Mike Flewitt opens up to "Top Gear" about McLaren's plans for the next few years.
McLaren has a whole lot planned for the next few years. This we know. But the exact details of its "Track 22" plan aren't well-known. Luckily Top Gear sat down with McLaren's CEO, Mike Flewitt, to learn just a bit more about what the English supercar company is up to. For starters, Flewitt isn't interested in building a three-seat successor to the McLaren F1. "We are a forward-looking company. We love the F1 like everyone else, but we're not doing another F1." That's about as big a "no" as there is.
But why isn't McLaren interested in building a new F1? The issue is money, with Flewitt saying it's too expensive for McLaren Special Operations (MSO) to build a new chassis. The CEO may be trying to redirect chatter about an upcoming project but we think he's telling the truth. Unfortunately an F1 successor seems more like a passion project than anything else. An automaker investing $1.4 billion to bring 15 new cars to market by 2022 doesn't have a lot of room for passion projects. What McLaren also doesn't have room for are autonomous cars. That should be welcome news to gearheads who feared that future P1 successors would be self-driving. Just kidding, no one thought that would happen.
"We are not in the transport business. We are in the entertainment business. If cars that you drive yourself just become recreational vehicles that's OK with us. It's going back to how supercars used to be. A Lamborghini Miura wasn't transport – you couldn't drive to work in it. It's only recently that supercars became reliable enough to be transport as well as entertainment." We don't really have anything to add to Flewitt's explanation. He nailed it. Even though McLaren isn't big on self-driving cars it is exploring electric cars, although an Ultimate Series EV isn't in the cards for Track 22. One thing gearheads will be happy to know is that McLaren's CEO values an electric car that can actually run a few laps at the track.
As for how much track time an all-electric McLaren would offer, Flewitt says that he personally would like to be able to get 30 or 40 minutes out of its battery. The automaker is developing a test mule for the project but any sort of EV is more than seven years out. Anything we missed? Oh yeah, McLaren will have a new powertrain architecture and more than 50% of its cars will be hybrids by 2022. And the LT designation will also make it down to the Sports Series, so prepare yourself for hardcore 570S and 540C models. Catch a breath and try to take all this McLaren news in. We know it's a lot to grasp all at once.