Taking the Pole Position.
Twenty years ago, the McLaren F1 road car was the pinnacle of super cars. It was technologically advanced, innovative, and had performance that’s still awe-inspiring by today’s standards. Today, the British automaker is looking to inject the same innovation, performance, and technology into the auto industry with its new McLaren P1 super car concept.
The name P1 may leave some of the non-motorsports or McLaren enthusiasts scratching their heads. The name “P1” is special to McLaren, who are digging into almost five decades of racing heritage and know-how to build this new super car. The name references the pole position or first place in racing, where McLaren had achieved 180 Grand Prix victories (153 pole positions) in 46 years of racing. The name also pays homage to the original McLaren F1 that was originally given the name “Project One” or “P1.”
While the new McLaren P1 is in concept form, it is said to be very close to the production variant. Its entire design is built around the driver and utilizes advanced technology to achieve unmatched aerodynamic efficiency. The P1 is expected to offer incredible performance on the racing circuit with its monstrous power output and extremely low weight while still being at home on the motorways.
One of the priorities in the new P1 super car was the aerodynamics. The automaker used CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) just like their racing programs to design the exterior of the P1. The team was able to achieve a mere 0.34 Cd despite the fact that the McLaren P1 generates unparalleled levels of downforce that are akin to that a race car. Below the maximum speed, engineers and designers were able to achieve 1,323 lbs. (five times that of the MP4-12C) of downforce thanks to active aerodynamics. The front of the concept wears two flaps underneath the body ahead the two front wheels that can be adjusted from 0 to 60-degrees. A rear spoiler automatically deploys up to 300 mm on a racetrack and 120 mm on the road to aid in generating downforce while the pitch can be increased by up to 29-degrees. The deployable rear spoiler can also be used as an airbrake on the racetrack to improve braking distances and handling dynamics. All of these active aerodynamics work together with a DRS (Drag Reduction System) to improve straight-line speed and stability.
Just like its McLaren F1 predecessor, the new P1 super car will be made using a new MonoCage carbon fiber monocoque and roof safety cage system to reduce weight and improve safety. The new concept integrates the roof and other air intakes to redirect cool air into the engine bay negating the need for extra exterior ducts and components. Only a few, very thin carbon fiber body panels will be used in the construction of the P1 along with two single-molded front and rear clamshell-molded panels to create the body. By reducing the number of parts and using thin but strong carbon fiber panels, weight is kept to a minimum.
Virtually every aspect of the McLaren P1 super car is designed to be functional. Air ducts and intakes are integrated into the molded bodywork but their appearance disguises where the air is sent. The smooth underbody that flows into one of the largest production diffusers ever used helping to create suction between the car and the road for better handling dynamics. Even the teardrop cockpit shape improves visibility and aids in aerodynamic efficiency. The headlights and daytime running lights are made from efficient LEDs and form the shape of the marquee’s logo and take up minimal space to allow for much of the frontal area to be dedicated to cooling the brakes, engine, and other components. As with the legendary McLaren F1, gold leaf will be used as a heat shield due to its superb heat reflection properties.
The entire cockpit will be driver-focused and takes its design from fighter jets. The goal was to create a comfortable atmosphere that is enjoyable to drive on the street while being composed and focused on the racetrack.
The new McLaren P1 super car concept car will quickly be transitioned into production form within the next year and deliveries are expected to being in late 2013 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the company. The official technical details and specifications will be released in the first quarter of 2013. Get your checkbooks ready!
McLaren P1 Super Car Unveiling Video
McLaren P1 Super Car Gallery