27 Sep 2012

McLaren P1 - more photos and information

McLaren have officially launched the new P1 supercar with great gusto and very little information - save for the fact it produces 600kg of downforce and has a target power to weight ratio of 600bhp per ton.

McLaren's limited edition (five were made) F1 LM had a power to weight ratio of 632bhp per ton.

It is rumoured the McLaren P1 has a top speed of over 200mph, will do 0-62mph in under 3 seconds and will cost somewhere in the region of £800,000.

Oh, and the chassis and bodywork are mainly carbon-fibre.

So we can only go on what we can see in the photos.  Aside from the floorpan we can't see a single straight line anywhere.  It's all swoops and curves.  We know the P1 has a very low Cd but also a very high downforce thanks, in part, to the moveable flaps ahead of the front wheel-arches and also to the moveable spoiler at the rear.

Yes - a spoiler that actually produces downforce.

From any angle other than absolute profile and from the rear the P1 looks odd.  But odd in a sensational, you know it's done like that for a reason, odd.

Obviously McLaren have had access to their F1 division's mastery of downforce and drag reduction and have applied it per se to the P1.  Which means the very shape of the car, by definition, is designed to reduce drag and increase downforce.  A very tricky balancing act and one we will have to wait and see if McLaren have pulled off.

In fact the P1's shape looks so insanely focussed on it's twin objectives it's almost as if it was designed as a toy car and then scaled up to real car size - rather than the other way round.

We doubt that McLaren's design department would allow pure purpose in performance to dictate design but if they did then the end result is a pleasing trade-off between that and beauty.

More information about the powertrain and other details will be released closer to the McLaren's 2013 launch.  We wait with baited breath.