Still on the performance short list of King Kong cars is the McLaren F1,

….and it’s taken the McLaren factory two decades to come up with a worth replacement.  Some might say that they’ve had their hands full racing and that’s all the better for their latest road car, as the P1 is chock-a-block with stuff you only hear about on the Formula One circuit.

But for all the technological dazzle, is the McLaren P1 faster than a McLaren F1 road car 20 years its senior?  Read on…

Introduced at the Paris Auto Show 2012, all that had come out of the factory was titillating leaks until Formula 1 driver, Jensen Button, drove one up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last month and for the 1st time, people actually saw one move. (see video at end of story)

McLaren says they are bent on the P1 being, “the best driver’s car in the world for either the street or track”, and that’s a daunting task, considering how the Porsche 918 (among others) is looking to wear the same label.

The styling is all McLaren MP4-12C, but if these two cars were people, you would instantly know which one is going to end up with a parole officer.

Yes, it’s a hybrid, but I could care less how much the range is in electric mode only (12 miles) or that this thing will totally recharge a flat battery quickly (2 hours).


What interests me is how handily McLaren has transferred Formula One technology directly to the street:

  • The Instant Power Assist System (IPAS) will give an instant boost in acceleration by driving the front wheels via the electric motor.
  • Drag Reduction System (DRS), which operates the car’s rear wing, and both of these
    McLAREN P1

    McLAREN P1

    features are available with a simple flick of a button.

  • KERS system-for those unfamiliar with the acronym, Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems store the energy created by a vehicle under breaking, stores it in an on-board battery, and uses the stored energy for extra power on demand.

      Dave’s note…. I would have the above systems active all the time.  Yep, all the time…

  • 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8, similar to the motor used in the MP4-12C
  • 727 bhp
  • KERS electric motor that produces 176 bhp.
  • a bit over 900 bhp at 7500 rpm, so:

The P1 will go from 0 to 60 in under 3 seconds and 0 to 186 mph in 17 seconds, making it 5 seconds faster than the McLaren F1.  And that’s a lot of seconds.

And that is the real side benefit of racing technology; the trickle-down effect of things like disc brakes, paddle-shift, and buttons on the steering wheel, eventually ends up in cars you and I can get our hands on.

The priority is the driving experience,” notes Dan Parry-Williams of McLaren, and a very lucky 375 people are going to experience scaring themselves silly with technology that until recently was only for the Jensen Buttons of the world. 

CLICK HERE for Jenson Button drives the McLaren P1 VIDEO

See You on Down the Road,


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About the Author: Dave Miller

Dave Miller With Lotus GT
Dave Miller drives the fastest, coolest, sexiest cars on the planet. He travels the world uncovering the hidden gems in luxury transportation, meeting the owners, and connecting with extraordinary car enthusiasts. Dave is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and writes for various publications. In addition to, you can follow Dave's adventures via Drive With Dave Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tune into the Drive with Dave Podcast via iTunes, Stitcher or Soundcloud.

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