McLaren’s most powerful ever car has begun a grueling development programme across Europe and the Middle East before getting its world debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show.
The track-only McLaren P1 GTR will take its bow at the Swiss show in March and is slated for full production later this year. Meanwhile, the car has begun a testing schedule where development drivers are racking up thousands of kilometres at several UK and European locations as well as hot-weather tests in Bahrain and Qatar.
McLaren says the tests are to enhance the cooling and aerodynamics over and above the concept car which appeared at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The demanding schedule will continue over the coming months which will also see the firm’s development driver programme – where owners are treated to an F1-style racing experience – getting underway too.
The track-biased racer will be the ultimate toy for 35 of the 375 P1 road car owners, who’ll be invited to buy the less-than-road-legal GTR for an estimated £1.9m.
For that fee, McLaren builds you a tuned-up, hardcore P1 that isn’t allowed on public roads. Making up for the inconvenience, the twin-turbo V8 and electric motor powertrain is boosted from 903bhp to 986bhp – equivalent to 1,000PS or the same output as the original Bugatti Veyron.
But the P1 GTR isn’t hunting speed records – this is a machine designed for ultimate lap times. And to help you achieve the bragging rights of a track record, McLaren puts GTR buyers in a bespoke driver programme, amounting to a true F1-style racing experience, show in the video below...
Each owner is treated like a newly-signed Formula 1 driver, gaining access to McLaren's inner circle and receiving expert track tuition with the car. It sounds like a similar experience to that offered with the old Ferrari FXX, where McLaren will essentially keep the car for you and take it to verious racing events which you will compete in.
So even if you don't get to keep your P1 GTR in your garage, there's no doubt it's a (relatively) cheap way of feeling like Jenson Button. Especially since you get to drive at some of the current F1 circuits around the world.
The GTR itself has numerous upgrades over the standard P1. McLaren has stretched the P1’s front track by 80mm to increase front axle grip. This is further helped by an aggressive front splitter and slick tyres on 19-inch forged wheels with F1-style centrelock hubs.
The inflated wheelarches lead into reshaped radiator ducts, while the all-new rear valance forces the air shooting out from the undertray trackwards to create even more downforce.
Adding to the aero package is a monstrous fixed rear wing in place of the P1 road car’s pop-up spoiler. The GTR does maintain drag-reduction ability to increase straight-line speed, but the wing’s extra width and slimmer supports are mainly intended to ramp up aerodynamic performance.
As the car pictured here is still under extreme weather testing, McLaren hasn’t yet disclosed the GTR’s increase in downforce over the road car’s record-breaking 600kg total. Even the wing mirrors have been relocated to the windscreen pillars to reduce drag.
The P1 GTR’s dramatic rear is dominated by two bazooka-sized exhaust pipes where the road car makes do with one flame-throwing tailpipe. These pipes are fashioned from a heat-resistant nickle and titanium alloy and are naturally unsilenced to make the most of the uprated V8’s soundtrack.
The interior is just as hardcore, with some very serious-looking DTM-style seats and race harnesses. The digital steering wheel is a special bit of kit: it's based on the 2008 F1 car's item, the one that Lewis Hamilton used to win the driver's championship. So it's as close as you can get to being one of Mclaren's rumoured new F1 drivers for next year.
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