Where There’s Ferrari, There’s McLaren

Let’s be honest, we haven’t seen McLaren on a production run like this since, well, ever.  Other than the unrestricted days of Can-Am racing, McLaren hasn’t had a serious of different cars come out so quickly (even though McLaren’s Can-Am racers were basically the same car each year).  Obviously the McLaren F1 was and is one of the most influential cars of all time, but, we’ve never seen McLaren produce so many road cars in such a narrow window of time.

Other than their Formula 1 cars, the blokes from Woking haven’t had any road cars from the 21st century to brag about.  That was until, the 12C came out and sent resounding shockwaves across the globe.  So it came as a surprise to many when McLaren announced that they were making a new supercar, and it was even more shocking when they said it was going to be a hybrid.

For months, the automotive world and car enthusiasts everywhere have had to make do with computer-animated images of a futuristic , yellow hypercar going around corners looking fast and sporty.  However, leading up to the unveiling at Geneva, McLaren really made no effort of keeping the car’s looks a secret.  The P1 looks exactly as it did in those computer images, and McLaren even paraded the P1 around during the unveiling of the 2013 MP4-28 F1 car.  Camouflaged, of course.

However the one thing that eluded gearheads across the globe was the car’s specifications.  While many took away from the car’s styling that it would be terrifyingly quick and packed with immense amounts of power, no one knew exactly how powerful and fast it would be.  Luckily, a few days before the Geneva unveiling, McLaren told all.

As many people that will want this car, it is, predictably, not going to be available to the “masses.”  Production run is expected to be, unfortunately, a mere 375 units.  And, just to remind you that there’s a new Ferrari involved, this number is 124 cars less than the Enzo 2.0’s 499 units.  If you would like to be one of those lucky few, you can expect to be set back $1.3 million dollars.  Even Mike Myers would cringe at that price tag.

There is, however, a very good reason as to why this car is so extremely expensive.  Performance on this car is staggering, as a 3.8-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 sits right in the middle.  As mentioned before, the P1, like the LaFerrari, is a hybrid supercar thus combining two motors.  The V8 produces a quite potent 727 bhp at 7,500 rpm, while torque is a massive 531 lb-ft at a modest 4,000 rpm.  Mix this with the electric power source, and the combined result is an incredible 903 bhp and 664 lb-ft of torque.

To translate this power into the language of speed are specialized Pirelli P Zero Corsas.  Obviously, this much potency can not be put to the ground with any set of tires, so throughout development of the P1, McLaren worked extremely closely with Pirelli to make a tire for the sole purpose of managing the power of the car and also the car’s handling characteristics.

As with the Ferrari, modern Formula 1 technology played a big roll in the design and development of the car.  Rightfully so, as the previous insanely fast McLaren was called the “F1.”  On the steering wheel, two buttons can be found, one is a red button with the abbreviation PAS that looks as if it’s some sort of missile launch.  The other, a dark blue button that holds one of the most renown abbreviations in the automotive world – DRS.  Both of these technologies contribute to the car’s straight-line speed and performance and, when activated, offer an immediate power boost.

Stopping power can also be thankful of F1 technology, as McLaren’s brakes were made with their Formula 1 partner, Akebono.  Carbon-ceramics can be found all around, but not any “normal” kind of ceramic brakes.  The carbon-ceramics are something that previously saw service in space.  Extraterrestrial stopping power, that is.  The brakes cool themselves better than the average carbon-ceramic brake set and also stop extremely well.

As a result of all of these high-tech features, driving performance is exceptional.  0-60 mph takes less than 3 seconds – 2.9 seconds to be specific.  While the LaFerrari is expected to possibly be 2.5 seconds in the sprint to 60, it’s still unclear, meaning that the P1 will definitely be giving the Ferrari a run for it’s money.  Top speed has been complained about, as the car is “limited” to 217 mph.  How you can complain of a limited top speed of 217 still eludes my understanding.

What can we expect of this car, then?  Well, considering what McLaren did with the 12C and the features of this car, its inevitable that the P1 will basically be a Formula 1 car for the road.  But then again, isn’t the LaFerrari?  That being said, the P1 will be standing side-by-side in all the big comparison tests.  Be afraid Maranello, be very afraid.  #competition -B.C.

Other Notables From Geneva

Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo unveiled an all-new sports car, the 4C.  Powered by a straight-4 cylinder that displaces 1.75 liters, the 4C’s specific specifications are not available yet, however the engine is expected to produce over 200 bhp.

The car is also extremely lightweight.  The overall weight is expected to be less than, get this, 850 kg.  With that number right there, power-to-weight ratio is likely to be astonishing.  And as a result to such a lightweight car and a mildly potent engine, performance is remarkable as well.  The car is expected to complete the all important sprint to 60 in less than 5 seconds, and the car is expected to reach a top speed of over 155 mph.  Power is sent to the rear wheels through a twin-clutch transmission hooked up to the 4-cylinder – which gives the car the name 4C – engine located in the middle, where it should be in a small sports car.

While the looks of the car have been briefly debated, primarily concerning the headlights as the cause for head scratching, one can not deny the fact that other than those headlights this car is astonishingly picturesque.  Small, compact, and lightweight, the 4C is the exemplary image of what a proper sports car is.

Lamborghini Veneno

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what I’m looking at.  You see, the problem is that Lamborghini claims this is a car.  They say it has four wheels -which it does -, a throttle and brake pedal, a steering wheel, an engine, and all the other stuff that constitutes the modern car.  But I’m having a difficult time persuading myself that this is indeed a car.  What you are looking at is the Lamborghini Veneno, and I think it’s a spaceship.

Lamborghini unveiled this Veneno at the Geneva motor show among other big, powerhouse names like Ferrari and McLaren, who also revealed fanatical hypercars on back-to-back days.  So when Lambo revealed this, many were a bit confused.  Why?  Well they said that they were only making three.  And they’re already sold.  For more than $3.8 million.

The power source to this radical looking machine is a big (most likely screaming) 6.5-liter V12.  Considering that supercar power comes standard on any Lamborghini, the mid-mounted V12 creates a hair-raising 740 bhp.  Also considering that the car is loaded with carbon fiber, the Veneno ways a mere 3,190 pounds, considerably lighter than the more widely produced Aventador.  As a result of extremely high power and low weight, performance is pretty much predictable.  The car accelerates to 60 in 2.8 seconds, keeping it in tradition with sub-3 second 0-60 times for hypercars at Geneva in 2013, and will send you rocketing towards the horizon at a top speed of 221 mph.

However, it has to be said.  I’m a bit unsure of the point of this car.  Now while I could spend hours joking about how the Lamborghini designers clearly broke into the Batcave for design ideas, I have to ask, what in the world was Lamborghini trying to do with this car?  It’s not as if this car is the most powerful machine in the world despite it’s looks, but why were only three made?  And why does it cost so many millions?  Maybe Lambo was using this as a fundraiser to collect money for a future project (let’s all hope this is the case), because this car really makes no sense to me.


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