McLaren steals the show in Paris with new hypercar

In its first appearance at an international motor show British firm McLaren has stolen the limelight by unveiling its brand new hypercar, the P1. Although billed as a design study, it points clearly to a production version that will appear next year and sit above the already-impressive MP4-12C.

In its first appearance at an international motor show British firm McLaren has stolen the limelight by unveiling its brand new hypercar, the P1. Although billed as a design study, it points clearly to a production version that will appear next year and sit above the already-impressive MP4-12C.

“Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit,” said McLaren Automotive Managing Director Antony Sheriff. “It is the true test of a supercar’s all round ability and a much more important technical statement. Our goal is to make the McLaren P1 the most exciting, most capable, most technologically advanced and most dynamically accomplished supercar ever made.”

Amongst the P1’s remarkable features, aerodynamic downforce will be of key importance. The firm says that it will produce 600kg of downforce below its top speed - comparable to its current GT3 racer and five times as much as the MP4-12C. It will also have a DRS (Drag Reduction System) just like its Formula 1 cars, although this will be activated by a moveable rear wing rather than an opening flap.

The car’s structure is made almost entirely of carbonfibre for ultimate lightness, and rather than the MonoCell used on the MP4-12C the P1 will have a MonoCage, incorporating carbonfibre into the roof structure and also feeds air to the engine and brakes.

No details on the car’s powertrain have yet be announced although a power to weight ratio of 600bhp per tonne has been stated. With the MP4-12C offering around 420bhp per tonne, the P1 may well use a more powerful version of that car’s twin-turbo V8 to offer over 700bhp.

The final production specification will be revealed in early 2013 with sales to begin at the end of the year. Prices are a long way off but expect to pay well in excess of half a million pounds.