Topless McLaren P1 Spider Steals The Show At Goodwood

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The P1 never had a convertible rival to the LaFerrari Aperta and Porsche 918, but it does now.

McLaren got a lot right when it launched the McLaren P1 nearly a decade ago. The P1 was, without a doubt, the car that kicked off the hypercar wars between the world's largest brands. A hardcore McLaren P1 GTR version followed later, taking a car Jeremy Clarkson called a "widowmaker" and having it try to make more widows. But for all its success and prestige, the McLaren P1 never did one thing... go topless. The Porsche 918 Spyder was convertible from the get-go and Ferrari made the LaFerrari Aperta, but McLaren never followed suit.

Lanzante is going to fix that five times over, producing no more than five McLaren P1 Spider models. Right now, the first of those is sitting on a display at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed, with the first customer car set to be delivered by the end of the year. For those who aren't au fait with Lanzante, it's no random tuning shop, but a McLaren specialist that has been turning the brand's best racecars into street-legal machines for years.

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Lanzante

For the P1 Spider project, Lanzante worked with the one man it needed to most: Paul Howse, the McLaren P1's original designer. He also penned Thornley Kelham's redone Jag XK120. Not only does Howse know how the coupe should look sans roof, but he was able to help Lanzante work around the technical constraints of removing the roof of a car that was never envisaged as a convertible. "With the P1 Spider, we wanted to continue and accentuate this theme," said Howse.

"The design has some subtle tweaks, and the body now flows from the bonnet edge around the A-pillar into the waistline, kicking up behind the driver, echoing the bodyside. This creates a floating fin to direct air into the engine, and then flows back down into the rear deck. The carbon buttresses cocoon the driver and echo the beautiful clean lines of the coupe's tapered cabin," he continued.

Of course, making it all look pretty in a sketch is the easy part. Ditching the P1's roof snorkel and glass roof panels was most certainly not.

Basically, everything the roof touched had to be modified in some way. That includes the front wings, doors, and rear clamshell engine cover. Thankfully, the carbon tub McLaren uses for all its cars doesn't have structural roof elements, which is why the McLaren 765LT Spider is as stiff as the coupe, and why the P1 Spider won't be needlessly heavy.

Still, to make sure of this, the lower half of the chassis was reengineered. The air snorkel has been replaced by new inlets behind the bulkhead, which now feed air into the fiery turbos. Lastly, power figures are carried over from the coupe, which had a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 that churned out 903 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque, helped along by the car's hybrid system. What we don't know is whether these cars will be able to benefit from McLaren's upgraded performance battery. In theory, so long as the upgrade is made by McLaren beforehand, Lanzante shouldn't have any issue converting the donor cars. We're not so sure McLaren will oblige on cars that have had the roof chopped off before the battery swap, however.

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Inside, the seats have been reupholstered in leather and what Lanzante calls "SuperFabric," which should hold up if the car's owners are caught out in the rain or harsh sunlight. Other upgrades include satin carbon fiber interior panels and gloss black switchgear.

Pioneer of the program, Dean Lanzante said of the project: "We were approached by a P1 owner at the start of the year who was looking at the ideas of how to make his car even more engaging, and he was keen to explore the option of a Spider variant... After close discussions with our engineers, we felt we had some possible ways to make it work, but it needed to be designed in a way that it wouldn't lose anything when compared to the coupe."

Each of the five commissions will be built from a donor car, with the first deliveries being carried out later this year. They won't be cheap, given the P1's now seven-figure price pre-conversion.

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