Rumors of the McLaren P1's speed have been circulating for months, despite no official word being given. Now, however, McLaren has unleashed a mountain of stats to lay its claim as the king of the hypercars, desperate to prove its superiority over Porsche's new Nurburgring record-holder and Ferrari's 963 hp one-named monster.
The P1 is not just fast — it's ballistic.
Using its 903 hp hybrid V-8, it powers to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds, continuing to 124 mph in 6.8 seconds and reaching 186 mph in 16.5 seconds. Quarter-mile time: 9.8 seconds at 152 mph. If you hit the Akebono carbon-ceramic brakes while traveling at 62 mph, you'll come to a dead stop in just 30.2 meters — although your heart and lungs may continue for a short while longer. And, with a little help from its electric motor, during normal driving, it delivers 34 mpg, EU combined.
Let's try to gain some perspective on what we're dealing with: 2.8 seconds to 62 mph is as equally insane as the Porsche 918, but short sprints like this are not that telling. Hitting 124 mph in 6.8 seconds, however, is faster than a Hyundai Veloster Turbo speeds to 60 mph, and it boasts similar fuel efficiency ratings. It's also considerably faster than the 918, which completes its dash in 7.9 seconds. 186 mph in 16.5 seconds is — wait for it — five whole seconds faster than the legendary McLaren F1, which was the fastest road car in the world for many years, topping out at 243 mph with the rev-limiter removed. The P1 is even comparable up to 124 mph with the current 0-200 mph record holder, the Hennessey Venom GT, although the Venom isn't in the same hemisphere when the road starts to twist.
And that's where P1 promises to shine: featuring a lightweight carbon-fiber chassis, adaptive aerodynamics debuting an F1-style drag reduction system, and KERS hybrid power. With the Porsche 918 setting a scorching record around the 12.8-mile 'Ring of 6 minutes 57 seconds, it will need every one of its many tricks.
Both McLaren and Ferrari have been to Germany's stomping grounds as well, but neither have released any times. On paper, the P1 should eclipse the 918's record, which delivers 887 hp while carrying more weight. But why haven't the British boffins revealed their results?
My guess: They're waiting on the Italians. It's unusual for Ferrari to make the trip to the Nurburgring, especially when you consider it has the Fiorano test track quite literally in its backyard. Ferrari, therefore, may feel it has a rather potent weapon in its holster, and McLaren will want to ensure it won't get pipped during overtime.
The few that have driven the P1 say that it's a technological marvel, including Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson. Buyers, too, will soon get to experience it themselves, with the first machine having been delivered to a UK-based owner already.
Right. The P1. Complete game changer. The next chapter in motoring. Speed like you simply would not believe.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) October 10, 2013
Eventually, lap times around the 'Ring will be known; if they're not, we can presume that particular hypercar wasn't fast enough. While stats like this are fun, being the speediest doesn't necessarily equate to being the best machine. It does, however, depict a glorious time for the enthusiast. And given what we now know of the P1, it's primed to be every bit as successful as its acclaimed predecessor, the F1.