For a while there, it was very tough for McLaren to introduce a car that would leave car enthusiast and collectors speechless in the same way as the legendary F1 did in the 90’s (read the full article here).
But all that changed when Frank Stephenson and Robert Melville came along to design the next ‘big thing’ for McLaren. The design study of the P1 was presented to the public for the first time at the Mondial de l’Automobile 2012 and the final version was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2013. Seven years later, the design of the P1 is still one of the most iconic ever drawn on a paper – timeless and elegant, yet sporty and wild. And this is exactly why The Collectors Circle believes that a P1 belongs in any modern car collection.
The P1, which is in direct competition with the Ferrari LaFerrari and the Porsche 918, is McLaren’s first road vehicle with hybrid drive. McLaren planned a limited production of 375 vehicles at a price of EUR 1.1 million each and it was sold out before series production began.
I am telling you, driving a P1 is nothing like driving a normal car – it feels more like commanding a rocket! Press a few buttons and the handling and performance settings are adjusted accordingly and only your right foot and a kick down withhold you to set off an explosion. The P1 is an absolute racing machine but you don’t need a racing license for it. Just some courage and open roads.
The turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 engine of the McLaren P1 is a heavily modified version of the engine used in the McLaren MP4-12C and delivers 737 PS (542 kW) at 7500 rpm. An additional 179 PS (132 kW) are delivered by an electric motor. Together, the two engines produce 916 PS (674 kW) and provide a torque of 900 Nm which accelerate the Hypercar from 0-100 km/h in only 2.8 seconds and are good for a highspeed of 350 km/h. The P1 can be driven with either the petrol engine or with the electric motor. The battery of the electric motor can be fully charged either by the petrol engine or within two hours at a plug-in charging station.
Similar to the McLaren MP4/13 Formula 1 racing car from the 1998 season, the P1 is equipped with a system called “Brake Steer” which slightly brakes the inner wheel when steering, giving the car more agility when facing curves and enabling higher curve speeds. The carbon-ceramic brakes were developed by McLaren’s Formula 1 partner Akebono using material previously only used in the Ariane rockets.
Stability is ensured by a six-stage electronic stability program in which the traction control and brake interventions are adjusted differently depending on the selected stage (Normal, Sport, Track, Race, Track-Off, Race-Off). Another cool feature is the rear wing which is adjustable. It can be extended by 120 mm in road mode and by 300 mm in racing mode. When you are on the straight road of a racetrack, you can simply press a button on the steering wheel and the P1 stores the rear wing in the chassis so that the car literally jumps forward because the downforce is lower. Only those of you who have ever experienced the P1 on the racetrack will know how that feels.
No wonder the P1 was named “the best Sports Car on the market” by car enthusiasts around the world. McLaren wowed the automotive industry with the F1 and they did so again with the P1 …and even seven years later, the car is as fascinating as it was back when I saw it the first time at the GIMS in 2013.
Well done Mclaren, no doubt that the P1 will be a future classic. Thanks to Justin Schmöller for the stunning pictures of Chassis Nr.001.
Initially sold for EUR 1.1 million but current market price is around EUR 1.2 – 1.6 million, depending on the condition of the car and the ownership.
When to drive:
Although the car is street-legal, we recommend driving it on a racetrack to enjoy the full power of the car. Once you do, you will understand why we used the word “Rocket” in our article.
What we love about the car:
This car’s power is just terrific but, above all, it’s the design that we love the most. The shape and lines of the P1 are unique in the automotive industry and there is no doubt that it will be a future classic.
Photography: Justin Schmöller IG: @justinschmoeller