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Jay Leno becomes the first person outside McLaren to drive the McLaren P1

Jay Leno becomes the first person outside McLaren to drive the McLaren P1

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Let me get one thing straight. Personally I am not a fan of McLaren. I have nothing against the team, its Formula One drivers or the firm's awkward behaviour of naming its cars after fax machines. It's just like Manchester United vs Liverpool or Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer or Tiger Woods vs well whoever he competes with.

 

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However there are one or two things I admire about McLaren. Firstly, its futuristic, yin-yang inspired factory at Woking, U.K. Secondly, the automaker's approach to cars and the firm's obsession with implementing technology.

 

I have mentioned a countless number of times in the blog, as much as I like cars and the science, art and engineering behind it - I like technology, gadgets and gizmos. As such I cannot think of any other automaker in this era (perhaps besides Audi) that harnesses science, technology and cars as well as McLaren.

 

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Ferrari is a front to sell road legal Formula One cars to fund their F1 programme while Lamborghini is a German engineered Italian on steroids and performance enhancing drugs. Pagani is a new kid on the block that is all about theatricality, flamboyance and art.

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McLaren celebrated - with pride - their 50th anniversary as a racing team. 50 years is a long time, but the British firm has only created five road going cars thus far, and all five have been blockbusters in their own right.

 

We have the iconic and legendary McLaren F1, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, the MP4-12 and 12C and now we have the long awaited and alien looking McLaren 'Designed by Air' P1.

 

The McLaren P1, together with the Porsche 918 and LaFerrari, welcome the next generation of hypercars and motoring in general. They are from three different countries in one continent but they share a similarity - they are all hybrids. Unlike its predecessors, the McLaren F1, Porsche Carrera GT and Enzo Ferrari, they are not purely naturally aspirated.

 

Each feature an electric motor of some sort to boost performance to an already capable internal combustion engine.

 

 

In the case of the P1, the futuristic looking vehicle is unlike anything I have ever seen. The aesthetics have time travelled 10-15 years from the future, combined with the technical limitations of today. It is powered by a substantially revised 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine, coupled to a single electric motor, for a combined power output of 903bhp.

 

Top speed is electronically limited to 350km/h, with the 0-100km/h standing start acceleration taking less than three seconds. The McLaren P1 will power from rest to 200km/h in less than seven seconds, and on to 300km/h in less than 17 seconds - a full five seconds quicker than the McLaren F1.

 

Despite this, the P1 is also efficient with CO2 emissions less than 200g/km, and the ability to cover more than 10km in emissions free electric mode.

 

Undergoing the final stages of testing before commencing on first customer deliveries soon, fellow self-confessed automotive and collector, Jay Leno, became the first man outside the development team at Woking, and Jenson Button, to drive the McLaren P1.

 

The 12 minute video is pretty much split into two sections, a tour of the McLaren engineering centre that looks nothing short of a cathedral while the second part is Leno thrashing the all new hypercar on what I think is the Top Gear test track - who was gleaming with excitement every single minute of course.

 

As mentioned at the start, I am not a fan of McLaren, but does that mean I should not be jealous?

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