To work on it, mechanics must keep a defibrillator nearby.
True rivalries rarely stay within domains in which they initially began. The Ferrari vs. McLaren story is one that began on the race track, but recently, it has extended past the Formula 1 battlefield and entered into the realm of the no holds barred road car. McLaren’s passage into selling customer cars began with the F1, a car that blew the world away when it first showed its face to Ferrari and Lamborghini and unsurprisingly, it will still give most modern supercars a run for their money.
Times have changed however, and now that McLaren’s Formula One engineers have had two decades and two years change to investigate how to go around a corner faster, it has made a new supreme McLaren leader to show off what it could do if Formula 1 rules were stricken from reality. And thus, the P1 was born. For its million dollar plus base price, it has surprisingly few themes that make up the backbone of the car. These are carbon fiber, space-age technology, downforce, and a central supplementing electric drivetrain. The billionaire buyers who will pull the trigger on purchasing one of the most exclusive cars that the world has to offer expect nothing but the best, and that’s why McLaren spared no expense on carbon fiber.
Everything, from the monocoque chassis to the removable and interchangeable body panels that make up the car are made of the material. If you want to see the carbon body take its painted clothes off, it'll be the most expensive stripper you pay because McLaren will accept no less than $305,000. Engineers would have made the engine out of the substance too were it possible. However, the brakes get one unique touch from a composite that was first used on spacecraft. That would be carbon silica brakes, also known as one of the hardest substances on Earth. Theoretically, the stuff is so strong that the P1 should never need a replacement set of brakes. When a driver depresses the pedal, anchors drop up to two Gs’ of stopping force.
In a rare move, McLaren decided to forgo a regenerative braking system since it would impede on brake feel too much. Instead, there is a brake steer system that clamps down on the inside rear tire to enable the car to pivot into corners. On the inside, the exposed carbon fiber has its top layer of resin removed providing the dual benefits of looking aesthetically pleasing as well as saving a total of 3.3-pounds. We did mention that the P1 is an obsessive compulsive’s dream right? That’s why the car has an active aerodynamics system that bends the air around it at a driver’s whim. Want to supplement the engine and battery’s maximum boost mode? Just press a button on the steering wheel and all drag-inducing vents close.
This enables for unencumbered slipstream travel through the air. If it’s control you need, just place the car in maximum attack mode, and make sure the parking brake and your seatbelt is on. Race mode lowers the ride height to literally illegal levels (although independent reports confirm that owners drive on public road in this mode anyway because money) and engages maximum attack mode on the aero toys. Using the weightless wind, this mode provides a maximum of 1,300-pounds of downforce at 160 mph. You may already know that the P1’s top speed is 218 mph (and will get close to a Bugatti Veyron at 249 mph sans limiter), so why does maximum downforce come in at “only” 160 mph?
Because the suspension system has self-preservation instincts, that’s why. As speed passes 160 mph, the computers adjust the aerodynamic helpers to keep downforce consistent at 1,300 pounds. If it didn’t, the P1 would produce 2,200-pounds of downward push and require reinforced suspension components. Not like the dampers aren’t strong: In race mode, they get six times stiffer than when operating within road going settings to allow up to 2 Gs’ of cornering grip. It may sound complicated to package all of this technology into a car that features a gas-guzzler tax-waiving hybrid drivetrain, but don’t worry because the mechanics struggle with the car too. A simple servicing of the P1 requires a mechanic who is willing to risk their life.
After removing the entire rear end of the car, service can only begin after the mechanic dons a special full body suit that is electrically grounded. Anti-shock gloves come to the daring technicians aid, but if all else fails, McLaren requires P1 mechanics to have a defibrillator nearby to restart their hearts in case all 600-volts of electricity from the hybrid battery stops it. It's details like this that make the McLaren P1 rank as one of the most opulent purchases that the world will ever know. By requiring a mechanic willing to sacrifice their lives, the ability to bend the wind, and materials developed for space exploration, the McLaren P1 even makes ivory look like an expendable resource. Try to grasp these mind boggling facts because soon, a successor will be out.