Why Does The $1.3 Million McLaren P1 Have A Basic Open Differential?

Technology / 7 Comments

Instead of a limited-slip differential, it gets technology usually reserved for bargain sports cars.

Non-enthusiasts frequently like to wonder why someone would care to pay seven figures on a car that has no historical value and is only a few tenths of a second faster than cars a fraction of the cost, but the difference in price can usually be chalked up to the level of engineering madness that goes into the car. It's why companies like Bugatti feel the desire to tell the story behind the painstaking development of their cars. McLaren however, likes to gloss over one fact regarding the development of the P1: its lack of a limited-slip differential.

Instead, the $1.3 million hypercar relies on a computer to modulate the brakes in order to mimic the effect of an LSD. What confuses us and Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained is that these systems are usually considered cut-cost alternatives.


It makes plenty of sense for an automaker to install them into an entry-level sports car in order to feature a brake-induced limited-slip system, but it's a bit of an odd approach for a no-holds barred supercar given that the only disadvantages to the system are the cost and increased engineering complexity. These aren't exactly adversities that should hold back the designers of a million-dollar plus hypercar, but while it's unclear what made McLaren decide to turn its back on a limited-slip differential, there's no question that the British hypercar seems to have no need for any help in the speed department.


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