McLaren P1 makes public debut

31 Jan, 2013 5:52pm Tom Phillips

The McLaren P1 has made an appearance at the McLaren MP4-28 launch

The McLaren P1 supercar made its public debut at the launch of the McLaren MP4-28 Formula One car earlier today.

McLaren team leader, Jenson Button, drove the P1 around the lake used to provide water to cool the McLaren Technology Centre’s wind tunnel, and into the building where the press were assembled.

The P1 used is one of McLaren’s XP experimental prototype versions of the hybrid supercar. The P1 made its debut as an exterior styling concept at last year’s Paris Motor Show and is due to be unveiled in full production form at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

In the short demonstration drive of the P1, the supercar’s turbocharged V8 engine was heard over the noise of a 12C Spider, driven by McLaren’s new F1 driver, Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez.

However, when another driver removed the P1, as attention turned to the unveiling of the MP4-28 F1 car, the supercar operated using electric power alone.

Both Button and Perez are expected to have some input into the development of the P1 closer to its market launch, just as Button and former McLaren racer Lewis Hamilton did with the arrival of the 12C coupe.

McLaren celebrates its 50th birthday on 2 September this year, which is when the first P1 customers will receive their cars. To kick off a year of festivities, McLaren showed a number of race and championship-winning cars from its past at the MP4-28 launch event.

A highlight included the 1970s M8D CanAm sportscar. The M8D has particular resonance with the firm, as it was during testing of this car at the Goodwood race circuit that a piece of the car’s bodywork failed, causing team founder Bruce McLaren to crash, costing him his life.