Chris Harris spends two days in a McLaren P1 hybrid hypercar to see what it’s like to use a 900hp supercar on the road.
The McLaren P1 is the ultimate expression of what a modern supercar can be with the technology available right now. It uses a lightweight carbon fibre construction, twin-turbo V8 engine and most intriguingly a hybrid electric system that allows it to be no more detrimental to the planet than an ordinary hatchback. Yet it has 903hp, can hit 62mph in under three seconds, 124mph in about 5 seconds and 186mph in around 16 seconds. Yes, it is bonkers fast.
In creating the P1, McLaren didn’t just set out to create the most insane straight-line driving machine it could – the P1 isn’t about drag racing. Rather, it set out to create the best driver’s car the world has ever seen. How did they do that? It starts with the lightweight body, the P1 only weighs about 1395kg before fluids. Then there’s the powertrain; the P1’s 3.8-litre V8 doesn’t suffer from the usual turbo lag that comes from a heavily boosted combustion engine because it’s supplemented by electric motors which deliver torque and power instantaneously. So you get the delicate throttle response of a naturally aspirated motor with the surge and punch of a heavily turbocharged one.
Then there’s the aerodynamics; the P1 has one of the most advanced aerodynamic packages fitted to any road-legal production car. In it’s Race mode, the McLaren P1 develops a race-car aping 600kg of downforce at 180mph thanks to that enormous hydraulically controlled rear wing and its wind-tunnel optimised shape. The only problem is, in Race mode the P1 isn’t actually road legal because it sits so low and the wing blocks the central brake light, so the only place you can fully explore its performance is at the circuit.
But realistically, even if you live next-door to Silverstone your McLaren P1 is going to spend the majority of its time on the road. So what’s this psycho-fast 903hp hybrid monster like to pootle around in, and what’s it like to live with for a few days? Chris Harris had the pleasure of finding out…
Check out the video below.