The ‘GTR’ tag burdens the track-only version of the P1, just revealed at Pebble Beach, with the weight of great expectation. The last time those letters were applied to a McLaren, it was the racing version of the F1 – and it went out and won Le Mans at its first attempt. The winning car is shown alongside the P1 in the first official photographs of a car McLaren calls a design concept that previews the real thing.
McLaren is bullish about the P1 GTR’s abilities. The goal, according to the company itself, is to create ‘the best driver’s car in the world on track.’ No pressure, then.
Unlike the F1 GTR, the P1 GTR is not a race car. Neither is it a road car so, with no restrictive road regulations to adhere to, the specification reads like a competition car’s. It’s the most circuit focused car yet to be developed by McLaren Special Operations.
There are slick Pirelli tyres, a fixed ride height, centre-lock wheels and an onboard air jacking system for quick tyre changes (not that owners will have to remove their own wheels, with a McLaren pit crew on hand at track days).
Formula One inspires some of the GTR’s features, such as a large fixed rear wing with DRS and an ERS-style push to pass system. Well, there needs to some way to make your way through the field on a single-make track day…
Much of what makes the GTR a GTR is down to its highly developed aero package. The nose of the car looks very similar to the road-going P1, although the track has increased by 80mm and there’s a jutting, GT-style splitter. New radiator ducts also flow into the front wheelarches, while the aerodynamic ‘flaps’ in the floor ahead of the front wheels are carried over from the exisiting P1.
At the side of the car, the aerodynamic ‘blade’ behind the wheel has grown in height. This cleans the air coming from the tyre and is channeled to a second blade ahead of the rear wing (where the road car has none). The latter channels air into the radiator, and also assists the aerodynamic performance of the rear floor. Smaller mirrors have been fitted to slip through the air more easily, and they’re now mounted to the A-pillars in line with the driver’s eyes.
If the front end looks quite similar to the road-going car, the rear is full of track-going visual impact. Two huge circular exhausts sit where we’d usually see one large outlet. Made from iconel and titanium alloy, it is said to ‘maintain, and further emphasise’ the sound of the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V8. A huge pylon sits either side of the exhausts to carry the large wing. Together with the large diffuser and restyled bodywork, it makes a bold statement.
Of course, it’s not just for show. The reprofiling of the bodywork is to improve its aero efficiency in league with the new wing. The bodywork above, now free from the mechanical parts which raise and lower the adjustable wing on the road car, allows a clean flow of air to the wing.
The whole purpose of all the careful air management is to allow later braking, higher apex speeds and earlier application of the throttle on corner exit. In other words, in the pursuit of being the world’s best track car…
Development is currently on-going, with production beginning only once the last ‘regular’ P1 has been built. The first deliveries will take place next year. Some questions remain outstanding. We don’t know what engine modifications have been carried out (but we do know that power is up to 986bhp from 903bhp), the final weight of the car or even the price – although that’s expected to be around £1.98m. That buys not only the car, but also access to one of the most exclusive owners’ clubs in the world.