Last month at Pebble Beach, select enthusiasts saw an image of McLaren’s up-and-coming hyper-car codenamed P12. This weekend, a lucky few will glimpse the actual car while McLaren unveils the MP4-12C Spider in Europe at the Windsor Concours of Elegance. At this point, informed insiders have taken to the internet to speak about it. We’ve taken all the talk, rumors, official quotes, and likely guesses and compressed them into an entirely fictional InsideMcLaren Paris unveiling, ahead of Paris, for you. We’ll know how far off, or close, we are on the 27th.
Twenty years after the McLaren F1 hit the streets, McLaren Automotive shakes up Paris and the world with the MP4-24C, codenamed P12.
Powered by a slightly modified version of the 12C’s 3.8L engine, the 24C produces 803hp at 9100 rpm. Not enough to chase down your neighbor’s blasphemous Veyron? No worries – this hyper-car is a hybrid. McLaren employs a next generation Kinetic Energy Recovery System, KERS for short, to give the car up to an additional 160hp at maximum charge. The 24C captures the tremendous amount of kinetic energy generated from braking and holds it in two small flywheels located at either side of the vehicle. Similar to Formula 1 units, each flywheel spins up to 80,000 rpm, which converts into an additional 160 horsepower and a grand total of 963 horsepower for the 24C.
As you know, high horsepower means nothing without low weight. While the 24C falls short of the F1’s slim 2,341 lb figure, it weighs only 2,693 lbs. Considering the amount of safety regulations mandated over the past twenty years, a weight gain of just over 350 pounds is impressive. This gives the 24C a power to weight ratio of 2.81 pounds per horsepower. Remember that go-kart you owned when you were a kid that had 5 horsepower? Remember how much trouble you got into? Consider how fast it would have been if you and the kart weighed 14 pounds. That’s what this car will feel like. For comparison, the Aventador has 5.02 pounds per horsepower, the Enzo 4.56 pph, the Veyron 4.16 pph, and even the original McLaren F1 has 4.0 pph.
How fast does it go? How does 0-100kph (62 mph) in 2.8 seconds sound? Probably not that impressive considering it matches the 911 Turbo. But once the rear wheels get traction and it gets going, the results are staggering. Acceleration tests show 0-200kph (124 mph) in 6.9 seconds, 0-400m (1/4 mile) in 9.1 @ 161 mph and a top speed of 239mph. Were you hoping for faster? Ask your neighbor how often he tops out his Veyron. While the McLaren F1 had a final gear into infinity, bringing it to a drag limited 243mph, the 24C takes the path of efficiency instead of entering the fight for the overrated title of the world’s fastest car. The 24C will give you blistering high-gear left lane passing acceleration while maintaining an unheard of efficiency on fuel. Final numbers have yet to be released but we hear it’s not that much thirstier than the 12C and can be more efficient during city use due to its KERS system. What the 24C might not have in top speed, it more than makes up for in track performance, an area that the F1 had admittedly been lacking. Thanks to several active aero features the 24C will pull over 2 G’s of lateral acceleration on street tires. In recent tests at the Silverstone circuit in Great Britain, it crushed the standing production car record [2.22 Noble M600] with a 1.58 minute lap on the new Arena configuration.
As you may know, glass is very heavy and manufacturers have been trying for years to lighten the weight by thinning windshields and windows to dangerous levels. McLaren decided to move in a completely different direction. The windows on the 24C are made from pieces of vacuum formed acrylic similar to the construction of fighter jet cockpits. Using acrylic instead of glass shaved 62% off the weight of the windows. This design also allows you to do away with windshield wipers and their heavy motors. A unique property of this acrylic is a true non-stick surface. Any amount of rain, at any speed, will bead up and roll away. McLaren isn’t ready to show us the interior of this car, as the acrylic windows are tinted dark enough to get you a ticket from your neighborhood patrol. However, we were able to find out that the seating will be a standard two-person configuration, as a three-passenger car with the new carbon fiber chassis and crash test standards would have had too wide a footprint, dramatically increasing weight.
The car’s look is unlike anything we’ve seen before. Imagine combining McLaren’s F1 and 12C with Pininfarina’s Birdcage and P4/5. It looks like that but better. The front end is sexy and curvy, much like the racecars from the sixties. The rear-end – with it’s high central mounted exhaust – is spectacular. It’s the best looking part of the car and it should be, because many will only see it from that angle. With its dihedral doors, hood and roof scoops it is very clear that this is the McLaren F1 successor.
This is no off the shelf hyper-car. Every 24C will be bespoke and unique. The Paris car is said to be an extreme example of McLaren’s advanced technology. Customers will begin meeting with McLaren Special Operations before the end of the year to discuss build details. If you would like to be one of those customers, and have the $1,390,000 entrance fee lying around, we suggest you call your local McLaren dealership immediately. While the 24C is built to order there will be no more than 500 units produced. Considering the appreciation of the F1, these will be sold quickly to both enthusiasts and investors. On that note, the good folks at McLaren remained silent when asked if this was the true successor to the F1. One can only ask what else they have in their bag of tricks. With first deliveries slated for Spring of 2013, be sure to keep your cell phone cameras ready.
In other news there was a small fire today at the Paris auto show when Ferrari started their Enzo replacement, the Ferrari Berlusconi. Thankfully no one was injured but the car burnt to the ground in front of hundreds of spectators. When a representative for Ferrari was questioned on the matter they responded with “What Ferrari?”
This fictional unveiling has been brought to you by InsideMcLaren, McLarenLife, FerrariChat, and a number of other false and accurate sources. P12 sketches done by Mark Antar.