Veyron-busting hypercar to lead range expansion
1 April 2009

McLaren is planning to claw its way back to the very top of the supercar ranks with an extended range of high-performance models, including a hi-tech successor to the legendary F1.

Details of the plans have been outlined to Autocar by a high-ranking official with intimate knowledge of the company’s secret business plan.

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Under the direct guidance of McLaren CEO Ron Dennis, who has given up the daily running of the firm’s F1 activities to concentrate on its road car operations, McLaren is aiming to take on low-volume, ultra-high-end manufacturers such as Bugatti and Koenigsegg.

The Woking firm will use its new mid-engined 430 Scuderia and Gallardo LP560-4 rival, the P11, as the springboard for the eventual introduction of a complete range of cutting-edge supercars designed, engineered and produced in the UK.

One of the secret new models McLaren is working on to extend its range beyond the P11 is a successor to the Gordon Murray and Peter Stevens-designed F1, a car that altered the supercar landscape when it was launched back in 1991. It used a 627bhp 6.1-litre V12 engine and had a claimed top speed of 240mph.

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“We have just started looking at doing another F1. It is a clean sheet design,” said our McLaren source. Set to challenge the Bugatti Veyron and Koenigsegg CCX, the new F1 is expected to hark back to the original with no-compromise engineering and a price that promises to make it at least as exclusive as its high-end supercar rivals.

McLaren is investing heavily to fulfil its aim. In a recent interview, Dennis announced the company had earmarked £250 million for its supercar programme. And while the early F1 was only ever built in tiny numbers (just 65 of its ‘regular’ examples were sold), McLaren plans volumes to be much higher this time around. “The P11 is just the beginning,” said our insider. “There will be other models in the longer term.”

Sources in Germany suggest that McLaren has come to an understanding with its Formula One partner, Mercedes-Benz, to re-engineer its engines for its upcoming models.

Nothing is official just yet, but Autocar understands that McLaren has struck a deal with Mahle (the former Cosworth operation) to supply unique cylinder heads and other internal components for the Mercedes-Benz AMG-developed M156, the 6.2-litre V8 used across the AMG line-up.

 

Greg Kable

 

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