The McLaren P1

Written by Cheryl Tay on . Posted in Cheryl Tay News | Latest Industry News

The McLaren P1™: Designed to be the best driver’s car in the world!

mclaren p1

For the first time in Singapore and also in Southeast Asia, the McLaren P1™ has been specially flown in for preview and showcasing to regional prospects, McLaren Singapore customers, media and other distinct guests. The McLaren P1™ showcase will only be here for a short period from 5th to 7th July 2013, before it departs for Hong Kong.

Attending the Singapore preview are Mr Frank Stephenson (Design Director of McLaren Automotive), Mr Marcus Korbach (Brand Manager, P1TM, McLaren Automotive) and Mr Mirko Bordiga (Regional Director, McLaren Automotive Asia).

“This is the first McLaren P1TM showcase in Southeast Asia. We have specially flown in the car to support our regional McLaren Partners in engaging their customers and prospects for the supercar. Singapore’s quota is spoken for and to accommodate further interest, we are exploring how we may channel more units here.” says Mr Mirko Bordiga, the new Regional Director for McLaren Automotive Asia, effective from 20th May 2013.

“McLaren Singapore is privileged to host the inaugural McLaren P1TM showcase for the region. We are engaging a number of significant prospects on their interest to acquire the left-hand drive supercar for private collection or use in another country.” says Andre Roy, Chief Executive Officer, Wearnes Automotive, McLaren Singapore.


  • Aero-led design produces more downforce than any other production road car
  • 916PS (903 hp) generated by 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine coupled to an electric motor gives tremendous power and instant throttle response with an electronically limited top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph)
  • Active ride height, and aerodynamics work with large adjustable rear wing to give ground effect suction and optimised downforce
  • IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) and DRS (Drag Reduction System) offer instant boost of power and straight-line speed
  • The MonoCage is one of the lightest carbon fibre full-body structures used in any road car to date, weighing 90kg. This weight includes the roof and lower structures, roof snorkel, engine air intake cavity, battery and power electronics housing
  • MonoCage chassis includes fibres more than five times the strength of the best grade titanium, and includes the use of Kevlar
  • 0 to 300 km/h in less than 17 seconds – five seconds quicker than the legendary McLaren F1
  • To maintain exclusivity, production will be strictly limited to 375 units

‘McLaren introduced the carbon fibre chassis to the world of Formula 1 in 1981 with the MP4/1, and we had the first carbon-bodied road car,’ says McLaren Automotive Executive Chairman Ron Dennis. ‘We have always been at the cutting edge of vehicle aerodynamics, and all of this experience has gone into the new McLaren P1™. Twenty years ago, with the McLaren F1, we raised the supercar performance bar. With the McLaren P1™, we have redefined it once more.’

The astonishing new McLaren P1™ has a clear goal – to be the best driver’s car in the world on road and track. To achieve this objective, McLaren is using all of its 50 years of racing experience and success, especially in the fields of aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fibre technology.

The result is a car that has an unprecedented amount of downforce for a road vehicle: similar levels to a GT3 racing car and yet with even greater ground effect. This downforce not only boosts cornering and braking performance. It also helps balance, stability and driveability at all speeds.

The best driver’s car in the world must also have exceptional straight-line performance and instant throttle response. To deliver this, the McLaren P1™ uses an innovative IPAS petrol-electric powertrain comprising a substantially revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, coupled to a single electric motor, collectively known as M838TQ. Combined power output is 916 PS (903 hp). As important as absolute power is the electric motor’s ability to provide instant torque, making the powertrain superbly responsive. It is also amazingly efficient. Carbon dioxide emissions are less than 200g/km, and it can cover more than 10 km in electric-only mode.

Top speed is electronically limited to 350 km/h (217 mph), with the 0-100 km/h standing start acceleration taking less than three seconds .The McLaren P1™ will power from rest to 200 km/h in less than seven seconds, and on to 300 km/h in less than 17 seconds – a full five seconds quicker than the McLaren F1. 

‘We believe the McLaren P1™ is the most exciting, capable, technologically advanced and most dynamically accomplished supercar ever made,’ says McLaren P1™ programme director, Paul Mackenzie.  ‘It may not be the fastest car in the world in absolute top speed, but that was never our goal. Rather, we believe it is the fastest ever production car on a racing circuit, a much more important technical statement, and far more relevant for on-road driving. It is a true test of a supercar’s all-round ability. Plus many owners will use the car on the circuit, at special track and test days.’

The astonishing technology developed for the McLaren P1™ includes active aerodynamics and adjustable suspension – both now banned in Formula 1, due to being seen to give a performance advantage. Airflow is optimised around the body through the use of an active wing and underbody devices. The adjustable rear wing can extend from the bodywork by 120mm on road, up to 300mm on the race track, maximising the levels of downforce. The wing is directly inspired by Formula 1 design, with the intersection of the double element rear wing and design of the endplates being the same as that on the 2008 championship winning MP4-23.

In addition, the McLaren P1™ also features adjustable ride height as part of the new hydro-pneumatic suspension. The revolutionary RaceActive Chassis Control (RCC) can lower the car by 50mm in Race mode, to produce ground effect aerodynamics. It also features adaptive spring rates, roll control, pitch control and damping, all providing a huge range of adjustment, making the McLaren P1™ perfect for either road or track. In Race mode, the spring rates stiffen by 300 per cent, allowing the McLaren P1™ to corner at more than 2g.

Formula 1-inspired technology permeates the McLaren P1™. The revolutionary new carbon fibre MonoCage monocoque forms a complete structure incorporating the vehicle’s roof and its distinctive snorkel air intake – a styling feature inspired by the McLaren F1 road car.

McLaren is an acknowledged world leader in carbon technology. The material offers lightness, strength and rigidity – improving performance, safety, handling, agility, durability, efficiency and ride comfort. The body panels of the McLaren P1™ are also made from lightweight yet strong carbon composite, with their complex shapes tuned for optimal aerodynamics.

The McLaren P1™ was designed from the outset to prioritise aerodynamic performance – just like a Formula 1 car. As with a Formula 1 car, wind tunnel testing and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) aerodynamic modelling were used to optimise the aerodynamic flow, both to provide incredible levels of downforce and to cool the powertrain. The result is 600kg of downforce at well below maximum speed (257 km/h / 161 mph) in Race mode, which is considerably higher than most other high performance supercars, and more in line with the levels of downforce generated by a GT3 racing car. This downforce improves the car’s cornering ability, especially in high speed corners. Balance, agility and controllability are all outstanding.

Other areas of Formula 1 technology evident on the McLaren P1™ include the revolutionary layered carbon ceramic brakes, developed for the road by McLaren’s Formula 1 partners Akebono. The highly efficient IPAS (Instant Power Assist System) is a development of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) used on Formula 1 cars, while DRS (Drag Reduction System) is also used on the McLaren P1™, giving extra power and straight-line speed both at the touch of a button. Brake Steer – an outlawed Formula 1 technology – is also used on the McLaren P1™. It improves cornering behaviour and cornering speed. 

‘The carryover Formula 1 technology on the McLaren P1™ is palpable,’ notes Dick Glover, Research Director. ‘From the aero work, to the carbon fibre MonoCage monocoque and body, to the active suspension [now banned in Formula 1] to the Brake Steer [now banned in Formula 1], to the turbocharging [which comes back into Formula 1 in 2014], to many other engine examples including the low crankshaft and dry sump lubrication.’

The IPAS petrol-electric powertrain also ties in with upcoming Formula 1 regulations. From next year (2014), Formula 1 cars will have hybrid power, including an electric mode for the pit lane.

The McLaren P1™ name is also inspired by Formula 1. P1 refers to ‘first place’ or ‘position one’ – particularly fitting as McLaren has 182 Grand Prix victories and 155 pole positions to-date, in its 47-year Formula 1 history. There is also heritage in that name: the McLaren F1 was initially known internally within McLaren as Project 1, or P1.

Despite the huge performance, the McLaren P1™ is also a refined and comfortable high-speed supercar. ‘It is designed to be driven to the racing circuit, with great levels of comfort and refinement,’ says McLaren P1™ programme director, Paul Mackenzie. ‘And then to be used on the racing circuit, where it will offer an experience matched only by purpose-built race cars.’

Adds Chief Design Engineer Dan Parry-Williams: ‘It’s fast on the racetrack but still fast, comfortable and refined on the road. 

‘The brief was to make a refined, fuel efficient car that is faster than anything else on the racetrack but that is also as fast as anything you could use on the road while not compromising ride or comfort.’The ownership experience with the McLaren P1™ will be as special as the car itself, Greg Levine, McLaren Automotive Sales and Marketing Director explains: “Owners will become part of the McLaren family, if they aren’t already. To maintain exclusivity, we have closely monitored demand, and announced a production number of just 375 units – a figure that will ensure the McLaren P1™ will remain a rarity and, if spotted on the road, an unforgettable sight.”

Inspired by the F1 and by Formula 1

Frank Stephenson, Design Director of McLaren Automotive said he was inspired by two cars from the brand’s history when he and his team designed the McLaren P1™: the iconic McLaren F1 road car of 1993, and Lewis Hamilton’s championship winning 2008 Formula 1 car, the MP4-23. He explains: ‘The 2008 season was the last year they allowed Formula 1 cars to have all the aero appendages. We had the MP4-23 in the studio for about a year, and we studied every element of the car, which was styled for function, not beauty. However, they still made the car look beautiful. The car’s scoops and slats influenced the style of the McLaren P1™. Every duct and every surface does a job, either in aero or cooling.’

The McLaren F1 road car was a vehicle Stephenson tried to ‘recall but not imitate. The greenhouse graphic on the side is similar, especially the rear three quarter window. The dihedral doors are similar, so is the low front cowl and the side swage lines. The roof snorkel is a feature carried over from the F1.’ The snorkel itself forms part of the carbon fibre MonoCage.

The dihedral doors of the McLaren P1™ are instrumental in the car’s astonishing aerodynamic performance. Unlike the 12C, they have two hinges not one. ‘Two small hinges are lighter,’says Stephenson. ‘The door is also closer to the body when open.’  Their complex shape helps channel clean air to the side mounted radiators, and also cuts the turbulence normally experienced along the side of a car. Their scalloped shapes are all part of Stephenson’s philosophy to ‘push in’ surfaces, and create an almost ‘exoskeleton’ approach. 

‘I wanted to take out as much visual weight as possible, to have a car that was really lean; a car with absolutely no fat between the mechanicals and the skin.  It’s as though we stuck a tube inside and sucked all the air out, a dramatic honest shape but also a very beautiful one. It was all part of the engineering and design approach to fanatically take out weight.’


Production of the McLaren P1™ will be limited to 375 units, and is to commence in the £40 million McLaren Production Centre (MPC) facility in Woking, Surrey, UK, in September. The production rate will be one per day and only a left-hand drive model will be produced. The new McLaren P1™ is priced from S$1,505,000 (£800,000) before taxes.



Drivetrain Layout Longitudinal Mid-Engine, RWD with integrated lightweight electric motor Tyres (F/R) Pirelli P Zero Corsa 245/35 ZR19 /

Pirelli P Zero Corsa 315/30 ZR20

Engine Configuration V8 Twin Turbo / 3799cc Wheel Sizes (F/R) 19” x 9”J / 20” x 11.5” J

PS / rpm

Torque Nm / rpm


737 / 7500

720 / 4000

Powertrain Modes E-mode / Normal / Sport / Track / Race
Electric Motor

PS / rpm

Torque Nm




Suspension RaceActive Chassis Control
Combined power / torque 916 / 900 RaceActive Chassis Control Modes Normal / Sport / Track / Race
Transmission 7 Speed SSG Width (mm) 1,946 without mirrors /

2,144 with mirrors

Body Structure Carbon Fibre MonoCagewith

Aluminium Front and Rear Frames

Height (mm) 1,188

(1,138 Race)

Brakes Akebono layered carbon ceramic discs with forged and hardened steel bells

(F 390mm / R 380mm)

Length (mm) 4,588
Active Aerodynamics Active rear wing with DRS

Front underbody flaps

Wheelbase (mm) 2,670
Dry Weight (kg / lbs) 1,395 / 3,075 Tread width, F/R (mm) 1,658 / 1,604


Efficiency CO2 Less than 200g/km
Power to weight 657PS (647 bhp) / tonne
Speed Maximum speed 350 km/h (217 mph) electronically limited
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (62 mph) Less than 3 seconds
0-200 km/h (124 mph) Less than 7 seconds
0-300 km/h (186 mph) Less than 17 seconds



Cheryl Tay

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Singapore’s only female full-time motoring and motorsports photojournalist. Independent automotive consultant and prominent local motorsports personality Cheryl Tay is uniquely passionate about all things cars and motorsports. She also has a strong passion to share her interest and knowledge, hence having a dream to become the ‘Oprah Winfrey of cars and motorsports’ and create a multimedia platform for her sharing. - A female in a male-dominated world, Cheryl Tay is Singapore’s only female full-time motoring journalist and motorsports blogger and she regularly writes for prominent titles in Singapore, Asia and internationally. (See full list of titles that Cheryl Tay writes for here.)

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