McLaren has said it expects half of the models it builds to incorporate some kind of hybrid power system by 2022. The first of these new-generation hybrids will be the BP23, a model that will have more than the 903bhp of the P1 thanks to the combination of McLaren’s new twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 and electric propulsion.
McLaren boss Mike Flewitt said: “If you think that the base engine that went into the P1 has now developed into the 4.0-litre in the 720S, then that side [of the powertrain] will clearly evolve.” Flewitt also confirmed the BP23 will use a higher-performing battery pack than the P1.
Watch us drive the original McLaren F1 flat out at 243mph
But the company’s other hybrid system will have a bigger impact. Flewitt confirmed it will be launched across an entire model range. Autocar understands this will be the next Sports Series model, which, based on McLaren’s disclosure of when its new carbonfibre facility in Sheffield will go on stream, is expected in either late 2020 or early 2021.
Autocar understands this car will switch to a downsized turbocharged V6 that will work in conjunction with the electric aspect of the powertrain.
Although Flewitt refused to be drawn on cylinder count, he said there is no ideological barrier to smaller engines at McLaren. “For us, it’s all about attributes,” he said. “If we can get the performance, it doesn’t matter if it’s 12 or 10 or eight or six. We’re not wedded to cylinder count, but we are wedded very much to performance and excitement.”
Flewitt is determined to claw back as much of the hybrid system’s extra weight as possible. A smaller engine is an obvious way of doing that.
“With the P1, hybridisation added about 140kg,” he said. “To be weight neutral, we’ve got to take out about 140kg. That’s pretty hard, but if we can get close, we can have both the weight benefit and the performance benefit.”
Flewitt said the BP23 will be a totally different proposition from the P1 (pictured below), its immediate predecessor in McLaren’s Ultimate Series.
Whereas the P1 was pitched as the ultimate sports car, the BP23 will be all about supreme levels of on-road performance and usability. It will be an “incredible road car”, according to Flewitt, rather than being designed to lap a circuit quickly. This means the suspension and aerodynamics will be optimised for covering long distances quickly and in comfort, and not compromised by a need to perform on a track.