Plans for an all-electric McLaren P1 replacement are already underway, as part of a £1bn investment in research and development. Mike Flewitt, speaking at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, says that McLaren's 'Track22' business plan will lead to the development of 15 all-new cars and the launch of an 'LT' sub-brand.
The 'Track22' plan will also see the development of new powertrains, including hybrid models which he says will power some 50% of new McLarens in the future. Flewitt also confirmed work is underway to develop an all-electric powertrain to evaluate its use in a “future generation of an Ultimate Series car”, giving rise to suggestions that the next-generation P1 could be entirely electric.
A significant part of the investment will contribute to the development of new powertrains. By 2022, half of all new McLarens sold will have a hybrid powertrain, although the existing M838T engine which features in all of McLaren’s current models will live on.
McLaren bosses point to the success of the 675LT and 675LT Spider, models which sold out in a matter of weeks, to justify the development of a McLaren LT sub-brand. As with the 675LT, further LT models will have more track focus than other cars in McLaren’s Super Series, such as the 650S.
McLaren has committed to investing and industry-leading 20-25 per cent of turnover into R&D, which will lead the self-funded firm to double in size over the next six years.
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Automotive commented: ‘Since its inception, McLaren Automotive has launched world-class products and this has been made possible by continuous investment in our future. The launch of our new six-year Business Plan, named Track22 because I believe that we are on track to a very exciting and successful future, scopes our future investments and development strategy up until 2022.
“This will see us launch 15 all-new cars or derivatives within our existing Sports Series, Super Series and Ultimate Series families. We will also develop an all-new engine architecture that will debut towards the end of the Business Plan period.
“Our next hybrid vehicle will launch towards the latter part of our six year plan, and we will see at least 50 percent featuring hybrid technology by 2022. Hybridisation has obvious CO2 and fuel consumption advantages but for us, it is all about delivering the performance and enjoyment of a McLaren. But we won’t stop there. Our engineers have even started work on a one-off prototype to evaluate the possible benefits of a fully-electric powertrain in an Ultimate Series car; such is the pace of development.”
McLaren will remain a producer of two-seat sports cars, produced without compromise, according to bosses.
Speaking to Auto Express at the Geneva Motor Show, McLaren Sports Series line director Andy Palmer said he was not prepared to compromise on McLaren’s core values to develop more models. He said: “We cannot compromise the qualities of what makes a McLaren a McLaren: the driving, the engagement, the visibility all have to be pure to the brand.”
Although a 2+2 model had been considered, he ruled out such a version within the Sports Series range, citing unacceptable compromises in packaging. He said: “You look at other 2+2s and there are compromises. We looked at it and talked about it but it never really fitted in what we wanted out of this car. It wasn’t what our customers wanted. It would have meant producing a GT stretched by another foot making the proportions awkward.”
Palmer confirmed he is considering EV and hybrid technology in future Sports Series models. However he ruled out the introduction of a more track-focused version within the Sports Series range, similar in concept to the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. He said drivers seeking additional track ability will be served by models in the forthcoming LT sub brand range. “We’ve got the qualities that match the 911 GT3 with the car we’ve launched as our entry-level car”, he said.
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