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Discussion Starter #1
So, I took my MP4 to the track this weekend. Here are my notes and observations.

Where: Thermal Springs, Palm Springs, CA

Conditions: 90 degrees F, Wet and semi-dry conditions (rained off and on all day)

Strengths:
- The car pulls like a locomotive and it never lets up! Also, when driving on the cam, there is no issue with turbo lag to speak of.
- The chassis is incredible, very stiff diagonally.
- Grip is very good overall.
- Car balance is very good.
- Brake feel is very good.
- Steering feel and response is awesome!
- Overall a great balance of chassis feel, responsiveness and forgiving nature to the car.
- The seating position and steering wheel are the best of any street car I have drivin. And I have owned and actively tracked a 458, 996 GT3 and a 997 GT3 RS v2.

Weaknesses:
- The electronics are horribly intrusive. In track/track mode it feels like a anchor gets dropped out the back of the car. As any relatively advanced driver will attest, you need some slip angle in the car for rotation mid corner that then gets balanced out by application of throttle. The MP4 will allow this! Electronic aids felt like gen 1 Porsche stuff from 10 years ago. (Now, to be fair, I did not know how to turn the electronics entirely off which I understand can be done - this would make a HUGE positive difference in the car!)
- The car needs a differential. Despite the obvious hydraulic balancing that is happening with the car's platform, the car just struggles to lay down the power coming off turns. The lack of diff also contributes to the car moving around so much during braking. This one is the car's biggest shortcoming imo.
- The front damping is too understeer prone. Mid corner the car washes out too much in general - this could easily be remedied if MC would allow users to tweak the suspension rebound settings.
- The airbrake is kinda funny. It definitely works. But, when the car slows more and more the rear comes up as the wing has less downforce.
- Setup changes -the car would benefit so much from camber, toe and ride height changes but they are a major pain to make. With other cars, if you have strings, scales and a camber gauge you can make all manner of setup changes pretty easily. With the MP4 this just isn;t the case. And, I don't care what the car, there is NO one size setup that fits all track scenarios and conditions.

Comparable: I strongly suspect that with same tires the care would clock a Porsche or a 458. But, to be fair, most of that would be on account of the acceleration off corners and overall pull of the car on straights.

Overall: I love the car despite it's foibles. I just wish it had a diff!
 

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pkla,

Thank you for posting, this was very informative. I tracked my Mclaren this past Saturday - I don't have near the experience to understand everything. Could you elaborate on the differential? What is the key difference in having one and not? I understand it's used to allow the wheels to rotate at different speeds. How does Mclaren accomplish the task without one?

[Newbie]

Dennis
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The diff helps with putting power down coming out of the turn by locking the rear end - basically not asking too much of a single tire (power and grip). The challenge with diffs is that they also inhibit the car from rotating. Because even high end diffs don't entirely disengage when off throttle.
 

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First - the car of course has a diff, what the OP means is that the Mac should have a limited slip diff, however also acknowledges that a limited slip diff has considerable disadvantages, as by definition, it is pushing the car to go in a straight line, even when the task du jour is to go around a corner - what gives?
Torque vectoring as in the GTR or some Audis now have, to a lesser degree the E diff in the 458, are a possible answer. But none of these would work well with brake steer we have in the 12C, which is of course much safer for the novice driver, but maybe not so for the most advanced driver?
 

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So, I took my MP4 to the track this weekend. Here are my notes and observations.

Where: Thermal Springs, Palm Springs, CA

Conditions: 90 degrees F, Wet and semi-dry conditions (rained off and on all day)

Strengths:
- The car pulls like a locomotive and it never lets up! Also, when driving on the cam, there is no issue with turbo lag to speak of.
- The chassis is incredible, very stiff diagonally.
- Grip is very good overall.
- Car balance is very good.
- Brake feel is very good.
- Steering feel and response is awesome!
- Overall a great balance of chassis feel, responsiveness and forgiving nature to the car.
- The seating position and steering wheel are the best of any street car I have drivin. And I have owned and actively tracked a 458, 996 GT3 and a 997 GT3 RS v2.

Weaknesses:
- The electronics are horribly intrusive. In track/track mode it feels like a anchor gets dropped out the back of the car. As any relatively advanced driver will attest, you need some slip angle in the car for rotation mid corner that then gets balanced out by application of throttle. The MP4 will allow this! Electronic aids felt like gen 1 Porsche stuff from 10 years ago. (Now, to be fair, I did not know how to turn the electronics entirely off which I understand can be done - this would make a HUGE positive difference in the car!)
- The car needs a differential. Despite the obvious hydraulic balancing that is happening with the car's platform, the car just struggles to lay down the power coming off turns. The lack of diff also contributes to the car moving around so much during braking. This one is the car's biggest shortcoming imo.
- The front damping is too understeer prone. Mid corner the car washes out too much in general - this could easily be remedied if MC would allow users to tweak the suspension rebound settings.
- The airbrake is kinda funny. It definitely works. But, when the car slows more and more the rear comes up as the wing has less downforce.
- Setup changes -the car would benefit so much from camber, toe and ride height changes but they are a major pain to make. With other cars, if you have strings, scales and a camber gauge you can make all manner of setup changes pretty easily. With the MP4 this just isn;t the case. And, I don't care what the car, there is NO one size setup that fits all track scenarios and conditions.

Comparable: I strongly suspect that with same tires the care would clock a Porsche or a 458. But, to be fair, most of that would be on account of the acceleration off corners and overall pull of the car on straights.

Overall: I love the car despite it's foibles. I just wish it had a diff!
Have you try playing with different psi setting? What psi are you running cold? Did you measure your psi at the end of your sessions? 996 GT3 is a pretty raw car comparing with all the super car nowadays. Glad you are enjoying your car on the track!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I did play with tire pressures - the best I found was actually 24/25 cold which ended up at 28/33 hot.
I think the chassis is awesome and the motor too. it was the lack of control (electronic interference) and adjustment (ride height and camber) I hated -
 

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That's a very early model without the updates. They havent even put up the spider's time yet, which would top that early coupe...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I disagree. The laptimes do not tell the whole story. The car is a bullet in the straights which makes up for a ton.

Look, I bought one, too. I love it, too. But, that doesn't mean I'm gonna put on rose colored lenses. Look at laptimes on various tracks set by experienced or pro drivers. The 458 is actually quicker in many cases. I submit that the entire delta is on account of the electronic interference. Without it, I believe the car would clock a 458. (As I have said before, I have owned and driven both in anger on a racetrack)
 

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But the times shown in the link are comparative. There's plenty of others there bullet quick on the straights. Something's working LSD or no LSD I hear what you're saying re diff, but can't help thinking it would be compromised in other areas were it to have one. As the old saying goes "To every plus there is a minus".
 

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I disagree. The laptimes do not tell the whole story. The car is a bullet in the straights which makes up for a ton.

Look, I bought one, too. I love it, too. But, that doesn't mean I'm gonna put on rose colored lenses. Look at laptimes on various tracks set by experienced or pro drivers. The 458 is actually quicker in many cases. I submit that the entire delta is on account of the electronic interference. Without it, I believe the car would clock a 458. (As I have said before, I have owned and driven both in anger on a racetrack)
It is possible to completely disable the traction control on the 12C. Instructions are in the owner's manual I believe. I'd have to double check.
 

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They apply a little brake to the slipping axle which means the other axle with more traction puts more torque down.
Thats my understanding of how it works.
 

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I tracked mine again this past weekend and on the final session started getting the tire warnings that others have complained about. I've just had 11.1 software installed so I wonder if its related - i never got the high temp warnings before even on hotter days and longer tracks?
I'm still not in love with the brakes (mine are steel), there's always a split second of "oh shit, they're not going to haul me down in time" and the feel is very wooden and non-linear (although they are fine on the street)
 

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Well, at the end of the day, some track shortcomings can be justified and explained in that it's not a track car. Not that that should be an excuse, but it is still one of the best performing road cars in existence and what isn't there can be remedied by buying a proper race car. Just my two cents.

Riley Track Day special, anyone?



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Lack of LSD is the only real non rectifiable shortcoming on the mp4. Am glad I am not the only one saying this anymore.
I bet next model will have one.
Btw does anyone know what diff the P1 is running?
 
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