The McLaren F1 redefined the very concept of the supercar when it was launched in 1993.  
Its spiritual successor, the McLaren P1™, would do the same 20 years later.

Even two decades after it first appeared, the McLaren F1 still looks ahead of its time. It combined extraordinary speed with everyday usability in a way that no other contemporary supercar could. The McLaren P1™ is every inch its rightful successor. While headline writers loved the fact that the McLaren F1 was the fastest production car in the world - setting a record of 240.1mph - its greatest legacy was its technical innovation. It was the first road car to be built around a carbon fibre tub, a technology pioneered by McLaren in Formula 1, and one that lies at the heart of all of our current models. The McLaren F1 also used its hand-built V12 engine as a stressed component, had a unique central driving position, and the design team's quest for lightweight perfection was such that gold foil was used in its engine bay to reflect heat. While it was never designed for competition, the F1 also morphed into an enormously successful race car - winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1995.

McLaren introduced the carbon fibre chassis to the world of Formula 1 in 1981 with the MP4/1, and we had the first carbon road car. We have always been at the cutting edge of vehicle aerodynamics, and all of this experience has gone into the McLaren P1™. Twenty years ago, with the McLaren F1, we raised the supercar performance bar. With the McLaren P1™, we have redefined it once more.'

Chairman - McLaren Automotive
 1995 F1 GTR-crop345x306.jpg

 McLaren P1 Bahrain-2935-resize1000x1500-resize833x1250-resize666x1000-crop665x810.jpg  It's as though we stuck a tube inside and sucked all the air out - a dramatic, honest shape, but also a very beautiful one'
McLaren Design Director, Frank Stephenson explains some of the inspiration for the functional yet beautiful design of the McLaren P1™.

'The engineering priority was always unmatched aerodynamic performance. My role as a designer was to make it look dramatic and beautiful. I wanted it to look like a purposeful racer with that low body, long rear deck and open-mesh rear styling to put the mechanicals on view and help cooling. Plus there's the most aggressive rear diffuser ever seen on a road car. Like everything on the McLaren P1™, it's there for a good reason.

'I wanted to take out as much visual weight as possible, to have a car that was really lean; a car with absolutely no fat between the mechanicals and the skin. It's as though we stuck a tube inside and sucked all the air out - a dramatic, honest shape but also a very beautiful one. It was all part of the engineering and design approach to fanatically take out weight.

Visibility is vital for a car like this, which is why we've pushed to giving it more of a canopy, to have glass all around you - it's like a cockpit and that's deliberate.'

Despite its strictly limited production, the McLaren P1™ underwent a comprehensive test programme, designed to ensure that the car and its state-of-the-art powertrain could deliver its extraordinary breadth of capability anywhere an owner might choose to take it. Prototypes, and the engineering team, traveled the world to ensure the car could function in the hottest and coldest climates. And, of course, the toughest environment of all - Germany's Nürburgring Nordschleife, and the need to meet the project target of a sub-seven-minute lap.

'The astonishing thing is that it feels like a really fast super sports car on the road, but like a really good racing sports car on the track. I don't think that's ever been done before'


Chief Test Driver - McLaren Automotive

Much has changed since 1993.  The technologies available to the current team at McLaren were barley feasible theories when the McLaren F1 was on drawing board.  Some things, however, remain unchanged - an obsessive approach and the belief that anything is possible.

Mark Roberts - Design Operations Manager, recalls the early days of the McLaren F1 project.

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