Beauty in Motion.
The Nürburgring Nordschleife is one of the hardest, most technical and dangerous tracks in the world. It’s also the benchmark for a vehicles overall performance. Throughout its history, the seven-minute lap time has stood as an unbreakable barrier, especially for production cars. As of late, the barrier has been broken by the new wave of hybrid hypercars, with Porsche’s 918 Spyder being among the first to do so. Now, McLaren has joined the exclusive sub-seven-minute club with their production P1 hybrid hypercar.
During the development of the P1, McLaren set out with a goal of breaking the seven-minute mark at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. The 13-mile track has over 150 corners and 300 meters of elevation changes, making the required 111 mph average speed required to reach the mark an incredible feat.
McLaren picked their Supernova Silver P1 codenamed XP2R for the task and drove it 390 miles from Woking, England to the Nürburgring to prove its touted road-to-race capability. With McLaren Formula 1 driver, Jenson Button, behind the wheel and the ‘Race’ button engaged, the ride was lowered by 50 mm, the rear wing extended by 300 mm, and the RaceActive Chassis Control System stiffened by 300-percent. It was time to achieve McLaren’s goal.
‘I’ve been an F1 driver for 14 years, and I’ve driven more than 240 Grands Prix and, although I’ve never raced an F1 car on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife circuit, because the last time the German Grand Prix was held there was before I was born, I know exactly how challenging, and daunting, a racetrack it is,” said Button.
“Over the past dozen-or-so years I’ve owned a lot of ultra-high-performance road cars. I’ve driven the McLaren P1™ on a number of occasions – including up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was sensational – and I think it’s a truly superb machine: unbelievably refined yet unbelievably quick.
‘But, as I say, for it to have recorded a sub-seven minute lap time around the Nürburgring is the icing on the cake: proof positive, backed by hard data, on the greatest racetrack of them all, that McLaren has created a genuine game-changer.”
With the 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine spitting out 727 bhp and the lightweight electric motor pushing 176 bhp for a total 903 bhp output, the McLaren P1 was poised to take down the seven-minute mark. Throughout the run, the hypercar’s active aerodynamic systems adjusted automatically to adjust downforce by 60-percent for better braking and handling or a higher top speed. When fully engaged, the system can generate up to 1,322 lbs. of downforce.
As Button and the XP2R crossed the finish line, the seven-minute mark was broken. The goal that they had for the production car with factory tires had been achieved, making the driver’s car worthy of the McLaren name.
McLaren filmed the entire run to produce a truly fantastic video that documents the passion, hard work, and triumph of the team at the legendary Green Hell.
McLaren P1 Nürburgring Gallery