Back in December we were by a customer to go to the Mclaren factory to see the new McLaren P1 with him, as a potential buyer of the car. Obviously, a lot of the details of the car at that point were still, but the day included the ‘factory’ tour.
The hype around the ‘factory’ is completely justified, it is much more like a laboratory than a factory; the clean white walls and hidden door handles at the Woking base, give more of a james bond evil hideout feel than a supercar manufacturer. We walked in the staff entrance and were told which lift to get in to drop us along the boulevard in the right place. We were met there by the P1 client manager who took us into a side room, equipped with a new rotating MP4-12C spider finished in silver, breakfast pastries, coffee, tea and biscuits.
After the usual formalities, we were told we would head off, so our tour guide waved his hand over the wall and its swung towards him, the bright light shone in, but there seemed to be no exit other than a toilet, however at the end of the corridor he swiped his hand again, another door opened and at the far end of the room, spinning away was the Orange P1, in all its magnificence.
I saw the Mclaren P1 at Paris at close quarters and was extremely impressed, but here in the home of its birth it looked even more impressive. The occasion of the car is amazing, much more so than the Bugatti or Koenigsegg in my opinion, and I was immediately struck with the desire to see it on the road. McLaren’s whole aim with the McLaren P1 is to build a car designed to beat everything on the track and be completely user friendly on the road, as recently backed up by Ron Dennis’s claim that the car will smash all records on Top Gear and Nurburg. This car was born in a wind tunnel, every small detail designed to aid its aerodynamics. Every line on the car has a purpose, to move air to cool something or hold something down, so nothing is wasted. Apparently even underneath the car will feature a revolutionary system, details of which are still unannounced, but more aerodynamic wizardry.
The difference between here and the Paris motorshow was that the door was opened to the inside of the car, which was somewhat exciting. I am very lucky in that I have driven and been driven in some of the best Supercars the world has ever known, the Bugatti Veyron, Koenigsegg Agera and CCXR, the Enzo, the Zonda…. The interior for me is a very important thing, it’s not that important for everyone but each to his own, the interior on the McLaren P1 was a very nice place to be, the roof panels let in lots of light it feels spacious, however getting in is a little tricky due to the winged door, which is a lot thicker than most as it features a mini carbonfibre wind tunnel.
We now know a lot more on the P1, post Geneva. McLaren will only make 375 cars and the car will have 903 bhp, which will get to 60mph in under 3 seconds and upto 124mph in 7 seconds.
On the pricing, the deposit structure is now set and deliveries of the first cars, McLaren F1 owners are getting preferential treatment of course, should be end of 2013. The deposit is £80k, you can then chose your spec and pay the secondary deposit of £160k. The great news for potential owners is that the car is being built by McLaren Special Operations known as MSO, the gents responsible for the horrendous McLaren X1 shown at Pebble Beach this year.
That means that although the car should start somewhere about the £866,000 mark the car comes with an infinite list of options and expect buyers to use it, as the Q facility at Aston Martin taught us on the One-77 project, including Racing Green with lime green interior, one of the 77 built.
I don’t think McLaren will have quite as much trouble selling the P1 as they did the McLaren F1, the F1 stopped after only 67 units, the last car selling to Frank Seldorf in the US for half price. Having said that, I think it could take some time before they sell out, it is believed that McLaren have over 110 letters of intents, but we understand under 20 deposits; surely there is a limit to the number of people out there that can buy cars over the £500,000 mark? With Porsche, Ferrari, Pagani Koenigsegg, Bugatti and McLaren all making cars over £600,000 around 2000 units in the next 2 years by our reckoning* but maybe not, the LP700 is nearly £300k and they’re still selling very strongly.
Back to the tour, McLaren have such a scientific approach to the building of the P1 that I am sure it is going to be a very special car, the laboratory it is built in, is one of the best facilities I have ever visited and I really can’t wait to see the car on the road.
*See our working 918 Porsche’s at £600,000 +499 Laferrari’s at around £900,000 +50 Huayra’s at £1,000,000 +20 Agera’s at £1,000,000 + 100 Bugatti’s at £1,300,000 + 375 McLaren’s at £866,000