McLaren’s desire to build a small, stripped-out supercar, revealed to Autocar at the beginning of 2011, remains undimmed, if these design proposals are anything to go by.
Last year the British firm held a design competition that asked students on the Royal College of Art’s vehicle design course to imagine a minimalist McLaren supercar. The ‘Autopure’ competition was overseen by McLaren design boss Frank Stephenson, who has said previously that serious work on a completely re-imagined minimalist supercar could be undertaken before the end of the decade.
The brief asked students to take the McLaren ethos of “everything for a reason” and “considering social and environmental trends for future vehicles…imagine a small vehicle that encapsulates the brand”.
After presenting their work at the McLaren Technology Centre, five students had their proposals selected for the final competition. These proposals were then transformed into highly finished 3D models.
The winning design, selected by Stephenson, was by Teeravit Hanharutaivan. His MP4-S is a single-seater for “urban and track racing” use, built around a carbonfibre-reinforced plastic tub. His proposal is so stripped out that it doesn’t have a dashboard, using a head-up display instead.
Another of the finalists was Marianna Merenmies’ McLaren JetSet. Merenmies said her design centred on aerodynamic efficiency. “The challenge was to create a sustainable vehicle that would appeal to the high-end customers typical to McLaren cars,” she said.
The JetSet is “an ultra-light single-seater with extensive use of carbonfibre in the chassis, body and wheels” and is powered by an electric motor. Intended to sell for £50,000, it is 3.7m long and 1.03m high, with a proposed drag coefficient of 0.20.