‘Our aim is not necessarily to be the fastest in absolute top speed but to be the quickest and most rewarding series production road car on a circuit’, says McLaren Automotive Managing Director Antony Sheriff. ‘It is the true test of a supercar’s all round ability and a much more important technical statement. Our goal is to make the McLaren P1 the most exciting, most capable, most technologically advanced and most dynamically accomplished supercar ever made.’
Oh McLaren, you so crazy!
I mean it.
You’re crazy. Like, if you think supercar buyers will make any purchase decision based on your in-house road-course lap times, you’re really crazy.
When the MP4-12C was introduced, it was widely criticized for:
- being ugly
- having a stupid name that doesn’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t currently own a signed Lewis Hamilton Vodafone McLaren shirt framed on their wall. (An explanation for the name can be found here from the usual advertorial suspects.)
- being slower in most respects than an original McLaren F1 would be if said F1 had the benefit of modern tires
- being ugly
With that car, McLaren proved that they had no comprehension of why people purchase truly expensive vehicles. This sort of mistake has been made before further down the market: anybody remember all the advertisements for the Pontiac 6000STE which touted its complete and total skidpad dominance of everything from the BMW 528e to the Countach LP5000S? It turns out that people don’t buy cars based on numbers, unless the numbers are printed directly on a window sticker and preceded by a dollar sign.
Although McLaren was certain that every oil tycoon, rap star, and Russian mobster would immediately abandon the Ferrari 458 for a car with a full “12” rating in its nomenclature, this turned out to not be the case at all. In a scientific survey taken by your humble author of random women, the MP4-12C was widely mistaken for a Fiero-based kit car by 20% of the respondents. The remaining 80% believed it was just a regular Fiero. Only the most thoroughly-trained Estonian prostitutes can tell the difference between the McLaren and a Fiero, and they rarely leave Manhattan.
To address the amazing lack of interest shown to their “12”-rated car, McLaren has decided to create a faster car, called the “P1”. This is Formula One terminology for “first practice of the weekend”, I believe. The production version will be unveiled within a year. It will be the fastest supercar in history around a race track, which means it will still be slower than a Stohr D Sports Racer while costing up to ten times as much. The amazing difficulties involved in making supercar comparison tests happen under controlled conditions will ensure that this claim is never fully tested, but since no one cares anyway it won’t matter.
The new P1 will be priced above the existing cars, which is to say it will be priced above the Ferrari 458, which you would rather have anyway. More news as it develops.