Featured | Mclaren P1

McLaren didn’t need to simply limit the P1’s production run in order to preserve its place in the rarified air of hypercar heaven – it’s spot in the ‘Holy Trinity’, along with the Porsche 918 Spyder and LaFerrari, has never been questioned.

Unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the production P1 was hand-assembled by a team of engineers and showcased a host of new technologies, some of which were lifted directly from Formula 1.

These included its Instant Power Assist System (IPAS), which boosted acceleration by harvesting power from the onboard electric motor and a Drag Reduction System (DRS), designed to increase straight-line speed by manipulating the rear wing to increase downforce. Another familiar component from the upper echelons of motorsport – Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which uses stored kinetic energy to boost acceleration – was also engineered into the mix.

Even without all the wizardry, however, McLaren had still built a weapon. With its rear mid-mounted twin-turbo V8 producing maximum power of 524kW (727hp) and a kerb weight of just 1,547kg, it was unapologetically fast even before the ones and zeros got in on the act. Taken together? Combined power of 674kW (903hp). And no, that isn’t a typo.

While its top speed is electronically limited to 350km/h, it’ll only take a fraction over 16 seconds to get there from standstill. Zero to the ton is dispensed with in the manner of a superbike: 2.8 seconds, which is quite possibly slightly less time than it would take your senses to stop reeling.

McLaren has since moved beyond the P1 in terms of hybrid technology. The just-announced Artura furthers the cause considerably, shifting hybridisation from the notion of providing a simple additional energy boost, to now being a core engineering fundamental of the car’s architecture.

But science aside, McLaren also has the canny ability to create near-mythic Arthurian legend out of almost every model it produces. The P1 is no exception.

While some considered it the spiritual successor to the famed McLaren F1 upon its debut, the P1 doesn’t share the same three-seat cockpit configuration of the earlier car and McLaren itself never publicly acknowledged the assertion. Like the F1, though – along with the Speedtail and Senna – the P1 makes up the fourth string in the legendary manufacturer’s Ultimate Series of hypercars.

It would seem that any club the P1 is a member of, is certainly worth joining.

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