First, a piece of friendly advice. If you haven’t watched Steve Sutcliffe’s video drive of Nick Mason’s McLaren F1 GTR, do so immediately. This blog can wait.
Done? Good. Pretty special, isn’t it? For a generation of car lovers, including me, the F1 is the supercar. XJ220? A bit bloated, and vastly overpriced. EB110? Not well enough sorted. F1? A perfect blend of grand prix nous meeting money-no-object engineering. I’d have killed to be at Chobham test track the day Steve got behind the wheel.
Still, yesterday I ended up in the same room as the F1’s very unofficial successor, the new P11, days ahead of its official unveiling. And I felt just a little bit of the same excitement I experienced as a teenager, when posters of the F1 covered my bedroom walls, and when clippings of magazines – including Autocar’s classic Macca issue – littered the floor. It’s a new McLaren, after all – and once you discount the rather podgy McMerc SLR (as you should), that becomes a pretty rare occurrence.
Details on the car still have to remain secret, but I don’t think I’ll be risking my kneecaps to tell you that the P11 is not a new F1; the world is a very different place than the environment for which that car was created, after all. But it is, I am convinced, going to be a beautifully engineered sports car that will succeed in kick-starting McLaren’s bid to be a serious volume seller in the supercar market.