Lightweight McLaren P15 will pack 588kW

The Autocar rendering of what the McLaren P15 could look like. Picture: MCLAREN AUTOMOTIVE
The Autocar rendering of what the McLaren P15 could look like. Picture: MCLAREN AUTOMOTIVE

The most extreme road car in McLaren’s history is set to make its debut later in 2017, says Autocar magazine in the UK.

Codenamed P15 and said to feature a 588kW engine with a stripped-out interior and overall weight of less than 1 300kg, the new model will be the second in McLaren’s Ultimate Series range after the hybrid P1.

Designed to be the most extreme, track-ready but still road-legal car in the line-up, McLaren’s engineers have reportedly been given the freedom to prioritise performance over everything else and the P15 is said to be faster on a racing circuit than any McLaren, bar the track-only P1 GTR.

At its heart is a tweaked version of McLaren’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 said to produce around 588kW, making it more powerful than the 542kW produced by the road-going P1’s engine, but below the 673kW peak achieved when the P1’s electric motor is also in operation. The car’s weight is said to have been slashed by the use of McLaren’s latest Monocage II one-piece carbon-fibre tub and when combined with a race-inspired two-seater interior and no P1-style electrical powertrain, that should mean the P15 tips the scales at less than 1 300kg.

Against the 1 547kg P1, that would give the P15 an even better power-to-weight ratio, a crucial factor in achieving outstanding performance on the track. Straight-line performance is expected to match, if not beat, the P1’s figures of 0-96km/h in 2.7 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 10.2 seconds.

The car’s brutal styling is said to be the ultimate distillation of form following function with carbon bodywork used only where it delivers a performance, rather than aesthetic, benefit.

Active aerodynamics, with self-adjusting spoilers (knowledge gleaned from McLaren’s F1 experience) and a huge diffuser are also expected to dominate.

The official reveal will take place later in 2017, restricted to existing McLaren customers and potential buyers, followed by an official public debut at March 2018 Geneva Motor Show. A price tag of about R16m (before taxes and duties) is mooted with production set to be limited to 500 cars.

While other McLaren models such as the 675 have spawned Longtail (LT) and Spider open-top variants, the track-focused natured of the P15 has ruled these out. However, as it will be a road car, there is the potential for a track-only GTR version as McLaren did with the P1 and P1 GTR.

Autocar editor Mark Tisshaw said: “McLaren has always been relentless in the pursuit of performance, but with Aston Martin’s Valkyrie and the Mercedes-AMG Project One set to redefine the rules of the hypercar market, it has to keep ahead of the game. Hence the P15.

“There’s no doubt that this will be an incredible machine, but what McLaren has learned of late is to create a car with a broad dynamic brief.

“With track performance as its goal, the P15 will obviously be outrageous on a racing circuit, but with that low weight, pared-back cabin and non-hybrid powerplant, it promises to be exceptional on the road too. If it does that, it will have created arguably an even better car than the P1 — some achievement,” Tisshaw said.

“These are certainly exciting times for the Woking-based firm as the P15 will also be joined by a three-seat, F1-inspired hyper-GT. Codenamed BP23, the car will be revealed in 2018 and arrive in 2019.” – BD Motor News