As a true motoring enthusiast, you will know that every hypercar tells a legendary story, like a kind of moving work of art. But if there is one automaker that has been able to tell the best stories, fulfilling the expectations of lovers of these gems on four wheels, it is McLaren.
So sit back and get comfortable, because today we're taking you through the details of the story of two iconic limited-edition supercars from the House of Woking that are the apotheosis of artistic, technical and technological expression of the time to which they belong.
Considered the first true hypercar, it was produced from 1993 to 1998 in only 106 examples, just enough to make it a priceless car and a specimen with the fastest 6-liter 60-degree V12 aspirated engine ever built in the world.
Gordon Murray - the visionary Formula 1 technical engineer - and his team started from the base of a GT sports car and shaped a super-performance and comfortable road car, but one with a sophisticated aerodynamic design that was superior in both finish and ability to the supercars of the day. Murray even decided to revolutionize its driving position, envisioning a novel three-seat layout: the driver was to be strictly in the center of the cockpit, flanked by seats on either side set back from the driver, so as to optimize mass distribution as well.
Extremely pure to drive thanks to its ultra-light carbon-fiber chassis, as well as its seductive lines, the McLaren F1 left its mark for its staggering numbers: it took off 0-100 in 3.2 seconds and in 1998 reached a top speed of 386 km/h - surpassed only today by the 2005 Bugatti Veyron - thanks to its ultra-light 1,139 kg body and the exceptional power of its BMW-origin naturally aspirated engine that delivered 627 horsepower. In addition, the 6-speed manual transmission was fitted with a carbon triple-disc clutch, while the hood was covered with wafer-thin 24-karat gold wires to effectively dissipate heat.
An impeccable piece of mechanical engineering for its time, it is also a milestone in world motoring, boasting an upgraded version of the V12 in the special LM, present in eight examples to celebrate victory in the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Who would have guessed that McLaren's return to the field of road cars would talk about turbocharged engines and a hybrid propulsion system? The 2013 McLaren P1 is a plug-in hybrid, with the electric motor supporting the heat engine in reaching maximum performance. We could call it very much a child of its time, a specimen that marks a clear change of course from the F1, its spiritual heir. But one thing is certain: both cars have succeeded in the feat of catalyzing the attention of hypercar enthusiasts from all over the world, going beyond anything imaginable.
Considered the first hybrid road-going hypercar, The P1 mounts a supercharged 3.8-liter V8 engine, which develops 737 hp, paired with another 180-hp electric motor. Gone is the three-seat layout that has gone down in F1 history and the two-seat cockpit returns, while its entire design has been redesigned to offer an even more advanced, at times futuristic image, with full-led headlights and giant air intakes that emphasize the car's extreme grit.
The long tail, inspired by the legendary McLaren F1 Speedtail, which triumphed at Le Mans, with the ever-present central exhaust, is enhanced by a giant wing that acts as an aerobrake during hard braking, but also as a DRS, ensuring an exceptional top speed. The minimalist but technologically advanced cabin offers a bespoke driving experience enhanced by exposed carbon fiber, Alcantara and other fine upholstery. But the real surprise lies in the ability to adjust the response of the active suspension, chassis, engine, and hybrid system via two dials at the bottom of the floating center console.
Despite the incredible power unleashed by the 3.8-liter V8 engine, the McLaren P1 does not neglect the aspect of sustainability. Thanks to its lightweight hybrid system of only 96 kg and its 4.7 kWh battery, it can travel up to 15 km without emitting pollutants, powered by a 180-hp electric motor. But when it comes to performance, the P1 knows how to deliver. With a total power output of 916 hp and 980 Nm of torque, it achieves 0-100 km/h in just 2.8 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 6.8 seconds and 0-300 km/h in 16.5 seconds, with a self-limited top speed of 350 km/h.
In short, if you are still on board, you will have realized that these are two rare technological gems that have made and continue to make motor history: to enter a McLaren F1 or P1 is to cross a threshold that can only lead to a world of adrenaline, speed and style, where every limit seems destined to be exceeded!