If McLaren’s individualist approach and engineering-led solutions are to be applauded its sometimes ridculously bullish performance claims are open to criticism. We’ll get on to straight line performance in a moment but the P1’s number one target was overall performance – measured most accurately in terms of lap times.
This is P1 programme director Paul Mackenzie speaking upon the launch of the car: ‘It may not be the fastest car in the world in absolute top speed, but that was never our goal. Rather, we believe it is the fastest ever production car on a racing circuit, a much more important technical statement, and far more relevant for on-road driving. It is a true test of a supercar’s all-round ability.’
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Strong stuff and perfectly fitting for a company forged in the heat of F1. The problem is that the P1 has failed to beat the 918 Spyder around various racetracks in the hands of independent magazines - including us:
To compound matters there was the Nürburgring debacle, where McLaren released a slickly produced video showing the P1 jumping and sliding around the famous track but refused to show a full lap or release a final lap time other than an unsubstantiated claim that it had gone ‘under 7 minutes’. Porsche then showed the 918 lap unedited, a 6:57.
Even so the P1 is a searingly quick car on road, race circuit or in a straight line: McLaren claim 0-62mph in 2.8-seconds, 0-124mph in 6.8-seconds and a top speed of 217mph. On the road that translates to surreal performance that’s way beyond what can realistically be deployed on a regular basis. What’s most impressive though, is that the rear-drive P1 feels for the most part hooked-up and secure. Of course it can light up its tyres should you so wish but the level of mechanical grip and traction is mighty. In the wet? Just leave the traction control well alone, okay?