Case study: McLaren P1™
In the late 1980s McLaren conceived the idea of building the world’s finest road car. On May 28th 1992, conception turned into reality as the McLaren F1 was unveiled to the public. Now, just over 20 years on, McLaren has revisited that original ambition.
The McLaren P1™ uses 50 years of racing experience and success, especially in the fields of aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fibre technology, to offer groundbreaking levels of performance combined with high levels of efficiency. The car was developed with one clear goal: to be the best driver’s car in the world on road and track.
The new twin-powered hypercar was born in the wind tunnel at the McLaren Technology Centre. It was honed with the bespoke fluid dynamics software suite usually applied to the creation of Formula One cars – and features an aero package and handling characteristics with strong F1 influences. Its beating heart is the innovative IPAS petrol-electric powertrain comprising a substantially revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, which generates 737PS, coupled to a 179PS electric motor developed under the aegis of McLaren Applied Technologies. A lightweight battery pack harvests energy under throttle lift-off, and can also be charged either from a wall outlet or by the engine itself. Collectively, the new M838TQ powertrain is capable of delivering 916PS and a staggering 900Nm of torque, taking it from 0-100km/h in just 2.8 seconds. The car reaches 300 km/h in 16.5 seconds making it 5.5 seconds faster than the iconic McLaren F1.
However, the McLaren P1™ is far more than a list of impressive numbers. As important as absolute power is the electric motor’s ability to provide instant torque, filling torque gaps in the power curve to eradicate turbo-lag and create a sharper throttle response. Thanks to this superb driveability, the McLaren P1™ has joined the tiny elite of production cars to lap the fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife in under seven minutes.
McLaren P1™ vs. the Nürburgring-Nordschleife
The McLaren P1™, however, doesn’t favour track over road. Offering optimised driveability on both road and track, is one of McLaren’s greatest achievements with the car. Furthermore, it is capable of wafting itself in near-silence through a cityscape on battery power alone. And while cruising in E-mode it can sustain highway speeds for more than 10km with zero tailpipe emissions.
Despite the huge performance, the McLaren P1™ is refined, comfortable and highly efficient. The 916PS twin-powered IPAS powertrain offers fuel economy of 34 mpg (8.3 l/100km) on the combined EU cycle, and CO2emmissions of just 194g/km.
Pushing moulding technology to the limit, the composite sections of the McLaren P1™ are things of minimalist beauty; complex shapes that ruthlessly cut down on brackets and fastenings to ensure maximum strength and stiffness for minimal weight. Even the cockpit glass was specifically engineered for McLaren P1™ as an ultra-thin composition that provides toughened protection with not one gram of unnecessary weight. The revolutionary carbon fibre MonoCage chassis, around which the car is built, weighs only 90 kilograms, one of the lightest carbon fibre full-body structures used in any road car to date, and uses the most advanced carbon fibre technology.
McLaren P1™ production is strictly limited, with all 375 examples already sold, and represents McLaren technology at its absolute finest. It showcases the values and skills of a high-technology company but also the ability to concentrate resources from a dozen specialist areas within and outside the McLaren Group.
Creating the McLaren P1™ demanded excellence in the fields of aerodynamics, adaptive ride & handling, electronics, advanced materials research, ergonomics, alternative propulsion and industrial product design. In a microcosm, it represents the combination skill set McLaren can focus on any project – but also exemplifies our ability to set new benchmarks in a number of diverse areas.