster then the Zonda R, maybe as fast as an F1 car!
A true game changer is about to born.
How is this unlikely? The Pagani Huayra was 2 seconds faster around the TGTT than the Arial Atom V8 - which in itself is a downright staggering achievement. Don't underestimate the power of proper aerodynamics.
"Let's design a peak tech race car for the road... give it a revolutionarily styled & mindblowingly beautiful body (rare that those two things make it into the same sentence)... and then let's paint it Sainsbury's Homebase Orange."
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE PEOPLE???
tenpennyjimmy The 'Mclaren Orange' colour they paint all their show/concept cars in is a hark back to the 60's when Bruce Mclaren painted his M6A Orange to stand out on the new colour televisions. They've obviously used it quite a few other times since (F1 LM, some F1 race/test cars too). Personally I think its an amazing colour, although the original was a flat much more pale colour.
I am probably to old to like it's sci-fi looks, I personally prefer the Pagani Huayra. To me the Mc Laren looks over designed like a Peugeot or an older Daewoo, time will tell.
that's straight out of sci-fi. perhaps the first of its kind? I'm guessing more and more manufacturers are going to adapt such organic futuristic designs
Stunning? absolutely. But, will it outperform the Pagani Huyara?? Will be a close battle I think, though you would expect the edge to be in the McLaren's favour... Time wil tell.
BevinWhite I think it will even beat the Zonda R.
and the true rival for the Huayra would be the MP4-12C, I mean on a track.
Amin_nfs Beating the Zonda R, Possibly. But then the Zonda R is a racetrack-specific car and cannot be road registered (to the best of my knowledge) so not really a fair comparison. With that said, if the P1 still outruns the Zonda R it will be even more impressive. The 12C was built to beat the Ferrari 458 for less cash, and does. The Huayra is in a different league entirely -> 388hp/ton vs 512hp/ton... (supercar vs hypercar?)
BevinWhite Amin_nfs there is a Zonda RS though which is pretty much a Zonda R but with a few added features to make it road legal
I don't think I'll ever grow to like the headlights. Just like the lights on the Ferrari 458, I was never crazy about them. The rest of the car though... wow
I really love that you got a feature on this car great stuff!!! I just wish you could of gotten pictures in a better setting. A well, still good.
@jcali we actually requested to shoot the car in the warehouse area. Like the more 'industrial' realism of the background if that makes sense.
I think I'm the only person who doesn't really like the look of this thing. It's impressive to look at yes, and I appreciate the design and all the work behind it, but I found it kind of ugly when I first saw it all those months ago. That said, it is growing on me. I think I need to see the production version with the interior before I make my mind up. The blacked out windows don't help. They make it look like it's still a concept car.
@Jordan_Burgess it's a bit Alien looking, even in its design language. But I like this about the car. It challenges us with a new paradym. It looks like it was grown in a vat of liquid like some kind of bio-mechanic organism. IMO this is cool!