Watch How The McLaren P1 Was Designed

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By the man who designed it.

Supercars are truly complex machines that take thousands of man-hours to refine and perfect. When the supercar in question is a halo car that is meant to signify everything a brand stands for, its design becomes all the more important. While hypercars like the Ferrari La Ferrari and Porsche 918 Spyder share similarities with the McLaren P1, each of these three incredible machines looks remarkably different. Brand recognition plays a big part in how a car looks, but there are numerous other factors too, and the below video detailing the design process of the P1 shows just how challenges were resolved and where inspiration was drawn from.

Frank Stephenson is one of the artistic minds behind the P1's breathtaking design, and like the proper old-school designer he is, he favors a blank sheet of paper and a pen rather than Computer Assisted Design, or CAD drawing. This human touch is what Stephenson views as critical to the flowing, sensual, attractive design of any car, and thankfully the P1 benefited from this.

Small details like the height of the fender and its bulge are remarkably important, with this particular design element intended to make placing the car on the road and hitting the apex every time easier. Naturally, hypercars like this are wide and placing them can be tricky, but McLaren's attention to detail comes to the fore here, with even the design of the car intended to help you drive faster.

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Frank Stephenson
Frank Stephenson
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Frank Stephenson

Another interesting detail is found by the wing mirrors, where testing revealed a lot of wind noise emanating from the mirrors' arms. The sailfish was the natural inspiration for the solution, and the bumps connecting the fish's torso to its tailfin were recreated on the mirror arm, which completely eliminated wind noise from this section of the car. This wasn't a new discovery either, as the MP4-12C used something similar too. This kind of brilliance is what put McLaren back on the map, and although the P1's successor will likely be very different to the car discussed here today, we have no doubt that it too will be full of design gems and clever problem-solving solutions

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