McLaren MP4-12C road car revealed

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

McLaren MP4-12C - the new sports car by McLaren
McLaren MP4-12C - the new sports car by McLaren

F1 car history provided the inspiration for the naming of the McLaren MP4-12C, the new sports car revealed by the company today.

The car shares the same naming convention used by the team’s F1 cars. It falls between McLaren’s 1997 MP4-12 (which won three Grands Prix) and the 1998 MP4-13 (which won both world championship titles).

This is probably because of the ‘brake steer’ technology fitted to the car, which is related to the same innovation which appeared on the 1997 and 1998 McLaren F1 cars. It was banned by the FIA early in 1998.

Brake steer applies the brakes to the inside rear wheel during high-speed cornering to reduce understeer. On the F1 cars this was operated by an extra brake pedal, but on the MP4-12C the system is electronic.

The car is powered by a 600bhp 3.8-litre V8 engine built by McLaren, making it an all-McLaren production. Its predecessor, the McLaren F1, used an engine supplied by BMW.

It also has a Formula 1-style seamless shift gearbox but does not have the distinctive central driving position of the McLaren F1.

The MP4-12C is seen as the successor to the F1 road car, designed in 1993 by Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens. Murray is not involved in the new project and is developing a new supercar design of his own, which he says will not rival the performance of the F1. He is also currently working on a compact, low-emissions city car called the T25.

The MP4-12C has been Ron Dennis’s project for the road car division since he stepped down from the race team earlier this year and the company will build around 1,000 per year. Now more than ever, McLaren is becoming a rival for Ferrari off the track as well as on it.

Read more

78 comments on “McLaren MP4-12C road car revealed”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3
  1. So no road cars to ever have KERS?

    1. Now that’s an important question that you rise. But you must know that this mp4-12c is a supercar & it wouldn’t give a damn for fuel consumption & efficiency. And Kers is supposedly “mercedes technology” & mclaren, it seems don’t want to involve merc in any of their future projects. I think, again this is purely my thought a split is imminent. Actually i wouldn’t call the McLaren-Mercedes a grand success at all. In 15 years of their partner ship all that they’ve managed is 59 victories out of around 250 odd races, so their sucess ratio is less than 25%. meanwhile with honda as their engine partners in the late-80’s & early nineties mclaren achieved 44 victories out of 80 races, winning 55% of the time. After all these years of partnership with mercedes all mclaren have to show is 3 WDC & 1 WCC. so this partnership isn’t a “grand” success at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if they part ways in the near future.

      1. Back in the Honda days, Ferrari was in a coma.

    2. But I raised the question as there have been rumours, but nothing has come of it?
      KERS for a road car would be like the new NOS lol.

  2. Shame it doesn’t have the central driving position, it was one of the things that all the reviewers raved about when they tested the F1 road car. It could have been a McLaren signature feature.

    Electronically-controlled brake steer? Surely that also goes by the name ESP/ESC/electronic stability? As far as I know it works in the same way: monitoring the speed of each wheel and independently braking them to keep the car pointing straight. I suppose using this tech to turn the car more sharply is what makes the McLaren system different… or the exact opposite, even!

  3. Looks like a Lotus…

    i prefer thr 458! but this one is not that gar away…

  4. Congratulations to Ron and Mac ! as a fan, I am happy. However, the car looks a little generic. I like the SLR and the Stirling Moss Replica better. Of course, these are front – engine cars …. McLaren has to find its signature look in rear engine cars.

  5. Prisoner Monkeys
    9th September 2009, 12:25

    It’s like somebody mated an F430 with a McLaren F1.

  6. It looks very nice. Can’t wait to see the Stig get hold of it.

    I wonder if McLaren can now move some R&D costs onto this project when an F1 budget cap comes along?

  7. Any idea about the price this thing will be selling at?

  8. Potbellied Haug admits Rosberg is McLaren 2010 candidate.

  9. I think it’s a bit bland and not unique for a supercar, I don’t like the name even if it is relevent, and although McLaren should be using orange, they shouldn’t be using that shade of it.

  10. How is “brake-steer” different from the stability control program in my wife’s Passat wagon, that uses the brakes in cornering, in theory, to keep us out of the scenery? Who knew the old barge had F1 tricks up its sleeve? I will now be taking on-ramps at 10/10ths to try it out.

    Anyway, this car comes up way short of my expectations. How come no mass-damper, pneumatic-valvetrain, traction-control steering wheel paddles, front wheel spats or KERS? In any event I want to make sure Kovalainen, if he gets one at all, gets a slightly more draft version.

  11. HounslowBusGarage
    9th September 2009, 15:48

    A MacLaren sportscar, eh. Hmmm, I wonder if they will go into GT racing like Ferrari?

  12. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    9th September 2009, 15:57

    Even though British engineering & manufacturing is on the ropes right now, it’s wonderfull to see we can still do it at the highest level.

  13. Wow, what a stupid and confusing idea to call the car.

  14. Fairly dull looking front end. The rear looks really interesting though.

  15. Looks like an upgraded Lotus Elise.

  16. Looks a lot like a Ferrari… another spygate scandal??

  17. To get 600bhp, Mclaren had to put two turbos on their V8.
    Without any turbos, Ferrari’s V8 makes 562bhp… Ferrari has made a much more impressive achivement IMO. My only doubt is if the handling of the Mclaren will be superior, due to his carbon-fibre chassis…

  18. I just figured out what to put on my christmas list…

  19. Prisoner Monkeys
    10th September 2009, 7:59

    I am totally going to use this car in the novel I’m writing. I already know exactly how it will be introduced.

    1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      10th September 2009, 9:28

      Hope your novel has a point to it, unlike your comment……

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        10th September 2009, 11:48

        Oh, it does. I’ve been looking for a good car for a while now; the MP4-12C is it.

        And it’s funny you should say that my comment has no point, as yours doesn’t either.

        1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
          10th September 2009, 14:05

          I’ve got to read this novel of yours, should be hilarious………

          1. Prisoner Monkeys
            10th September 2009, 14:51

            It’s not going to be a funny one. One scene simply involves a sportscar, and I like the MP4-12C. So I’m going to include it.

  20. Looks like a fusion of Diablo and Ferrari F430 Spider (closer to the last one). Nothing inspiring. Like some people mentioned before – I was expecting something quirkier.

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.