AN EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW OF THE MCLAREN P1
PFebruary 15, 2013
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
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