McLaren Life banner

1 - 1 of 1 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
2,671 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Latest from McLaren:

It's a tense but thrilling moment in the development of any new car: the day on which its engineers finally hand the keys over to someone outside the project for a critical, independent assessment. For us at McLaren, that moment came at the end of January in southern Portugal, at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, known simply as Portimão. The global press drive won't take place until early summer but a small group of journalists from some of the world's most respected car magazines were invited to test our new MP4-12C on the track and surrounding public roads. The four cars at Portimão were still production prototypes, excused their duties from our exhaustive test programme at the IDIADA track near Barcelona; I drove one down to Portugal myself. I suspect that few car makers would have given the press access to their prototypes, but we felt that the cars were ready, and we knew that enthusiasts around the world were keen to find out how our new car feels to drive.

In this, our second e-briefing, we'll take you behind the scenes at the Portimão test, give you a sneak preview of what one independent expert thought, and reveal the views of another very special tester; someone used to driving one of the few cars that's faster than the 12C.

And today we're revealing the 12C's official performance figures. We're proud to bring you the news first, and I hope you'll be impressed. But the 12C has always been about more than simple, straight-line speed; our intention from the outset was to produce a complete, perfectly-resolved, high-performance sports car. At Portimão, we asked some of the world's toughest critics if we've achieved that. We were delighted by their response, but it's your reaction that really counts.

Kind Regards

Antony Sheriff
Managing Director, McLaren Automotive Limited
Do you think in miles or kilometres? Either way, the 12C's performance figures are breathtaking. It will accelerate to 60mph in three seconds dead when fitted with the optional Corsa tyres; 0-100kph is dealt with in 3.1 seconds, or 3.3 seconds on standard tyres. 200kph comes up in 8.9 seconds, or 9.1 seconds on standard tyres. That's faster even than McLaren's seminal F1 road car, a car that redefined fast in 1993 and cost at least £540,000. Top speed is 330kph, or 205mph. Aided by the Airbrake, the 12C stops as hard as it goes, decelerating from 100kph to standstill in just 30.5m, or less than seven car lengths.

Most car launches use routes and circuits designed to flatter the car. Not this one. McLaren's engineers chose Portimão and the surrounding roads because they challenged the 12C. The circuit, a thrilling mix of fast, blind corners and tight hairpins allowed the testers to work their way through the 12C's impressive technical arsenal: like the Brake Steer system, developed for F1 but banned because it was so effective, braking the inside rear wheel through corners to suck the nose tight into the apex, or the pre-cog system on the new SSG seven-speed gearbox that allows you to pre-load the clutch by part-pulling the hinged, F1-style paddle shifter, making the actual shift virtually instantaneous when you issue the command. And the road route beyond the circuit was designed to be just as tough, if a little slower, deliberately taking in tight, potholed roads through a village to demonstrate the 12C's all-road visibility, and show that the ProActive Chassis Control system that holds the 12C so flat on the track delivers limo-like ride comfort too.

The car soon starts delivering what Ron Dennis promised: performance from half a segment or a segment above where the 12C's price suggests it competes. That turbo torque – constant between 3000 and 7000rpm – means you don't have to work for it or wait for it. You get an instant tightening of the chest, an adrenalized, fight-or-flight physiological response; the concern that you've crossed the line from fast to too fast, that as a driver you might not be up to the job. The change from first to second happens too quickly to analyse but the way the seven-speed, twin-clutch 'box shifts from second to third might be unmatched by any road car. It happens so fast – the rate of acceleration surging again as you drop back from the 8500rpm redline into the meat of the torque – that it ought to be violent; instead its seamlessness is disorientating.

I was just as impressed with the 12C's completeness. In auto mode, this 330kph car just bimbles off into the traffic, the gearbox changing early and imperceptibly, the ride unbelievably compliant over bad surfaces, the visibility perfect both past the narrow A-pillars and even backwards. Despite being so low, the headroom is huge; the cabin feels airy and the driving position is straight and perfect. Frankly, it doesn't feel like a supercar at all. Aren't there supposed to be compromises? Aren't you meant to hit your head on the way in, and suffer some contorted driving position, and live in constant fear of scraping a flank on a pillar? Not in this car. McLaren's official spokespeople have been wary of over-promising. The one thing they did promise was a broader range of ability than any other supercar, and that, they've delivered. This is a supercar you'll feel comfortable in faster, and drive faster sooner, than any other."

The Portimão session attracted one very well-known tester: Jenson Button, here to see how the car had developed since the last test. After some very hot laps, he sat down for a long meeting with the 12C's engineers for a debrief. "The guys working on this project really know what they're doing, but for track use I think our input as racers has been useful," he said. "It's the small things. For instance, I asked them to look at the 'click' action on the shifters and they've made it much more positive.


"You would expect me to say this but I honestly don't know another car you could drive like this on the track, but be comfortable in on the road. The brakes are amazing – you can just jump straight on them and they're there, just like our F1 cars. So is the handling. I love this Brake Steer function that just sucks the car into the corner." And he talks about how he's configured his personal 12C. "Black paint, black wheels, black cabin, red brake calipers and red stitching on the seats. It looks terrifying."


It's a tense but thrilling moment in the development of any new car: the day on which its engineers finally hand the keys over to someone outside the project for a critical, independent assessment. For us at McLaren, that moment came at the end of January in southern Portugal, at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, known simply as Portimão. The global press drive won't take place until early summer but a small group of journalists from some of the world's most respected car magazines were invited to test our new MP4-12C on the track and surrounding public roads. The four cars at Portimão were still production prototypes, excused their duties from our exhaustive test programme at the IDIADA track near Barcelona; I drove one down to Portugal myself. I suspect that few car makers would have given the press access to their prototypes, but we felt that the cars were ready, and we knew that enthusiasts around the world were keen to find out how our new car feels to drive.

In this, our second e-briefing, we'll take you behind the scenes at the Portimão test, give you a sneak preview of what one independent expert thought, and reveal the views of another very special tester; someone used to driving one of the few cars that's faster than the 12C.

And today we're revealing the 12C's official performance figures. We're proud to bring you the news first, and I hope you'll be impressed. But the 12C has always been about more than simple, straight-line speed; our intention from the outset was to produce a complete, perfectly-resolved, high-performance sports car. At Portimão, we asked some of the world's toughest critics if we've achieved that. We were delighted by their response, but it's your reaction that really counts.

Kind Regards

Antony Sheriff
Managing Director, McLaren Automotive Limited

 
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Top