McLaren F1Enlarge Photo
When the original McLaren F1 first hit the streets back in the early ‘90s it almost immediately catapulted to the top of the performance car scene, taking home the title of world’s fastest production car in 1998 and holding it right up until 2005. Building a car better than the original F1 was always going to be a difficult challenge but if anyone can do it, it’s the newly established McLaren Automotive.
With Ron Dennis and former Ferrari designer Frank Stephenson on board, the company is poised for great success. And with the recently revealed 2012 McLaren MP4-12C just months away from hitting showrooms, things are now busier than ever. However, progress at McLaren’s Woking headquarters in the UK shows no sign of slowing as development of two additional models is accelerated--one of which will be the successor to the vaunted F1.
It’s been known since the onset that the new MP4-12C would be McLaren’s mid-tier supercar, with a F1 successor sitting on top and a new ‘affordable’ model to challenge the likes of the Porsche 911 and Audi R8 as the brand’s entry-level model.
According to latest reports, the next car to be launched by McLaren will be the F1 successor and it will be coming as early as 2012--two years ahead of schedule.
While the MP4-12C has been derided as looking too tame, the F1 successor will be a “revolutionary” hypercar and one that will be instantly recognizable as such. It will still feature a mid-engine layout and carbon-fiber monocoque chassis but there will be some radical elements to its design, with even some similarities to the original F1 being thrown in. Who knows, the car could even feature a centrally-mounted driver’s seat! Expect plenty of active-aerodynamics and possibly even some sort of hybrid mechanism--last year we reported that McLaren was searching for hybrid powertrain engineer.
One thing’s for certain, environmental concerns will play a major part in its design. In addition to the possible hybrid development, a major emphasis is being placed on reducing weight and the new car is expected to be a leader in this field, just like the original F1. The engine, too, should be very advanced--forced induction is likely to be the order of the day given McLaren’s willingness to use turbochargers for its MP4-12C.