McLaren celebrates 10 years of the P1

Unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, over the last decade the remarkable P1 hypercar has grown to be recognised as a landmark both for McLaren and the development of high-performance hybrid vehicles.

Mar 16, 2023

McLaren is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the reveal of the production version of the McLaren P1.

Unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, the remarkable P1 hypercar is now recognised as a landmark both for McLaren and the development of high-performance hybrid vehicles, showcased most recently by the all-new McLaren Artura.

Created with the intention of being ‘the best driver’s car in the world on both road and track’, the design and technical specifications of the McLaren P1 provided the ideal foundation to deliver on this ambition. A series of testing and development achievements during 2013 – including lapping the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife – immediately cemented the car’s credentials.

The hypercar was rolled out with a 3.8-litre, twin-turbocharged M838TQ V8 engine developing 542kW (737PS), combined with a lightweight electric motor producing 131kW (179PS) to give a total of 673kW (916PS). This delivered levels of performance that were – and indeed remain – astonishing: acceleration from 0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds; 0-200km/h in 6.8 seconds and 0-300km/h in 16.5 seconds – a full five seconds quicker than the legendary McLaren F1. A maximum speed of 350km/h added to the appeal and reputation of the McLaren P1, but it was the instant throttle response and torque infill that conclusively proved that electrification could truly enhance modern turbocharged powertrains.

Alongside a benchmark hybridised, petrol-electric powertrain, the hypercar was underpinned by two of McLaren’s trademark strengths – low vehicle weight and aerodynamic excellence.

The MonoCage carbon fibre monocoque with roof at the core of the McLaren P1 was a development of the MonoCell structure used in McLaren’s 12C supercar and key to optimising mass in a vehicle with a dry lightest weight of just 1,395kg.

The carbon fibre body panels of the McLaren P1 comprise a large clamshell; single-moulded front and rear panels attached to the central MonoCage; two small access flaps in the rear; a front bonnet and the two doors. Weighing a total of only 90kg, the panels are extraordinarily thin but also very strong. The hybrid battery, which is mounted low inside the carbon fibre MonoCage, weighs just 96kg.

The McLaren P1 had no floor carpet – it was deemed unnecessarily heavy – and no sound deadening. The glass was re-engineered to reduce weight – the super lightweight roof glass is chemically toughened, and only 2.4mm thick. The windscreen is just 3.2mm thick, including a plastic interlayer, saving at the time 3.5kg over the 4.2mm-thick screen of the 12C.

The large rear wing of the McLaren P1 optimises aerodynamics by adjusting automatically. It can extend rearwards by up to 300mm on track and 120mm on road. This was developed using the same software and methodology as the McLaren Formula 1 team. A DRS (Drag Reduction System) was integrated into the design of the McLaren P1 to reduce downforce and increase straight-line speed, achieved through the pitch of the rear wing, rather than by using a removable flap.

Extremely exclusive and highly desirable from the moment it was revealed, the McLaren P1 sold out within mere months of reveal and by November 2013 all 375 cars were allocated. Build of the first of the 375 McLaren P1 production models – finished in Ice Silver paintwork – finished in September 2013 – by which time it had become firmly established as a performance icon. The final customer-ordered car was completed in December 2015; it was painted in a stunning pearlescent orange, a colour achieved through a unique tinting process that became available in other McLaren models as Volcano Orange.

Ten years after its Geneva Motor Show appearance – and in the year that McLaren also celebrates the 60-year anniversary of Bruce McLaren founding the company – the McLaren P1 remains an incredibly exciting and dynamically accomplished performer on both road and track.

The enduring legacy of the P1TM extends beyond its iconic status in McLaren’s lineage of technologically advanced, driver-focused cars. As a precursor of electrification as an enhancement to driving engagement it changed perceptions of the technology, inspiring the ground-breaking Artura; a supercar that blends thrilling performance and driving dynamics with EV driving capability – a winning combination pioneered by the McLaren P1.