McLaren MP4-12C


Most race wins in a season

McLaren’s F1 success was so absolute in 1988, it won 15 out of the 16 races that season. Only a collision between Ayrton Senna and a backmarker stopped a clean sweep – he and team-mate Alain Prost led all but 27 laps that year.

McLaren F1

The mighty McLaren F1 remains a staggering machine. Launched in 1992, just 100 were built. With a 240mph top speed, it was the world’s fastest car for years – even today, it’s the fastest non-turbo car.

1st carbonfibre F1 car

McLaren produced the first ‘self-supporting’ carbonfibre monocoque chassis in 1981. Designer John Barnard appointed Hercules Aerospace in America to construct it as the technology really was that new in F1.

Total number of championship wins

McLaren entered the F1 World Championship in 1966. Since then, it has won 8 titles, plus 169 races and scored 146 pole positions. The team has also achieved 142 fastest lap scores in racing conditions.

McLaren HQ

The Queen opened McLaren’s futuristic McLaren Technology Centre in Woking back in 2004. The McLaren Racing team is based there, as is McLaren Automotive – but the car division will also get a purpose-built McLaren Production Centre in spring 2011.


McLaren has used race car technology for the MP4-12C’s brakes. Not necessarily in future-edge materials, but in the principals of optimisation. The forged aluminium bell McLaren’s developed, that attaches to the cast iron brake disc, does not sound as exotic as full carbon ceramic disc brakes. These are available as an option – but the stock non-ceramic system is actually lighter than the optional system.

This means the standard brakes reduce overall vehicle mass – and, more importantly, reduce unsprung mass. This benefits handling, as the suspension has less ‘outside’ mass to corrupt it, so can better deal with inputs and outputs to the bodyshell. Excellent brake pedal feel is also retained, so drivers have a better sense of braking sensitivity.

The benefits of the carbon ceramic system are for high-performance driving. They are particularly fade-free, and include additional cooling ducts to further ensure they are not affected by heavy use. This will be useful for drivers who regularly take their 12Cs on track: for road users though, the standard system will be preferable.