The Technology Behind McLaren P1
To make sure the McLaren P1 met the lofty expectations of drivers, engineers built a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine capable of producing 903 horsepower. Linking the petrol motor to an electric motor gives drivers instant control over the vehicle’s speed. When they push the throttle, P1 responds without hesitation.
This intense power presents some obvious problems for anyone who wants to drive the McLaren P1 on the highway instead of a race course. McLaren created an electronic governor that limits the new car to 350 km/h (217 mph). That’s still an exceptional amount of speed, but it gives drivers more control so they don’t unintentionally blow through speed limits.
The extreme power also forced McLaren’s engineers to built a responsive shell that wouldn’t let the car drift off the road. They accomplished this by including a large adjustable wing at the car’s rear. This creates exceptional downforce and suction that keeps the driver in control, even when taking sharp corners at high speeds.
Driving down a straight path gives the McLaren P1 a chance to truly shine, though. Its Instant Power Assist System and Drag Reduction System let drivers push the car to its limits when they don’t have to worry about turning. When asked, the car can reach 300 km/h (186 mph) in under 17 seconds. That’s a full five seconds faster than the McLaren F1, which has become a legend for its speed and excellent handling.
McLaren P1, official video, Nürburggring
An Exclusive Machine
McLaren only manufactured 375 units of the P1. This makes it one of the world’s most exclusive cars. Buying one is next to impossible. Given how fast it moves, it will take plenty of luck just to spot it on the road.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Cars like the McLaren P1 remain special because they are so rare. It takes a lot of time and resources to build such an innovative machine. McLaren deserves the right to limit production so that only the right people get a chance to drive the P1. If handed over to the masses, someone would certainly let the car’s massive power take over their driving. By limiting production, McLaren helps ensure that the only people who get to purchase their new car are those who know how to handle it.
When McLaren designed this work of engineering and art, its team approached driving technology from a new perspective. The result is a finely tuned machine that will blow the minds of a few drivers. The rest of us will just have to let our imaginations soar, knowing that such a spectacular vehicle exists in the world.