This is it. The successor to one of the greatest cars ever, the Mclaren F1. And McLaren has a very simple aim for its new P1: ‘to be the best driver's car in the world on road and track'.
Well, we say this is it, but it's actually a design concept at this stage - we'll have to wait till 2013 for a production version, then ANOTHER twelve months for the actual car to land. Hardly surprising they want to measure twice and cut once, mind: this car has big shoes to fill.
Actual details are extremely scarce, but McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, says "The McLaren P1 will be the result of 50 years of racing and road car heritage. Twenty years ago we raised the supercar performance bar with the McLaren F1 and our goal with the McLaren P1 is to redefine it once again."
Remember, Macca left the bar pretty darn high. Even though the F1's an ancient twentysomething, it went 242.95mph, breaking the production car speed record with ease.It was conceived by F1 designer Gordon Murray, who convinced McLaren Chairman, Ron Dennis, to build the quickest road car in the world. And it remains among the fastest moving things on the planet.
Buying into those sort of bragging rights came at a price, though. When it launched in 1993 it cost £500,000, but you did pretty well from the deal - the engine bay was lined with 16 grams of gold for heat reflection, there was a completely new and unique six-speed gearbox because nothing else could cope with the BMW V12's 618hp power, it got from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, and it was the first ever carbon fibre-bodied car.That said, you were a bit short-changed by the driver aids. There was no ABS, no traction control, no nothing. All you got were four unassisted four-pot aluminium brakes and some bespoke tyres.
Will the P1 be anywhere near as pure? In this legislated age, probably not. But it might well be as good. The car has taken much tech inspiration from its all-conquering Racing division, and McLaren Automotive MD, Antony Sheriff, says: "Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit. It is the true test of a supercar's all round ability and a much more important technical statement. Our goal is to make the McLaren P1 the most exciting, most capable, most technologically advanced and most dynamically accomplished supercar ever made."
No word on price, other than the fairly obvious information that it will ‘sit above the 12C and 12C Spider in terms of both price and performance'. More will be revealed in Paris later this month at McLaren's first ever appearance at a motor show.