McLaren P1: A quest for driving perfection

McLaren P1 on track

The McLaren P1 is the long-awaited spiritual successor to the McLaren F1 — described as the firm as the most aerodynamically advanced car in the world.

Like the F1, it has been engineered, designed and built using the most up-to-date technology from Formula 1, and even features some gadgetry so advanced it’s banned from the race track.

Like most hypercars the McLaren P1 looks more like a race car than a road car, but that’s because every part of this piece of motoring art has been shaped by function.

Look at details of the design and they reveal McLaren’s obsessive quest for perfection in taking the P1 to the next level. For example, the dihedral doors have two light hinges rather than one heavy one to save weight — and they were not put in to make the car look flash, but rather to maximise the size of the door’s opening.

The carbon fiber that is visible everywhere is bare because coating it would have added weight. The narrow LED headlights in the shape of McLaren’s ‘speed marque’ were made so thin to allow more frontal area for cooling the engine. The rear lights are also as thin as possible to maximise cooling.

McLaren P1 from rear

When McLaren say the P1 has been designed with performance in mind, they aren’t exaggerating. And the figures are phenomenal for a production road car. It does 0-62 in 2.8 seconds,0-124 mph in 6.8 seconds, and 0-186 in 16.5 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 217mph. It also packs 903hp, of which 727hp is generated by a petrol engine and 176hp by an electric motor. A quarter mile comes up in 9.8 seconds at 152.2mph. When you consider that the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport does this in 9.9 sec at 145.8mph you get an idea of how quick that is.

The McLaren P1′s incredible performance figures are produced by a mid-mounted twin-turbo 3.8-liter V8 engine mated to an electric motor capable of producing 664lb/ft of torque. The carbon ceramic brakes are also more race car than road car. It takes just 30.2 meters to brake from 62mph (100km/h) to a standstill.

The car has a carbon fiber tub chassis, known as the ‘monocage’, which includes the roof and F1-looking snorkel air intake. It contains fibers FIVE TIMES the strength of titanium as well as kevlar, and results in an overall vehicle weight of approximately 3,000lb (1,400kg).

To optimise the driving experience, the McLaren P1 uses Formula 1-derived Instant Power Assist System (IPAS) technology, which uses the electric motor to give instantaneous throttle response, and a Drag Reduction System (DRS) — which manipulates the rear wing to optimise straight line speed.

McLaren P1 rear end

This and McLaren’s Brake Steer system, which slows the inside rear wheel if the car enters a corner too fast, have been banned in Formula 1 for years so the P1 was a chance McLaren engineers to play with technology they’re unable to use on the race track. The suspension is also adjustable, enabling the P1 to be lowered by 50mm in Race Mode which allows you to achieve a face-distorting 2G around corners.

All this power and race car physics obviously costs a king’s ransom — meaning the McLaren P1 comes in at a hefty $1.15 million or £866,000, making it one of the most expensive cars in the world. There are 375 being built, with McLaren saying only a few of the European examples remain unsold. All US, Asian and Middle East-bound cars have already been snapped up.

The P1′s main competitor is the Ferrari LaFerrari which also has a petrol engine and electric motors, with a total output of 950bhp. It is also similarly Formula 1-derived so this is going to be a battle between two top-level race teams showing what they can do for road cars as they continue their racing rivalry off the track. Exciting times indeed. We can’t wait to see them head to head. It will be truly epic.

You can see a cool video of the McLaren P1 being tested on an ice track here, and pictures here. McLaren have also set up a website giving fans an interactive experience of how the car’s aerodynamics work.

The post McLaren P1: A quest for driving perfection appeared first on Autosaur.

About Jaz Lali