McLaren has confirmed it will launch a three-seater inspired by the original F1 that will bring hybrid power to the company’s line-up for the first time since the P1. The new model is being billed as a ‘hyper-GT’ rather than a hypercar in the mould of the original F1 and its P1 successor. According to McLaren, this means it is “a car designed for long journeys but with the high levels of performance and driver engagement expected of any McLaren”. Just 106 examples will be built, the same number as the original FI, and each has already been sold.
Codenamed BP23, the model is the work of the McLaren Special Operations (MSO) division, headed by ex-Caterham and Zenos boss Ansar Ali. The ‘BP2’ in the codename signifies that this is the second bespoke product to come from MSO and the ‘3’ refers to its three seats. McLaren has revealed a sole image of the model, an abstract bird’s-eye preview sketch. Look closely at it and it reveals the car’s most significant feature: a three-seat layout, with a central driving position and a seat on each side of it, just like the FI.
Owners have been told that the model will be produced as a coupe only, with no open-top or track-focused GTR variants planned. This is in keeping with McLaren’s brief to make a hyper-GT. The firm reckons a fixed roof is most befitting of the ultimate grand tourer. McLaren has given little away about the as yet unnamed model’s powertrain, save for the fact that it is a hybrid. It has also revealed that the car will be one of the most powerful McLarens yet produced.
As with all McLarens, a version of the twin-turbo 3.8-litre V8 engine will be at its heart, but this time it will be hooked up to an electric motor and battery pack, as with the P1. The fact that its power output is described as ‘one of’ the largest yet seen suggests it will not top the 903bhp of the P1 but will exceed the 666bhp of the 675LT. Insiders previously mentioned a figure far greater than 700bhp.
McLaren’s Track22 business plan, announced in March by company boss Mike Flewitt, confirmed more hybrid models as part of the 15 new cars -both regular production and limited run – it plans to launch by 2022, of which this F1 homage is one. The car recognises and promotes the increasing influence of the MSO division, which offers McLaren owners anything from individual paint finishes and trims to full-blown one-off creations. It has created one bespoke product before: the one-off X-1 of 2012.
This new F1 homage will showcase MSO’s ability to develop its own models, with insiders promising a “streamlined” exterior “shrink-wrapped in a carbonfibre body of great elegance” and an exquisitely finished interior with bespoke switchgear. Each of the 106 owners will work with MSO to create bespoke colour, trim and personalization combinations for their individual cars. McLaren has given little away about the styling of the car, but it has revealed that its dihedral doors, a feature of all McLaren Automotive models to date, will be powered for the first time and extend into the roof, as on the FI.
Sources have revealed that there will be other nods to the Flin the styling, with a roof-mounted air scoop among the features. Performance will be explosive, but McLaren will also focus on making the F1 homage its most refined car yet. A McLaren statement read: “The car will deliver the highest levels of refinement, enabling significant journeys to be undertaken with up to three people aboard.” McLaren has not yet confirmed pricing, but sources have indicated that the new car will cost around £2 million when it arrives in early 2019.