New McLaren P1 - opening the door! (exclusive video)
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Published on Sep 28, 2012
New McLaren P1, in action(on stand) with opening door. World premier. Paris.27-28.09.12. Power to weight ratio will be more than 600PS per tonne. And 1 000 000 Euros price
The McLaren P1 follows in the footsteps of the classic McLaren F1 as the 'ultimate car' offering. The name ties in with Grand Prix racing. P1 means first place -- and McLaren has 180 GP victories in its 46 year Formula One history -- or position one on the grid (McLaren has scored 153 pole positions). There is also heritage in that name: the McLaren F1 was initially known as Project 1, or P1
The McLaren F1 was lauded as the greatest supercar of its era when it was first shown 20 years ago. At the time, it was the world's most technologically advanced and fastest supercar.
The McLaren P1 leverages five decades of McLaren's motorsport skills. It was designed from the outset to prioritise aerodynamic performance and spent many hours in a wind tunnel and using CFD (computational fluid dynamics) aerodynamic modelling -- just like a Formula One car.
The new McLaren P1 has much higher levels of downforce than any current road car -- 600kg is achieved well below maximum speed. That is approximately five times as much downforce as a McLaren 12C. Its margin over most other high performance supercars is even greater. The McLaren P1's downforce is similar to current sports racing cars, including the 12C GT3 racer.
'Of course, the McLaren P1 will have an immensely powerful engine, superb brakes and state of the art suspension controls,' says Programme Director Paul Mackenzie. Power to weight ratio will be more than 600PS per tonne. 'But a major reason for its extraordinary performance is its high level of downforce and its all round aerodynamic excellence. They do not just improve stability, handling, roadholding and braking at high speed. They also improve agility and driver confidence at much lower speeds. Our goal was to get great levels of downforce at lower speeds, and we have achieved that. It is a major boost to driving enjoyment, and to a driver's feeling of being in total control.
This goal -- racing car-like track performance from a road car -- was one of the primary targets for McLaren P1. 'It reflects the fact that many buyers of today's fastest supercars do use them increasingly on the race track, at special owner events,' says Mackenzie. 'We wanted a car that would feel like a proper racing car. And then could be driven home in great comfort and refinement. In other words, a real McLaren but with an even broader breadth of ability.'
The McLaren P1 also has a DRS (drag reduction system) function, like a Grand Prix car, to reduce downforce and increase straight line speed. But while a Formula 1 car has a moveable flap in the rear wing, the McLaren P1's rear wing's pitch is adjusted.
In addition to the adjustable 'active' rear wing, the McLaren P1's aerodynamic performance is optimised using two flaps mounted under the body ahead of the front wheels. These are also actively controlled, and change angle automatically to optimise performance, boosting downforce and aero efficiency, increasing both speed and driver confidence. The flaps operate through a range of 0-60 degrees.
The rear wing and front flaps work together to boost handling, braking and straight line performance. The active aerodynamics ensures totally consistent handling and driving behavior. The rear wing can also act as an airbrake when deployed.
All the body panels are carbon fibre to reduce weight. This carries on a McLaren innovation: it was the first company to offer a full carbon body Grand Prix car (in 1981) and the first to offer a full carbon body road car (the F1).
There are also very few body panels. The McLaren P1 has large clamshell single-moulded front and rear panels, which are attached to the central carbon MonoCage, and that's it, apart from two small access flaps in the rear, a front bonnet and the two doors. This reduces weight and the number of shutlines, creating a cleaner appearance..
The large carbon panels are also multi-functional, with integrated scoops and ducts to boost aero performance and cooling. The panels are extraordinarily thin and light whilst being very strong. Lightness, as with all McLaren road cars, was a priority for the McLaren P1. If one component can do the work of two, or more, it replaces the need for separate components. 'This approach is more weight efficient, but it does require more complex structures, with fewer parts but more design time,' notes Chief Design Engineer Parry-Williams.
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