McLaren MP4-12C road car revealed

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.

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78 comments on McLaren MP4-12C road car revealed

  1. HounslowBusGarage said on 9th September 2009, 15:48

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

  2. Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 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.

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

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

  5. Looks like an upgraded Lotus Elise.

  6. JordanDN said on 9th September 2009, 18:54

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

  7. Sampaio said on 9th September 2009, 19:26

    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…

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

  9. Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

    • Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 10th September 2009, 9:28

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

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

        • Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 10th September 2009, 14:05

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

          • Prisoner Monkeys said on 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Rikhart said on 10th September 2009, 22:27

    Incredible how bland that thing looks compared to the SLS. Just pales in comparison.

  12. oh noe mclaren did it again..are we gonna have a repeat of the 2007 f1 “incident”…the car looks very familiar, almost like i’ve seen it somewhere before…o wait…

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