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8 Facts Wikipedia Won’t Tell You About the McLaren P1

If you’re an auto enthusiast and haven’t heard about the McLaren P1 yet, you’ve had your head in the ground. The long-awaited successor to McLaren’s F1 was in production form at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and has had everyone since then vying for a look at one of 375 models being sold.

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While you can find basic facts doing a simple Google search – like the P1 generates its 903 HP by a 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine coupled to an electric motor, and it can go from 0-60mph in a mere 2.9 seconds (thanks, Wikipedia) – to find out the following eight facts, you’d need to actually visit a dealership or talk to an owner.

That sounded like a good idea to us, so we paid McLaren Newport Beach a visit. Here's what we learned:

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1. The unique engine set-up, unlike other hyper cars built with electric motors, uses the additional motor to add performance – not fuel efficiency.

Regardless of its true purpose, the hybrid status qualifies the P1 as an efficient car; therefore, owners won’t have to pay the additional “gas guzzler” tax after plunking down cash for the car’s $1.3 million price tag.

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2. Most people have become familiar with regenerative braking features in hybrids, but that doesn’t happen in the McLaren P1.

Instead, the car continuously recharges the batteries from the engine itself, creating a situation where you’ll theoretically never run out of charge... even with a boost system that can be used for as long as 20 seconds at a time!

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3. There are two distinct ways to “power up” the McLaren P1 for increased performance – battery or aerodynamic boost.

During battery boost, the hybrid system kicks in to send extra power to the wheels. During aerodynamic boost, all the vents close decreasing the car’s drag coefficient even more.

For the uber-adventurous (and who wouldn’t want to be driving this car), both boost systems can be enacted simultaneously to enter into warp mode.

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4. Moving beyond monocoque and carbon tub chassis design, the McLaren P1 utilizes a MonoCage chassis with carbon fiber that’s over five times the strength of titanium.

Both the A and C pillars, along with the roof snorkel, are engineered to act as both the structure and the safety cage of the car. With the entire structure and body panels all made of carbon fiber, the entire car weighs in at approximately 3,000 lbs!

Bet you’ve never seen carbon fiber used like this.

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5. Body panels are all removable in three basic sections.

Want to change the look? Just order a new set of panels in a different color or raw carbon fiber for the oh-so-reasonable price of $250,000.

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6. The entire rear body panel must be removed in order to access the engine.

After that, the mechanic must don a full-grounded suit, anti-shock gloves, and have a defibrillator on hand before touching the engine. If not, they’ll be getting a 600 V shock from the hybrid system's stored energy.

Hobbyist mechanic? Not on this car.

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7. It is rumored that the McLaren P1’s brakes will never need to be changed.

Surpassing the technology of carbon-carbon or carbon-ceramic brakes, it’s the only car to currently utilize carbon-silica brakes – one of the hardest materials on Earth. Heat up the brakes and you’ll see them become bright, glossy and metallic over time and use.

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8. As with any hyper-car, a computer system offers a number of different driving modes.

On the McLaren P1, race mode is only activated when the car is turned on, the parking brake is on, the seatbelt is locked and a special button is pushed. In this set-up, the car generates 1,300 lbs of downforce, and the hydraulic suspension is six times stiffer.

While it’s completely illegal to drive on the street in race mode, the owner we spoke to said they’ll be activating it quite frequently.

Wouldn't you?

McLaren P1 - Nurburgring Nordschleife 2013

All unmarked photos courtesy of McLaren.

 

Since most of us will never actually get the chance to buy a McLaren P1, we found out what it's like to purchase this hypercar.

 

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