BEHIND THE CAR
Multi-championship winning McLaren is aiming to take its F1 leadership on the race circuit over to the world of high-performance supercars. The MP4-12C has been designed from the ground up as an extreme machine to challenge the established supercar aristocracy – and win.
It has been designed by the same group of people who devise the cars for racing heroes Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. Indeed, it was created in the same factory – no road car can claim such a direct transition of F1 thinking to supercars.
It’s a completely brand-new car. The parts used on other existing vehicles were not deemd good enough and so the MP4-12C features entirely unique components. The car production processes have also been completely reinvented, guaranteeing total quality despite the complexity.
The heart of the MP4-12C is the carbon fibre passenger ‘cell’. This MonoCell is the car’s core and is just like the driver’s cell in an F1 car. Strong, light and safe, the rest of the car is built up around it. McLaren has actually never made a road car with a metal chassis. What’s more, it hasn’t made an F1 car out of metal in 3 decades, either.
Everything is purpose-designed: the engine is unique, even down to innovative centrally-mounted radiators. These are as close to the engine as possible, meaning less pipework, less fluid within them, and thus less weight. Reducing weight was a core objective: there isn’t even a CD player – the car’s high-tech buyers prefer MP3, meaning vital grams can be saved.
There is F1 thinking throughout the car. The steering wheel has been designed by McLaren’s race team, using actual CAD models of past World Champion driver’s steering wheels. Paddleshifters for the gearbox sit behind it: they include a unique ‘Pre-Cog function, a two-stage operation that ‘primes’ gearchanges. It’s the same principal as the shutter on an SLR camera.
The McLaren MP4-12C hits the market in spring 2011, with a list price of £168,500. The world awaits with huge anticipation.
Length: 4,509mm, width: 1,908mm, height: 1,199mm
On sale spring 2011