McLaren P1: How it compares to the F1

What’ll she do mister? It’s the most fundamental question anyone asks about a supercar, followed by “How much does it cost?” Well finally, after months of waiting we have an answer to those questions, but rather than list them verbatim, let’s put them in context.

And what better context than McLaren’s iconic F1, the car launched nearly 20 years ago which defined the ‘hypercar’ genre.

Price

Back in 1994, the F1 ‘retailed’ at £540,000, around four-times the price of a Lamborghini Diablo VT (£143,000) and Ferrari 512TR (£131,000). The P1 will cost £866,000 (on the road) fully equipped as standard for road and track use.

If we apply a compound of the RPI (Retail Price Index) between 1994 and 2012 the F1’s £540,000 would cost £1,033,483 at today’s money, or a 91.4 per cent increase in the 18 year period. The P1 costs ‘just’ 59 per cent more than the F1, so on that basis could almost be described as an ‘inflation buster’..

McLaren-P1-Performance_G4

The modern-day equivalent of Ferrari’s 512TR is the F12, which at £239,736 is 82 per cent more expensive than its predecessor, while Lamborghini’s £247,668 Aventador is 73 per cent more than the contemporary Diablo of its day.

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, McLaren’s P1 is now better value than the F1, and with those now retailing in the millions, the P1 might be a great investment provided you have a spare million dollars to spend on one in the first place.

Car Price in 1994 Car Price in 2013
McLaren F1 £540,000 McLaren P1 £860,000
62.8%

Lamborghini Diablo VT £143,000 Lamborghini Aventador £247,668
57.7%

Ferrari 512TR £131,000 Ferrari F12 £239,736
54.6%

Production of the McLaren P1 will be limited to 375 cars, guaranteeing its future collectible status.

Performance

We’ve come a long way since 1994, but even now the McLaren F1 shouts ‘Fast’ with a capital-F.

Using the Autocar road test of 1994, the F1 recorded 0-60mph in 3.0 seconds, 0-100mph in 6.3 seconds, 0-120mph in 9.2 seconds and 0-180mph in 20.3 seconds. All of that from 627bhp and a kerb weight of 1,138kg.

  • McLaren-F1-vs-P1
  • McLaren-P1-vs-F1

We don’t yet have a kerb weight for McLaren’s P1, but we do know its maximum power output – 903bhp from a mid-mounted 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine combined with a 176bhp electric motor. In addition to a 39 per cent power advantage over the F1, the P1 delivers 664 lb-ft compared to the F1’s 479lb-ft (+38.6 per cent).

The end result is a car more than 23 per cent faster than the F1, which suggests the P1 weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 1,200 – 1,300kg.

Putting both cars side-by-side (on paper) we find the following:

Acceleration McLaren F1 McLaren P1
0-62mph (100km/h) 3.1 seconds less than 3 seconds
0-125mph (200 km/h) 9.58 seconds less than 7 seconds
0-188mph (300 km/h) 21.15 seconds around 17 seconds
NOTE: The McLaren F1’s acceleration times have been converted to the standard km/h increments on a pro-rata basis, no account has been taken for air resistance or gearing.

While much was made of the F1’s 240.1mph top speed, McLaren have shied away from such headlines with the P1, electronically limiting its speed to 219mph (350km/h). The F1 remains the ‘boss’ in terms of outright speed, which is probably sensible in light of the terrible crash back in 1999 which claimed the life of Computer multi-millionaire Chris Dawes.

The tyres fitted to the McLaren P1 are specially developed Pirelli P Zero Corsas. The final compound and construction was developed and optimised during testing, and the end result is a tyre finely tuned to the performance and handling of the P1.

Reining in that performance are a new type of carbon ceramic disc, developed with McLaren’s Formula 1 partner Akebono. The material used is stronger than that used in conventional carbon ceramic discs, dissipating heat more effectively and providing exceptional stopping and cooling capabilities. The system is also lighter, and a bespoke ceramic layer coats both friction surfaces to give an attractive mirrored finish.

McLaren-P1-Performance_G7

McLaren has been liaising with potential customers during the last few months as it finalises the P1’s design, and apart from the addition of LTR ducts ahead of each front wheel (to further aid cooling and optimise downforce), the styling of the P1 remains unchanged from the original car shown in Paris last September.

Now we await Ferrari’s response.

Back when the F1 was launched, Ferrari’s F40 was already six years old – still stunningly fast – but no match for the significantly more powerful F1. This time Ferrari enter the ring playing to the same rules (their latest F1-derived tech in a road car). Expect there to be fireworks.