McLaren lifts the lid on P1 GTR design concept at Pebble Beach
By Scott Collie
August 17, 2014
McLaren wasn't holding back at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. As well as showcasing two of its latest models with a couple of one-off vehicles, it took the wraps off the 650S Sprint. But for most the highlight was likely the unveiling of the British automaker's track-focused McLaren P1 GTR design concept that provides a preview of the final model that is set to enter production in just under a year.
McLaren conceived the P1 GTR with the goal of creating the world's greatest track car. Based on the 903-hp (673-kW) P1, the GTR will gain a power boost, with a scarcely believable output of 986 hp (746 kW) from the same hybrid-boosted 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8.
To fit in with McLaren's track-ready ethos, the P1 GTR will run a far more aggressive aero setup than the road-going car. Up front, the GTR's new splitter has been influenced by those on GT racers, and the car's air intakes have been redesigned to channel airflow around the GTR's heavily flared wheelarches. Those wheelarches hide a front track that is 80 mm (3 inches) wider than on a standard P1 to provide extra stability.
From a design standpoint, McLaren says the P1's body is "shrink wrapped" around the "MonoCage" chassis. That's not to say the car's profile is perfectly clean, however. A "blade," which is meant to clean up turbulent air created by the GTR's massive front wheels, protrudes from the side of the car and there is no ignoring the massive carbon wing standing proud at the car's rear.
Speaking of the car's rear, the P1 GTR has undergone some major changes at the back end. Central to the change is a new, centrally-mounted exhaust made from inconel and titanium alloy, which should give the P1 a more distinctive roar. Above the exhaust sits the P1 GTR's twin-element rear wing, which is equipped with an F1-inspired hydraulic drag reduction system (DRS). With the area behind the P1's engine is now a smooth, flowing surface that allows better airflow, the GTR's wing also more effectively channels air to the car's diffuser.
Aerodynamic grip is one thing, but no track car is complete without a set of slick tires. The P1 GTR's 19 inch center-lock wheels are wrapped in bespoke Pirelli slicks and measure 10.5 in (267 mm) wide at the front and 13 in (330 mm) at the rear. The whole car also sits hunkered down on a new, fixed suspension setup.
As incredible as the GTR is on paper, there's not much use having that power if you can't control it so McLaren is launching its bespoke P1 GTR driver program with the car. This will entitle the buyer to specialist driver training and access to the McLaren racing simulator. The program will be tailored to each individual driver, who will have their cars maintained by McLaren Special Operations (MSO).
While the car shown at Pebble Beach is a design study, don't expect too many details to change for the production car, with McLaren saying that the car's development has now entered the next phase, which will involve honing and further optimizing the car.